Week 2: Vienna in 19th !🍰

Welcome to the Main Thread for the second week of the "Around the 19th Century Guitar World" challenge! 

Vienna was a hub for all classical music in the 19th century. Home to Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, among others, the classical guitar was alive and well in the 19th century. In Vienna in the 19th century classical guitar composers were heavily influenced by orchestral composers and had relationships with them; Giuliani played cello in the premiere of Beethoven’s 7th symphony and Mertz arranged Schubert’s Songs for Piano and Voice on guitar.


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  • Mertz - Selected Practice Pieces from School for the Guitar

    Mertz published a method book called Schüle für die Guitare, and at the end are fifteen Practice Pieces (Übungsstücke) that are quite nice. I made a video with my five favorites. I also used this as an opportunity to try some new things with my video editing. Nothing too fancy, just some text.

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    • joosje Thank you, Joosje. I wanted to play only some simpler Mertz, because I'm going to try some Matiegka, which is rather more difficult than this. I'll probably need the rest of the week just to get a portion of it sounding decent.

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    • Wai Thank you, Wai. I love Mertz, too. He really embodies the Romantic era for us guitarists.

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      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
      • Steve_Pederson
      • 1 yr ago
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      Eric Phillips Thank you for playing all these Eric, seriously. I was literally just thinking I wish someone would play several Mertz pieces so I could get a feel for his music. I don't think I've ever really listened to Mertz before. I really liked the last one - the Andantino. Beautiful melody and sublime harmonies. 

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    • Steve Pederson Thanks, Steve. Sometimes the simpler pieces are the best.

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  • Okay.  here’s my Matiegka - because he’s the oldest and because he’s Czech. 

    His style is definitely less romantic, more classical than the other composers mentioned in this challenge. This menuet is from the sonata b minor op.23. The first part in fugetto form echoes Haydn. It s too much to learn in one week, but I’ll work on it. The menuet is in the B major scale, (less familiar maybe (5##), but works great harmonically on guitar), the trio in b minor.

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    • joosje This is already sounding very good, Joosje, and it's obviously challenging music to play. When I first heard some Matiegka, I admit that I did not care for it too much. But his music is growing on me. We really have very little music in our guitar repertoire that is of this more pure classical style. I hope you continue to work on this and share your progress.

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      • Jack Stewart
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      joosje Wonderfully played, Joosje. Matiegka is a composer that I only recently have become aware of. This is a nice piece and you play it well. 

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      • Steve Pederson
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      joosje Way to go Joosje! This is sounding great! 

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  • Matiegka Sonata IV Allegro Moderato measures 1-26

    I'm going to try to work on the Matiegka piece that Hannah sent us. It is definitely a large step up in difficulty for me, so we'll see how it goes. Here is a video of the first big section (labeled A on the score), measures 1-26. I'm fairly pleased with it so far, except for the last phrase, which is choppy and needs work. Measure 14 is also problematic. Maybe I need to do some three-minute drills.

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
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      Eric Phillips Great performance of the beginning of this sonata. This sonata has an elegance to it,  Your ability to learn new pieces always impresses me.

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    • Jack Stewart Elegant is a good word to describe it. It's not as emotional as the later works I have been playing, so it feels almost a bit detached to me. Playing it makes me feel like a fish out of the water.

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 yr ago
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      Eric Phillips Perhaps you feelings about playing this piece are because of the scales?

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    • Jack Stewart For half a second, I didn't catch the pun. Then it hit me, and my belly started bouncing with laughter! 😄

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      • Jack Stewart
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      • Jack_Stewart
      • 1 yr ago
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      Eric Phillips Sorry - it was the best I could come up with at 8:00 am and 1 cup of coffee.🥴

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      • Steve Pederson
      • The Journey is My Destination!
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      Eric Phillips This one sounds like a lot of fun Eric! Can't wait to hear the rest!

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    • Steve Pederson I'm not sure if I'll get to the finish line on this one. I love it, but I find it so difficult to play at tempo, and it's very long. This is just half of it.

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  • Matiegka Sonata IV Allegro Moderato measures 27-46

    Here are the next few phrases of this piece. Measure 33 is difficult, almost like a spider exercise for the left hand. The short little runs here have very exact articulation markings that I find challenging to follow,

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    • Eric Phillips great start on this sonata, Eric. It’s not an easy piece, and you are already so secure. In no time! About those articulation markings: I interpreted  the rf  signs to accentuate the chords, on the 2nd and 4th beat - as a counter accent. What do you think?

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    • joosje I assume you are talking about measure 42? That makes sense. I'll be honest, I didn't even see them there, but your understanding makes perfect sense to me. I was talking about the slur/staccato markings in the short scalar passages in measures 36, 38, 40, and 43-44. I'm not sure if the staccato markings should truly be staccato, or does is just mean to articulate them and not to slur them? I find it difficult to try to play them in a true staccato manner, so I'm just trying to articulate them and not slur them.

      David Starobin has an outstanding recording of this, if you haven't heard it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzjqimVdaZs

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      • Wainull
      • Wai_Ng
      • 1 yr ago
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      Eric Phillips I really think that your playing has been leveled-up lately, Eric. You could even tackle difficult pieces in a short period of time, very impressive. I am listening to your video in office, and your music saved me from falling asleep, thank you! 😴➡️😀

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    • Wai Thank you, Wai. It’s funny because my family tells me that my playing puts them to sleep!

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    • Eric Phillips  oh, okay. You are definitely right about that articulation. Those dots are not staccato signs, but indeed mean plucked not slurred. 

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  • Matiegka - Sonata IV Allegro Moderato Update July 20

    I'm now playing the entire large A section, measures 1-67 (pages 1 and 2 in the edition Hannah sent us). In order to be able to play the arpeggios in measures 52-62, I needed to bring the tempo down from what I was playing yesterday. This is at about 80bpm, and the goal tempo would be more like 116bpm.

    This is obviously going to take me more than this week to get through, as I'm only halfway through the piece, and at a tempo that's too slow. I'm not sure what I'll do. Maybe for next week, I could just play some really easy Paganini, Legnani, and Regondi. (That's a joke. They wrote nothing easy, especially Regondi.) We'll see.

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    • Eric Phillips great A section Eric, good job! I've read through the whole Sonata, I bought it from Werner, and that's a great one, I'm surprised by the quality of the material as I didn't know much about this composer except for the other Sonata with a movement based on Haydn.

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    • Blaise Laflamme Thanks, Blaise. I literally had never heard of Matiegka before Bradford put out his music on his website a few months ago. And it's not like I'm one who only follows guitar music casually - I'm pretty into this stuff.

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