Mauro Giuliani

Mauro Giuliani

Mauro Giuseppe Sergio Pantaleo Giuliani (27 July 1781 8 May 1829) was an Italian guitarist, cellist, singer, and composer. He was a leading guitar virtuoso of the early 19th century.


Although born in Bisceglie, Giuliani's center of study was in Barletta where he moved with his brother Nicola in the first years of his life. His first instrumental training was on the celloan instrument which he never completely abandonedand he probably also studied the violin. Subsequently, he devoted himself to the guitar, becoming a very skilled performer on it in a short time. The names of his teachers are unknown, and we cannot be sure of his exact movements in Italy.

He married Maria Giuseppe del Monaco, and they had a child, Michael, born in Barletta in 1801. After that he was probably in Bologna and Trieste for a brief stay; by the summer of 1806, fresh from his studies of counterpoint, cello and guitar in Italy, he had moved to Vienna without his family. Here he began a relationship with the Viennese Anna Wiesenberger (1784–1817), with whom he had four daughters, Maria Willmuth (born 1808), Aloisia Willmuth (born 1810), Emilia Giuliani (born 1813) and Karolina Giuliani (born 1817).[1]

In Vienna he became acquainted with the classical instrumental style. In 1807 Giuliani began to publish compositions in the classical style. His concert tours took him all over Europe. Everywhere he went he was acclaimed for his virtuosity and musical taste. He achieved great success and became a musical celebrity, equal to the best of the many instrumentalists and composers who were active in the Austrian capital city at the beginning of the 19th century.

Giuliani defined a new role for the guitar in the context of European music. He was acquainted with the highest figures of Austrian society and with notable composers such as Rossini and Beethoven, and cooperated with the best active concert musicians in Vienna. In 1815 he appeared with Johann Nepomuk Hummel (followed later by Ignaz Moscheles), the violinist Joseph Mayseder and the cellist Joseph Merk, in a series of chamber concerts in the botanical gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, concerts that were called the "Dukaten Concerte",[2] after the price of the ticket, which was a ducat. This exposure gave Giuliani prominence in the musical environment of the city. Also in 1815, he was the official concert artist for the celebrations of the Congress in Vienna. Two years earlier, on 8 December 1813, he had played (probably cello) in an orchestra for the first performance of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.

In Vienna, Giuliani had minor success as a composer. He worked mostly with the publisher Artaria, who published many of his works for guitar, but he had dealings with all the other local publishers, who spread his compositions all over Europe. He developed a teaching career here as well; among his numerous students were Bobrowicz and Horetzky.

In 1819 Giuliani left Vienna, mainly for financial reasons: he expected to make financial profit on a concert tour through Bohemia and Bavaria. He returned to Italy, spending time in Trieste and Venice, and finally settled in Rome. In 1822 brought his illegitimate daughter Emilia to Italy, who had been born in Vienna in 1813. She was educated at the nunnery L'adorazione del Gesù from 1821 to 1826, together with Giuliani's first illegitimate daughter Maria Willmuth. In Rome he did not have much success; he published a few compositions and gave only one concert.

In July 1823 he began a series of frequent trips to Naples to be with his father, who was seriously ill. In the Bourbon city of Naples Giuliani would find a better reception to his guitar artistry, and there he was able to publish other works for guitar with local publishers.

In 1826 he performed in Portici before Francesco I and the Bourbon court. In this time, which we could call Giuliani's Neapolitan period, he appeared frequently in duo concert with his daughter Emilia, who had become a skilled performer on the guitar. Toward the end of 1827 the health of the musician began to fail; he died in Naples on 8 May 1829. The news of his death created a great stir in the Neapolitan musical environment.


Giuliani's expression and tone in guitar playing were astonishing, and a competent critic said of him: "He vocalized his adagios to a degree impossible to be imagined by those who never heard him; his melody in slow movements was no longer like the short, unavoidable staccato of the piano, requiring profusion of harmony to cover the deficient sustension of notes, but it was invested with a character, not only sustained and penetrating, but of so earnest[3] and pathetic[4] a description as to make it appear the natural characteristic of the instrument. In a word, he made the instrument sing."
Philip James Bone, The guitar and mandolin, 1914 (page 127)[5]


Theme and variations

As a guitar composer he was very fond of the theme and variations an extremely popular form in Vienna. He had a remarkable ability to weave a melody into a passage with musical effect while remaining true to the idiom of the instrument.

Giuliani's achievements as a composer were numerous. Giuliani's 150 compositions for guitar with opus number constitute the nucleus of the nineteenth-century guitar repertory. He composed extremely challenging pieces for solo guitar as well as works for orchestra and Guitar-Violin and Guitar-Flute duos.

Outstanding pieces by Giuliani include his three guitar concertos (op. 30, 36 and 70); a series of six fantasias for guitar solo, op. 119-124, based on airs from Rossini operas and entitled the "Rossiniane"; several sonatas for violin and guitar and flute and guitar; a quintet, op. 65, for strings and guitar; some collections for voice and guitar, and a Grand Overture written in the Italian style. He also transcribed many symphonic works, both for solo guitar and guitar duo. One such transcription arranges the overture to The Barber of Seville by Rossini, for two guitars. There are further numerous didactic works, among which is a method for guitar that is used frequently by teachers to this day.

Today, Giuliani's concertos and solo pieces are performed by professionals and still demonstrate the ability of the guitarist to play the piece, as well as Giuliani's natural ability as a composer for the classical guitar.

Original Sources of Themes

Giuliani arranged many 19th century opera themes for the guitar, e.g. from the opera Semiramide by Gioachino Rossini. His work Le Rossiniane also includes numerous themes from the operas of Rossini.

Themes in Giuliani's Le Rossiniane

Original Cover of Part 1 of Giuliani's Le Rossiniane
Introduction (Andantino)
"Assisa a piè d’un salice" (Otello)
"Languir per una bella", Andante grazioso (L’Italienne à Alger)
"Con gran piacer, ben mio", Maestoso (L’Italienne à Alger)
"Caro, caro ti parlo in petto", Moderato (L’Italienne à Alger)
"Cara, per te quest’anima", Allegro Vivace (Armida)
Introduction (Sostenuto)
"Deh ! Calma, o ciel", Andantino sostenuto (Otello)
"Arditi all’ire", Allegretto innocente (Armida)
"Non più mesta accanto al fuoco", Maestoso (Cendrillon)
"Di piacer mi balza il cor", (La pie voleuse)
"Fertilissima Regina", Allegretto (Cendrillon)
Introduction (Maestoso Sostenuto)
"Un soave non so che" (Cendrillon)
"Oh mattutini albori!", Andantino (La dame du lac)
"Questo vecchio maledetto", (Le Turc en Italie)
"Sorte! Secondami", Allegro (Zelmira)
"Cinto di nuovi allori", Maestoso (Ricciardo et Zoraïde)
Introduction (Sostenuto-Allegro Maestoso)
"Forse un dì conoscerete", Andante (La pie voleuse)
"Mi cadono le lagrime" (La pie voleuse)
"Ah se puoi così lasciarmi", Allegro Maestoso (Moïse en Egypte)
"Piacer egual gli dei", Maestoso (Mathilde de Shabran)
"Voglio ascoltar" (La pierre de touche)
Introduction (Allegro con brio)
"E tu quando tornerai", Andantino mosso (Tancrède)
"Una voce poco fa" (Le Barbier de Séville)
"Questo è un nodo avviluppato", Andante sostenuto (Cendrillon)
"Là seduto l’amato Giannetto", Allegro (La pie voleuse)
"Zitti zitti, piano piano", Allegro (Le Barbier de Séville)
Introduction (Maestoso)
"Qual mesto gemito", Larghetto (Sémiramis)
"Oh quante lagrime finor versai", Maestoso (La dame du lac)
"Questo nome che suona vittoria", Allegro brillante (Le siège de Corinthe)

The "Introduction" from Rossiniana No. 2 has become well known in popular culture due to its inclusion in the Counter Strike Italy map.

List of compositions

Instruments used by Giuliani

Of the instruments used by Giuliani, there are known, guitars made by

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Books about Mauro Giuliani




  1. Michael Lorenz: "New Light on Mauro Giuliani's Vienna Years" (Vienna, 2015)
  2. Österreichisch-ungarische Revue. 1864.
  3. "earnest: zealous with sincerity; with hearty endeavor; heartfelt; fervent; hearty". Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  4. "pathetic: Affecting or moving the tender emotions, esp. pity or grief; full of pathos". Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  5. Philip James Bone. "The guitar and mandolin, 1914".
  6. Lisa Feurzeig; John Sienicki; Friedrich Satzenhoven; Franz Volkert (2007). Quodlibets of the Viennese theater. A-R Editions, Inc. ISBN 978-0-89579-623-3.
  7. Giuliani's Fabricatore guitar 2 image
  8. 1 2 Found: A Giuliani Guitar, Kept In A London Bank Since 1816 by Paul Pleijsier, 2001
  9. 1 2 CD back cover image; Giuliani Concerto CD1 (also available: Giuliani Concerto CD2, or double CD) Liner notes about the instrument, written by Gianni Accornero.
  10. 1 2 Duimzuigerij over een Pons-gitaar
  11. Catemario on the 1825 Pons guitar (see also)

External links


Images of Giuliani

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