The Charm of the Lyre-Guitar

The Charm of the Lyre-Guitar
Composer A.A. Rougeon-Bauclair, Charles Doisy, Jean Antoin Meissonier, Pierre Joseph Plouvier
Artist Domenico Lafasciano lyre-guitar
Format 1 CD
Cat. number 97346
EAN code 5028421973463
Release August 2024

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About this release

The lyre-guitar was a fascinating, upmarket instrument that originated in Paris. Its inventor, luthier Pierre-Charles Mareschal, dated its creation to around 1780. It was very popular in the elite salons of Napoleonic era-Europe, between the late 18th and early 19th century. Its refined, elegant shape recalling the ancient Greek lyre, made it a much-vaunted status symbol among women, who believed it enhanced their grace and beauty. As well as being played by noblewomen, it was also used by musicians to accompany singers, including the French tenor Joseph Dominique Fabry-Garat and the Austrian baritone Johann Michael Vogl, a close friend of Franz Schubert.

The lyre-guitar used on this recording comes from Domenico Lafasciano’s private collection. It was built in Paris in 1806 by Henry Lejeune, part of an important dynasty of luthiers dating back to the 18th century. Lafasciano’s lyre-guitar is an original and very rare instrument: it has only 12 frets, and they are made of gut like on the lute or baroque guitar, making it suitable for playing works from the early 19th-century guitar repertoire. It is a brilliant example of the transition between the 18th and 19th centuries, a period when guitarists were still playing instruments with five double or single courses of strings, as well as six-string models. It appears that the lyre-guitar, which had six single strings from the outset, gave a definitive push to the addition of the sixth string to the guitar.

This album contains some lovely musical gems written in the early 19th century by guitar-playing composers who remain largely unknown today. The first French publications, including the pieces featured on this recording, all contained the words ‘pour Lyre ou Guitare’ or ‘pour Guitare ou Lyre’, indicating very clearly that the works could be performed on either a lyre-guitar (‘Lyre’) or a five- or six-string guitar (‘Guitare’).

Other information:
- Recorded November 2023, Milan, Italy
- Booklet in English contains liner notes by the artist and a biography
- Lafasciano plays a lyre-guitar by Henry Lejeune (Paris, 1806) strung with Aquila Ambra 800 strings
- The Italian liner notes are available for download at www.brilliantclassics.com

- An exclusive and fascinating instrument, the lyre-guitar was created in Paris by the luthier Pierre-Charles Mareschal, who claimed to have invented it around 1780.
It shone in the noble salons of Europe during the Napoleonic Age, between the end of the 18th century and the first decades of the 19th century.
- The lyre-guitar, with its refined and elegant shape reminiscent of the ancient Greek lyre, was at that time a 'status symbol' instrument much loved by the fairer sex, as it enhanced their grace and beauty. It was often played by noble ladies, but also by musicians who used it to accompany singing, such as the Austrian baritone Johann Michael Vogl, a great friend of Franz Schubert. Even the great guitarist Mauro Giuliani performed a few times with this instrument.
- This new recording presents works written for Lyre-guitar by French composers Charles Doisy (?-1807), Alexandre Alfred Rougeon-Beauclair (?-1829), Pierre Joseph Plouvier (1750-1825) and Jean-Antoine Meissonnier (1783-1857): a feast of lighthearted, charming and enchanting music!
- Domenico Lafasciano is one of the very few lyre-guitar concert performers of today.
Graduated with top marks at Padua Conservatory, he perfected himself with Alirio Diaz, Alexandre Lagoya, Siegfried Behrend and José Luis Lopategui. He met with Andrés Segovia, who let him play his own guitar, and with John W. Duarte, who dedicated one of his compositions to him.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Charles Doisy: 12 Petits airs faciles: I. Moderato
  2. Charles Doisy: 12 Petits airs faciles: II. Walse
  3. Charles Doisy: 12 Petits airs faciles: III. Walse
  4. Charles Doisy: 12 Petits airs faciles: IV. Sérénade (Maestoso – Presto)
  5. Charles Doisy: 12 Petits airs faciles: V. Andante
  6. Charles Doisy: 12 Petits airs faciles: VI. Kosak
  7. Charles Doisy: 12 Petits airs faciles: VII. Polonoise
  8. Charles Doisy: 12 Petits airs faciles: VIII. Andantino – Variation
  9. Charles Doisy: 12 Petits airs faciles: IX. Andantino (Sicilienne) – Variation)
  10. Charles Doisy: 12 Petits airs faciles: X. Rondo (Allegretto)
  11. Charles Doisy: 12 Petits airs faciles: XI. Walse
  12. Charles Doisy: 12 Petits airs faciles: XII. Walse
  13. A.A. Rougeon-Bauclair: 12 Walses et un thème varié, Op. 8: I. Walze 1
  14. A.A. Rougeon-Bauclair: 12 Walses et un thème varié, Op. 8: II. Walze 2
  15. A.A. Rougeon-Bauclair: 12 Walses et un thème varié, Op. 8: III. Walze 3
  16. A.A. Rougeon-Bauclair: 12 Walses et un thème varié, Op. 8: IV. Walze 4
  17. A.A. Rougeon-Bauclair: 12 Walses et un thème varié, Op. 8: V. Walze 5
  18. A.A. Rougeon-Bauclair: 12 Walses et un thème varié, Op. 8: VI. Walze 6
  19. A.A. Rougeon-Bauclair: 12 Walses et un thème varié, Op. 8: VII. Walze 7
  20. A.A. Rougeon-Bauclair: 12 Walses et un thème varié, Op. 8: VIII. Walze 8
  21. A.A. Rougeon-Bauclair: 12 Walses et un thème varié, Op. 8: IX. Walze 9
  22. A.A. Rougeon-Bauclair: 12 Walses et un thème varié, Op. 8: X. Walze 10
  23. A.A. Rougeon-Bauclair: 12 Walses et un thème varié, Op. 8: XI. Walze 11
  24. A.A. Rougeon-Bauclair: 12 Walses et un thème varié, Op. 8: XII. Walze 12
  25. A.A. Rougeon-Bauclair: Thème varié
  26. Pierre Joseph Plouvier: Allemandes, rondeaux, sauteuses & anglaises: I. Moderato
  27. Pierre Joseph Plouvier: Allemandes, rondeaux, sauteuses & anglaises: II. Allegretto
  28. Pierre Joseph Plouvier: Allemandes, rondeaux, sauteuses & anglaises: III. Moderato
  29. Pierre Joseph Plouvier: Allemandes, rondeaux, sauteuses & anglaises: IV. Allegretto
  30. Pierre Joseph Plouvier: Allemandes, rondeaux, sauteuses & anglaises: V. Poco andante
  31. Pierre Joseph Plouvier: Allemandes, rondeaux, sauteuses & anglaises: VI. Allegretto
  32. Pierre Joseph Plouvier: Allemandes, rondeaux, sauteuses & anglaises: VII. Poco allegro
  33. Pierre Joseph Plouvier: Allemandes, rondeaux, sauteuses & anglaises: VIII. Andante
  34. Pierre Joseph Plouvier: Allemandes, rondeaux, sauteuses & anglaises: IX. Allegretto
  35. Pierre Joseph Plouvier: Allemandes, rondeaux, sauteuses & anglaises: X. Allegretto
  36. Pierre Joseph Plouvier: Allemandes, rondeaux, sauteuses & anglaises: XI. Tempo giusto
  37. Pierre Joseph Plouvier: Allemandes, rondeaux, sauteuses & anglaises: XII. Poco andante
  38. Jean Antoin Meissonier: 4 Nocturnes: I. 1er Rondo (Gratiozo)
  39. Jean Antoin Meissonier: 4 Nocturnes: II. 2ème Rondo (Escherzando)
  40. Jean Antoin Meissonier: 4 Nocturnes: III. 3ème Rondo (Allegretto con gusto)
  41. Jean Antoin Meissonier: 4 Nocturnes: IV. 4ème Rondo (Andante expressivo – Andantino)