Matteo Carcassi – Sicilienne

About the piece

Sicilienne or Siciliano or opus 59 part 3 no 22 is a short piece from Matteo Carcassi. It’s a lovely beginner piece, that sounds well at any speed. Couldn’t really decide what I liked best, slow or a bit more upbeat, so I just did both. It isn’t hard, but it is very pretty none the less.

Mic: Blue Yeti
Camera: Canon 1200D
Guitar: Miguel Lopez mod 013f
Strings: Savarez 510 AJ

About the composer

Born in Florence, Italy, Matteo Carcassi began music in his childhood first on the piano, and later on the guitar. Early on he acquired a reputation as a superb concert performer on the latter instrument.

At age 18 Matteo Carcassi moved to Germany, where he found success. He is believed to have fought for France in the Napoleonic wars and 5 years later resided in , France. His obituary in the Journal des Débats of 20 January 1853 said “[il] avait fait de la France, qu’il avait servie comme soldat, sa patrie adoptive et de prédilection.” (“He had made of France, which he had served as a soldier, his adopted and favourite country”).

Carcassi’s name appears as a subscriber of the French edition of Francesco Molino’s Nouvelle Méthode pour la Guitare. He taught both piano and guitar, while continuing with concert tours. His early works from 1820 were self-published and one of these, his op.4 six valses, has survived and is featured in the British Library. On one such tour to Germany he made the acquaintance of another famous guitarist Antoine Meissonnier, a Frenchman who also owned a publishing house in Paris. In all the time Carcassi had lived in France he had not encountered Meissonnier, even with with the two living in the same city together! Perhaps this is a reflection of the dirth of musicians involved in satifying the rapidly growing market for all things guitar in Paris. Meissonnier subsequently published many of Carcassi’s works and the two were close friends.

From 1820 on his career was in the main centered in Paris, with a highly successful tour to London, England two years later. However, Carcassi had stiff competition in France in a Parisian favourite Fernando Carulli, nevertheless there was a voracious market for his solo guitar compositions. As Carcassi’s fame grew he performed in the more prestigious concert halls around Europe. He ended concert practice in 1840, and died in Paris in 1853.

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