Mertz's unpublished works complied in this first of two volumes. These selections serve as representative introduction to his idiomatic and virtualistic style. Selections included are: Concertino per la Chitarra sola; Fantasie uber Webers letzen gedanken pur la Guitare seule; Caprice sur un theme favori de C.M. de Weber, Opus 50; Fantaisie Originale.
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Joseph Kaspar Mertz was the leading Austrian guitarist during the middle of the nineteenth century. He was born on August 17, 1806 in Pressburg, Hungary, (now Bratislava, capitol of the Slovak Republic) to poor parents. He began to play the guitar and flute as a youth and was compelled to give music lessons at an early age. Mertz left his birthplace in 1840 to establish himself in Vienna. At that time, Tobias Haslinger began to publish guitar music of Mertz. Mertz appeared in a concert at the Hofburgtheater in Vienna in November 1840 under the patronage of the Empress Carolina Augusta. The success of this concert introduced Mertz to the Viennese social and artistic elite. He embarked on a concert tour in 1841, playing concerts in Austria, Poland, Russia, and Berlin. In 1842 Mertz met the pianist Josephine Plantin in Dresden whom he married on December 14 of that year in Prague. They returned to Vienna where they were both active as teachers, composers, and concert artists, often performing duets of their own composition for guitar and piano. Mertz was diagnosed with neuralgia in 1846, for which he was prescribed strychnine. Having no familiarity with the drug, Josephine dispensed the entire prescription in one does and Mertz s health weakened. After nearly 18 months of care Mertz regained his health and resumed his concert career in February of 1848. The composer was apparently able to continue preparing material for publication during his illness. In 1846 and 1847 Haslinger published the first 10 Hefte of Mertz s Bardenklange, Op. 13, and his Schule fur die Guitarre in addition to Opern-Revue, Op. 8, nos. 10-19, and VI Landler, Op.
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