S. Bach Aria variata in a-moll
(1685 - 1750)
Sebastian Bach does not need an introduction. He composed this work
for harpsichord. Because of the polyphonic structure of this composition
(two voices), it is possible to play the right-hand voice on the
mandolin and the left-hand voice on the guitar. Originally, this
Aria has ten variations. We have chosen four that suit the instruments
Leone Sonata VI
(ca. 1725 - 1790)
- Maestoso espressivo
- Menuetto con Variationi
Leone was born in Naples. From 1769 he was the mandolin teacher
of the duke of Chartres (France). He wrote a very important teaching
method for mandolin.
The Sonata VI, from a 1767 publication dedicated to Lord de Bagge,
is one of the most impressive pieces from the classic mandolin era.
R. Capponi Sonata XII
(18th century, second half)
- Allegro nobile
- Scherzo pastorale (Allegro moderato)
much is known about the life and work of Abbate Ranieri Capponi.
Probably, he was a talented composition teacher. After his death
in 1744, his brother published a book in Florence containing 12
sonatas : "Sonate da camera par vari strumente". The title
page portrayed 5 instruments: violin, mandolin, flute, double bass
and harpsichord. By this practice, common for the time, the publisher
showed which instruments the sonatas were written for.
XII consists of four parts that vary in harmony, thematic material,
and form. The first part is a kind of overture in a slow tempo.
It contrasts with the second part which has a cheerful character
and is full of rhythmical elements. A fugue follows where both instruments
have the same theme one after another. The last part is a rural
dance with three different moods and tempi (scherzo - largo - allegro),
bringing fun, serenity, and fresh briskness.
C. G. Scheidler: Sonate D-dur (11'00")
N. Paganini (1782 - 1840)
- Allegro spirituoso
- Adagio assai espressivo
- Rondeau (Allegretto con brio - scherzando)
Paganini, the great violin virtuoso, was taught by his father to
play mandolin and guitar. He composed many pieces for violin, for
guitar and duets for different instruments. Only a few works for
mandolin have been found.
The Sonata Concertata was originally composed for violin and guitar.
Because of its melodic line, it is possible to play the part of
the violin on the mandolin.
This sonata is an exceptional composition for Paganini's oeuvre:
he usually wrote duets in which one of the two instruments is very
brilliant and the other merely accompanying. As the name Sonata
Concertata already indicates, both instruments are equally important
in this work, whether they are in dialogue or in concert.
C. G. Scheidler (ca. 1752 - 1815)
Gottlieb Scheidler was a lutist, bassoon player and a violoncellist
at the court of the Kurfürsten von Mainz.
He also had a very good reputation as a guitarist.
The Sonata in D dur was originally for violin and guitar, although
the composition has also been published for flute and guitar and
for two guitars.
van Beethoven: Andante mit Variationen (9'45")
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonatine in c (5'10")
Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonatine in C (2'40")
Carlo Munier: Capriccio Spagnuolo (7'00")
Carlo Munier: Carnavale di Venezia (3'10")
Vicenz Arienzo: Capriccio di Concerto (3'10")
Raphaele Calace: Pavane (3'45")
Raphaele Calace: Rondo (3'30")
Raphaele Calace: Tarantella (3'00")
Raphaele Calace: Polonese (7'05")
Friedrich Burgmüller: Nocturne nº 1 (3'30")
Salvatore Leonardi: Souvenir de Sicile (4'20")
L. van Beethoven (1770 -1827)
- Variatie 1 : Allegro
- Variatie 2 : Più lento
- Variatie 3 : Vivo
- Variatie 4 : Allegro
- Variatie 5 : Minore - tranquillo espressivo
- Variatie 6 : Allegretto, Maggiore
is not often mentioned in Beethoven's biographies that he wrote
mandolin music. In Prague, he met Count Christian Christoph Clam
Callas, the founder of the Prague Conservatory. The wife of the
count, Countess Josephine Clary played the mandolin. It was for
her that Beethoven composed his intimate and charming mandolin music:
2 sonatinas, an adagio, and a theme with variations.
In this theme with variations, the mandolin and the guitar are in
dialogue. The work demands the most virtuosity of all his mandolin
music, and it is also the least sentimental in character. Possibly
it was meant to show the virtuoso technique of Countess Clary.
C. Munier (1860-1911)
Carlo Munier, born in Naples, is renowned as one of the last mandolin
virtuoso's from the Romantic period. He studied mandolin, piano,
composition and counterpoint at the conservatory in Naples. He wrote
more than 300 compositions for mandolin and guitar or piano, displaying
the technical abilities of the mandolin player in the period around
1900. In this Cappricio Spagnuolo, Munier uses beautiful melodies,
with much Spanish and Italian bravura.
Israel: Sonatinetta for Mandolin and Guitar (08'00")
Norbert Sprongl: Duo Opus 85/2 (12'45")
Will Ayton: Three movements for Mandolin and Guitar (07'00")
Herbert Baumann: Sonata capricciosa (12'00")
Boudewijn Cox: Gordia (14'00")
Eduardo Angulo De Aires: Antiguos (10'15")
Friedrich Zehm: Drei Bagatellen (07'30")
Stephen Funk Pearson: Mountain Moor (08'15")
for Mandolin and Guitar
Brian Israel (1951-1986)
Israel was born in New York in 1951 and studied composition with
Karel Husa at Cornell University. Later he became teacher of composition
at the Syracuse University School of Music.
His oeuvre is extensive: he composed symphonies as well as concerto's
for various instruments and in various styles, receiving many prizes
The Sonatinetta won 1st prize at the "Mandolin competition
for new mandolin music" in 1984. Changes of meter are typical
for this composition. They are used most frequently throughout the
Toccata, but we also find them in the Elegie. They even occur in
the Menuetto, where in spite of them, the menuet character is maintained.
He based the harmonic structure on the old church modes, as can
be heard especially in the middle part. The compositions of Brian
Israel are often full of humour, for example in the Menuetto where
he uses a quotation from 'Tristan und Isolde', to obtain the normal
three-part form of the menuet.
Norbert Sprongl (1892-1983)
- Allegro vivace
- Allegro vivace
Sprongl,, an Austrian composer, studied composition in Graz and
Vienna. He wrote 4 symphonies, songs, choral music, and chamber
music for violin, lute, guitar, flute and mandolin, 5 piano concerto's,
2 violin concerto's and works for orchestra.
The Duo Opus 85/2 is a romantic composition with modern harmonies
in which Sprongl uses the whole sound spectrum of both mandolin
and guitar. The duet consists of four parts. First we have two fast
parts that sound cheerful, exciting and full of humour. A tender
and lyrical slow part follows (Adagio). The last part is again fast
and exciting (Allegro vivace).
In the fast movements, Sprongl builds up tension between the two
instruments by using sound effects supported by rhythmical patterns
going in opposite directions in both instruments. In this way, the
composition gains in intensity.
Movements for Mandolin and Guitar
Will Ayton (°1948)
Ayton was born in 1948 in Kansu (China). He is the son of a Protestant
missionary and had his first education in the U.S. and in Taiwan.
He got his musical education at Shenandoa *** Conservatory and the
New England Conservatory. Now he lives in Providence, Rhode Island
and is music teacher at Roger Williams College.
He plays the viola da gamba in various ensembles. Three Movements
for Mandolin and Guitar was composed in the Spring of 1984 and won
2nd prize on the 'Mandolin Competition for new Mandolin music',
in 1984. The work was dedicated to the Mair Davis duo. By attending
their concerts, the composer acquainted himself with the possibilities
of the mandolin and the guitar. The Fantasy demonstrates Ayton's
interest in Baroque music. The Song is like an aria
with a melodious upper voice and a basso continuo lower voice. Yet
we can also hear the influence of American music; the beginning
resembles the song 'The Sound of Silence' by Simon & Garfunkel.
Dance is written in the unusual 7/8 meter whereby the work ends
Herbert Baumann (° 1925)
- Andante sostenuto
- Allegro giocoso
Herbert Baumann was born in 1925 in Berchem. He studied composition
with Paul Höffer and Boris Blacher and conducting with Sergiu
Being the musical conductor in various theaters (1947-'53 Deutsches
Theater Berlin, 1953-'70 Staatliche Berliner Bühnen Shiller-
und Slossparktheater, 1970-'79 Bayerisches Staatsschauspiel) he
composed music for more than 500 theatre plays and 40 television
plays. In the area of absolute music, he wrote for orchestra and
chorus and also built up an extensive chamber music oeuvre.
Boudewijn Cox (° 1965)
- Lento - Presto agitato - Lento
- Allegro vivace
Cox received degrees for guitar, chamber music, harmony and counterpoint
at the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven, where he also received a degree
for composition (Luc Van Hove) and fugue (Christian Vereecke).
His works have already earned several awards, such as the 'Prometheus
Award', the 'B.A.P. Sabam Award', and the 'Youth and Music-Award
1998 for composition'.
His "Onyx" for orchestra received a 'Highly Special Commendation'
at the Vienna Modern Masters 6th International Orchestral Recording
Award Competition 1997'. Onyx is on CD (VMM CD 3044).
"Prelude", for piano solo, was the set work in the semi-finals
of the 'International Music Contest Queen Elisabeth 1999'. (CD Cypres
Boudewijn Cox has received commissions from ensembles and orchestras;
e.g. 'The Beethoven Academie', 'I Solisti del Vento',
Gordia is a composition in three parts. The first part consists
of different moods and tempi. A lyrical guitar melody in the low
register is interrupted by the mandolin and is followed by a hectic,
very fast passage. After a rhythmically diverse episode, a reminiscence
of the beginning is heard. The second part is an ethereal adagio.
Then follows the last part: a whirling, brilliant finale in which
different playing techniques on both instruments demonstrate a variety
of colourful effects.
The title Gordia is a contraction of the words 'chorda' (string)
en 'dia' (two).
Gordia is in other words a duo for two string instruments.
Eduardo Angulo (° 1954)
Angulo was born in 1954 in Puebla, Mexico. He started playing the
violin at the age of 7. In 1975 he completed his studies as a violinist
and composer at the Conservatory in Den Haag. He has composed for
orchestra, chorus and various chamber music ensembles. About De
aires antiguos Eduardo Angulo wrote: "warm and pleasing, a
mixture of serenity and fantasy, happiness and melancholy. Reality.
More than a dialogue this work shows a day-to-day relationship at
home. A kind of lullaby is united to a vital Huapango always together,
always a continuation of one another. Just like my parents.
To picture this music in an old style, I could not think of anything
better than a guitar and a mandolin".
Friedrich Zehm (° 1923)
- Allegro Vivace
Austrian composer, Friedrich Zehm, started composing for mandolin
and guitar at the request of Marga Wilden-Hüsgen. In 1980,
he wrote the Sonate für Mandoline und Gitarre and in 1981 the
Although written in contemporary idiom, Zehm knows how to reach
the public by combining the characteristic effects of both instruments
with melodious lines and cheerful rhythms.
Stephen Funk Pearso
© Copyright Gerda Abts 1993