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RONDO’ from Concerto n. 1 op. 6 for two guitars

Critical edition by Carmelo Imbesi e Carmen Zangarà

The object of this publication is the manuscript Rondò von Paganini based on the third movement of the Concerto no. 1 op. 6 for violin, rediscovered in the Rischel & Birket-Smith Collection of the Royal Library of Denmark in Copenhagen.

The writing points towards the drawing room and the amateur, a far cry from the showy and legendary virtuosity of “Paganini the violinist”, whose writing was often aimed at enchanting the general public, and is perfectly in line with the “Paganini the guitarist” that found a friendly and poetic vein of expression in the sonic dimension of the guitar, where the search for the ‘cantabile’ satisfies that simple, immediate, melancholic and at times unprecedented emotionality of the composer.

The shift of some thematic sections to an octave more comfortable on the instrument, the simplification of some rhythmic cells, the substitution of those sections of a more instrumental character with other more simple ones, an ad libitum accompaniment played mainly in the first position for the second guitar, as was customary in much music of the 19th century, in particular in the works of Paganini, show how this transcription wanted to offer a version of the Rondò that was readily performable and suitable for the drawing room, presenting a character that well matches the composer’s output for guitar without undermining the taste and style.

The desire to produce a modern edition, including a critical apparatus, therefore stems both from the value of this transcription as a historical witness and from the stylistic value it offers to instrumentalists and scholars of Paganini's music, since it is perfectly in line with that aesthetic-performance dimension that the composer loved to propose to a few intimate listeners while embracing his guitar.