Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

Hello all,

I was wondering if anyone can tell me where I can find guitar or guitar-centric concert programmes from the period 1820-1890. I'm specifically looking for information on how Mertz or Coste programmed, failing which, other guitar concert programmes from Vienna or Paris would also be helpful.

Hoping someone out there knows.

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I think that they announced the concerts in the local newspapers. So the only way to find out is to find these old papers.

Hello Dominic

Generally in the 19th century concerts of one single performer were rare. Mostly concerts consisted of a (long) sequence of ensemble pieces, songs, soloists and possibly orchestral pieces, whatever was available and popular in that place at that time. A performance on guitar could be a part of such a concert. I agree with Lars that searching newspapers and historic (music-)journals is a good approach (many countries now have newspaper archives online). Also looking through musicians' biographies (Sor, Giuliani) will help. A friend here in Holland wrote a dissertation on Coste, I will ask him if it is available online somewhere.


Lars and Jelma,

Thank you. I did guess that the newspapers would be the best place to look but I'm not in Europe so the information about online archives is very helpful, thank you, Jelma. The information about the rarity of single-performer concerts and the ubiquity of 'potpourri' concerts is also invaluable.

Thank you both again for pointing me in the right direction.

Hi Dominic

My friend has not finished his dissertation (on Coste) yet, but he recommends the following books:

Johnson, James H.: Listening in Paris: a cultural history, Berkeley, University of Berkeley Press, 1995,
Weber, William: The Great Transformation of Musical Taste, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008

A fabulous source for French newspapers and journals is http://gallica.bnf.fr/



Thanks again! The Johnson book looks like a good read with many nuggets of cultural trivia though it doesn't mention any programmes directly. The Weber has potential but I'd have to dig through a real library or deeper into my pockets to buy a copy from Amazon. Oh well. The gallica link has yielded nothing so far but I will refine my searches.

You might contact Matanya Ophee http://www.editionsorphee.com/. I think he might have written an article on the subject or posted some info in the fairly recent past. I could be wrong but it might be worth a try to ask him, he has a hugh amount of original information.


Thanks for chipping in. I've been meaning to revisit Ophee's site for some time now and this just gives me license to write to the man himself, not just on this subject but also to inquire as to what happened to his de Fossa monograph. Thanks for the tip.


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