A notable first on record, and another valuable addition to the unrivalled library of guitar music across the ages from Brilliant Classics.
Among the most significant composers of guitar duos in the early 19th century, Antoine De Lhoyer was born in September 1768 in Clermont-Ferrand. His musical talents manifested themselves from early on, and he trained in Paris. His teacher Vidal paid tribute to him as ‘the finest guitarist in Europe’. However, at the age of 20, de Lhoyer embarked on a military career as a member of the King’s Guards, shortly before the French Revolution. Life in France rapidly becoming uncongenial for someone with his loyalties, he left France in a hurry and eventually settled in Hamburg, where his compositions were first published at the turn of the 19th century.
De Lhoyer’s travels were by no means over, and over the following decades he took up posts as a professional music teacher and performer in St Petersburg, Paris, Corsica, Aix-en-Provence and Alger, the new capital of the French colony in north Africa. Eventually returning to the French capital, he died there in 1852, at the age of 84.
The extant duos on this album were composed between 1814 and 1826, and they comprise a substantial proportion of his total output. One would expect the style of his music to reflect the lively, cosmopolitan nature of his career, and so they do, often cast in three- and four-movement sonata forms with picturesque interpolations such as the ‘hunt’ movement of Op.35 No.2 and the graceful Sicilienne of Op.35 No.5. The eight-movement Fantasie Concertante Op.33 is like a Mozartian serenade, with a superbly flowing Andante con variazioni directly succeeded by a brief but tranquil Adagio.
There are two sets of 12 Waltzes in a much lighter vein, like Schubert’s collections of dances, and a set of six two-movement and unfailingly elegant Serenades Op.36. Lhoyer had an extraordinary gift for cantabile melodies and his slow movements often resemble songs without words. Some of them, like the Adagios of Op.31 No.1 and Op.33, count among the most beautiful and radiant music written for the guitar in the 19th century.
- Antoine de Lhoyer was born at Clermont-Ferrand, in the heart of France. Although he developed his apparent musicality with excellent teachers in Paris he nevertheless embarked upon a military career and entered the Kings Guards at Versailles shortly before the outbreak of the French Revolution. In 1800 however he settled in Hamburg and committed himself to a more peaceful activity, music.
- Late in 1802 Lhoyer set out for St Petersburg where the guitar had become popular among the nobility and high society. Several compositions published in Russia during his ten years there were dedicated to members of the Tsar family. In 1813 he returned to Paris and spent the rest of his life alternating between serving in the Military and working as a performer and composer.
- After having been nearly forgotten by the guitar world for many years, Antoine de Lhoyer is now rightly recognized as one of the most important composers of guitar duos of the early nineteenth century. This 5-CD set presents the complete Guitar Duos, consisting of Serenades, Waltzes, Duo Concertantes and Nocturnes. The Duos are expertly written, giving both players equal rights. The music is of high caliber, entertaining, brilliant, charming and melodious.
- Played by the duo Angelo Gillo and Antonio Rugolo, both winners of international guitar competitions, and since 2016 a duo, performing lesser known masters of the Romantic era.