George F. Handel and his Organ Concerti

George Frideric (German: Georg Friedrich) Handel (February 23, 1685–April 14, 1759) was a German-born British Baroque composer famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Born in 1685 in Halle, Duchy of Magdeburg, on Saale river in Thuringia, Germany on February 23rd to Georg Händel and Dorothea Taust, he discovered such a strong propensity to music, that his father, an eminent barber-surgeon who served the court of Saxe-Weissenfels and the Margraviate of Brandenburg and always intended his son for the study of the Civil Law, had reason to be alarmed. His father was 63 when George Frideric was born. At an early age Handel became a skilful performer on the harpsichord and pipe organ. Handel and his father travelled to Weissenfels to visit either Handel’s half-brother, Carl, or nephew, Georg Christian, who was serving as valet to Duke Johann Adolf I. On this trip, young Handel was lifted onto an organ’s stool, where he surprised everyone with his playing. This performance helped Handel and the duke to convince his father to allow him to take lessons in musical composition and keyboard technique from Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow, the organist of Halle’s Marienkirche. In 1698 Handel played for Frederick I of Prussia.

In 1702, following his father’s wishes, Handel started studying law under Christian Thomasius at the University of Halle but also earned an appointment for one year as the organist in the former cathedral, by then an evangelical reformed church. At the age of 18, in 1703, he traveled to Hamburg and accepted a position as violinist and harpsichordist in the orchestra of the Hamburg Oper am Gänsemarkt. There he met the composers Johann Mattheson, Christoph Graupner and Reinhard Keiser. His first two operas, Almira and Nero, were produced in 1705. In 1706 Handel travelled to Italy at the invitation Gian Gastone de’ Medici, whom Handel had met in 1703–1704 in Hamburg visiting Florence, Naples and Venice.. In Italy Handel met librettist Antonio Salvi, with whom he later collaborated. Handel left for Rome where Marquis (later Prince) Francesco Ruspoli employed him as a household musician and where most of Handel’s major Italian works were composed. Since opera was (temporarily) banned in the Papal States, he composed sacred music for the Roman clergy. His famous Dixit Dominus (1707) is from this era. Rodrigo, his first all-Italian opera, was produced in the Cocomero theatre in Florence in 1707. He produced two other operas, Daphne and Florindo, in 1708. It is unclear whether Handel directed these performances. He also composed cantatas in pastoral style for musical gatherings in the palaces of cardinals Pietro Ottoboni, Benedetto Pamphili and Carlo Colonna. Two oratorios, La Resurrezione and Il Trionfo del Tempo, were produced in a private setting for Ruspoli and Ottoboni in 1709 and 1710, respectively. Agrippina was first produced in 1709 at Teatro San Giovanni Grisostomo.

In 1710, Handel became Kapellmeister to German prince Georg Louis, the Elector of Hanover, who in 1714 would become King George I of Great Britain and Ireland and immediately packed him off on a twelve months’ leave of absence to visit England where he was favorably received at Queen Anne’s court. He visited Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici and her husband in Düsseldorf on his way to London in 1710. With his opera Rinaldo, Handel enjoyed great success. In 1712, Handel decided to settle permanently in England. He received a yearly income of £200 from Queen Anne after composing for her the Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate, first performed in 1713. One of his most important patrons was The 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork, a young and incredibly wealthy member of an Anglo-Irish aristocratic family. For the young Lord Burlington, Handel wrote Amadigi di Gaula, a magical opera, about a damsel in distress, based on the tragedy by Antoine Houdar de la Motte.In July 1717 Handel’s Water Music was performed more than three times on the Thames for the King and his guests.

In 1717 Handel became house composer at Cannons in Middlesex, where he laid the cornerstone for his future choral compositions in the twelve Chandos Anthems. Another work he wrote for The 1st Duke of Chandos, the owner of Cannons, was Acis and Galatea. During Handel’s lifetime it was his most performed work. Over the next two years (1717-18) Handel composed eleven anthems, a Te Deum, and two masques. In May 1719, The 1st Duke of Newcastle, the Lord Chamberlain, ordered Handel to look for new singers. Handel travelled to Dresden to attend the newly built opera and engaged the cast for the Royal Academy of Music, founded by a group of aristocrats to assure themselves a constant supply of baroque opera or opera seria. During twelve months between 1724 and 1725, Handel wrote three outstanding and successful operas, Giulio Cesare, Tamerlano and Rodelinda. After composing Silete venti, he concentrated on opera and stopped writing cantatas. In 1727, shortly before the death of George I, Handel became a British subject. Also in 1727 Handel was commissioned to write four anthems for the Coronation ceremony of King George II. One of these, Zadok the Priest, has been played at every British coronation ceremony since. In 1729 Handel became joint manager of the Queen’s Theatre at the Haymarket (now Her Majesty’s Theatre. Handel travelled to Italy to engage seven new singers. He composed seven more operas, but the public came to hear the singers rather than the music.

After two commercially successful English oratorios Esther and Deborah, Handel in 1734 directed a wedding anthem This is the day which the Lord hath made, and a serenata Parnasso in Festa for Anne of Hanover and started a new opera company at Covent Garden cooperation with John Rich who suggested that Handel use his small chorus and introduce the dancing of Marie Sallé, for whom Handel composed Terpsichore. In 1735 he introduced organ concertos between the acts. Financially,his Ariodante was a failure. Alcina, his last opera with a magic content, and Alexander’s Feast or the Power of Music based on John Dryden’s Alexander’s Feast starred Anna Maria Strada del Pò and John Beard. In April 1737, at age 52, Handel apparently suffered a stroke or some injury which seriously disabled the use of four fingers on his right hand, preventing him from performing, but he recovered remarkably quickly. To aid his recovery, Handel had travelled to Aachen, a spa in Germany. During six weeks he took long hot baths, and ended up playing the organ for a surprised audience. Deidamia, his last opera, was performed three times. Handel gave up the opera business, while he enjoyed more success with his English oratorios.

Saul and Israel in Egypt both from 1739 head the list of Handel’s great, mature oratorios. The Concerti Grossi Op 6 were composed during the autumn of 1739, and published in April 1740. During the summer of 1741, The 3rd Duke of Devonshire invited Handel to Dublin, capital of the Kingdom of Ireland, to give concerts for the benefit of local hospitals. His Messiah on a biblical libretto devised by Jennens was first performed at the New Music Hall in Fishamble Street on April 13, 1742, with 26 boys and five men from the combined choirs of St. Patrick’s and Christ Church cathedrals participating. In 1743 Handel suffered another stroke in April. However he was only temporarily indisposed and soon amazed everyone by the steady stream of large-scale works, mainly oratorios, which he continued to produce. In 1747 Handel wrote his oratorio Alexander Balus. This work was produced at Covent Garden Theatre, on March 23, 1748. The use of English soloists reached its height at the first performance of Samson. In 1749 Handel composed Music for the Royal Fireworks to accompany the festivities at Green Park in celebration of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle; 12,000 people attended the first performance. In 1750 he arranged a performance of Messiah to benefit the Foundling Hospital. The performance was considered a great success and was followed by annual concerts that continued throughout his life. In recognition of his patronage, Handel was made a governor of the Hospital the day after his initial concert.

In August 1750, on a journey back from Germany to London, Handel was seriously injured in a carriage accident between The Hague and Haarlem in the Netherlands. In 1751 one eye started to fail. The cause was a cataract. His Jephtha was first performed on February 26, 1752; even though it was his last oratorio, it was no less a masterpiece than his earlier works. Even when total blindness came in 1752 he continued to perform organ concertos and voluntaries between the parts of his oratorios, so great were his memory and powers of improvisation. Remaining involved in the arrangements for performances of his works up to his death, he died eight years later in on April 14th, 1759 at his home in Brook Street, at age 74, having lived in England for almost fifty years, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Handel’s compositions include 42 operas, 29 oratorios, more than 120 cantatas, trios and duets, numerous arias, chamber music, a large number of ecumenical pieces, odes and serenatas, the Opus 3 and Opus 6 concerti grossi; and 16 organ concerti. His most famous work, the oratorio Messiah with its “Hallelujah” chorus, is among the most popular works in choral music. Also notable are his sixteen keyboard suites, especially The Harmonious Blacksmith.

My collection contains the following works by Handel.

Concerto Grosso in BM, op. 3, no. 1.
Concerto Grosso in BM, op. 3, no. 2.
Concerto Grosso in GM, op. 3, no. 3.
Concerto Grosso in FM, op. 3, no. 4.
Concerto Grosso in dm, op. 3, no. 5.
Concerto Grosso in DM, op. 3, no. 6.
Concerto Grosso in CM, op. 3, no. 7, Alexander’s Feast (1736).
Concerto Grosso in GM, op. 6, no. 1.
Concerto Grosso in FM, op. 6, no. 2.
Concerto Grosso in em, op. 6, no. 3.
Concerto Grosso in am, op. 6, no. 4.
Concerto Grosso in DM, op. 6, no. 5.
Concerto Grosso in gm, op. 6, no. 6.
Concerto Grosso in BbM, op. 6, no. 7.
Concerto Grosso in cm, op. 6, no. 8.
Concerto Grosso in FM, op. 6, no. 9.
Concerto Grosso in dm, op. 6, no. 10.
Concerto Grosso in AM, op. 6, no. 11.
Concerto Grosso in bm, op. 6, no. 12.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Strings No. 1 in gm, op. 4, no. 1, HWV 289.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Strings No. 2 in BbM, op. 4, no. 2, HWV 290.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Strings No. 3 in gm, op. 4, no. 3, HWV 291.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Strings No. 4 in FM, op. 4, no. 4, HWV 292.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Strings No. 5 in FM, op. 4, no. 5, HWV 293.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Orchestra, op. 4, no. 6.
(Harp) Concerto in BbM for Harp and Orchestra, op. 4, no. 6, HWV 294.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Strings No. 7 in BbM, op. 7, no. 1, HWV 306.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Strings No. 8 in AM, op. 7, no. 2, HWV 307.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Strings No. 9 in BbM, op. 7, no. 3, HWV 308.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Strings No. 10 in dm, op. 7, no. 4, HWV 309.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Strings No. 11 in gm, op. 7, no. 5, HWV 310.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Strings No. 12 in BbM, op. 7, no. 6, HWV 311.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Strings No. 12 in FM, HWV 295, The Cuckoo and the Nightingale.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Strings No. 13 in AM, HWV 296.
(Organ) Concerto for Organ and Strings No. 14 in dm, HWV 304.
Judas Maccabaeus: See, the Conquering Hero Comes (March).
Messiah, HWV 56 (1741).
Music for the Royal Fireworks (1749).
Ode for St. Cecelia’s Day: Minuet.
Solomon: Sinfonia to Act 3, Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.
Suite No. 11 for Harpsichord: Sarabande.
Water Music: Suites No. 1 in FM, No. 2 in DM, and No. 3 in GM.
Xerxes: Ombra mai fu or Largo.

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources

September, 2013, update for Home School Book Review

Home School Book Review ( ) is the place for book reviews, primarily of children’s and youth literature, from a Biblical worldview by a minister and homeschooling father. After a bad experience with an inappropriate book, I began previewing the books that our boys read and posting my reviews on an e-mail list. This led to doing children’s book reviews for several different e-mail lists, magazines, and websites, and ultimately to the Home School Book Review weblog.

Some of the books reviewed in September, 2013, include the following:
September 28, 2013: Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce
September 26, 2013: The Case for Christ’s Resurrection: Most Comprehensive Evidence Ever Compiled on Christ’s Resurrection
September 23, 2013: The Lion of The North: A Tale of the Times of Gustavus Adolphus
September 22, 2013: The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ
September 21, 2013: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1: Magic Marks the Spot
September 20, 2013: The Disappearing Stranger: Adventures of the Northwoods, Book 1
September 13, 2013: Ghost Stories of Indiana
September 12, 2013: Guns of Providence
September 11, 2013: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
September 10, 2013: Secret of the Shark Pit: The Ladd Family Adventure Series #1
September 9, 2013: More Story Times with Grandma
September 7, 2013: The Lion of St. Mark: A Tale of Venice in the Fourteenth Century
September 4, 2013: Kingdom’s Dawn: The Kingdom Series, Book 1
September 1, 2013: These High, Green Hills: The Mitford Years #3

Each month we give a “Book of the Month” award. For September, 2013, it goes to:
The Secret of the Shark Pit: The Ladd Family Adventure Series #1 by Lee Roddy.

Runners up include The Lion of the North by G. A. Henty, The Disappearing Stranger by Lois W. Johnson, and Guns of Providence by Douglas Bond.

Books that we are reading now and will review in the future include the following:
The Case for Easter by Lee Strobel
Norwegian Troll Tales by Joanne Asala
The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
A Welsh Girl and Her Bible by Mary Carter
The Hair-Pulling Bear Dog by Lee Roddy

A new book review is added almost every day. You can search by title or author, or you can check books by categories. You’re always welcome to sit back and browse through Home School Book Review ( ).

table of contents from 10/13 Biblical Homeschooling

Below is the table of contents for the October, 2013 (Volume 16, No. 3) issue of BIBLICAL HOMESCHOOLING, a free, monthly, e-mail newsletter of general interest, encouragement, and information for homeschooling Christians edited by Wayne S. Walker of Salem, IL.

Anyone who is interested may subscribe by sending a blank e-mail to and then following the instructions that will be sent, or by signing up on the web at .

October, 2013
Table of Contents
By Laura Roller, The John Brown University Threefold Advocate (February 21, 2013)
By Susan Ryan
Lawmakers drop restrictive legislation due to parental backlash
By Ellen Meder, Morning News Morning News (February 20, 2013)
By Angie Campbell (Feb. 11, 2013)
5. WHAT SAME-SEX “MARRIAGE” HAS DONE TO MASSACHUSETTS It’s far worse than most people realize by Brian Camenker (October 2008 – Updated June 2012)
6. HOMESCHOOLING TRIPPING UP EDUCATION REFORM: Efforts to improve public education face a move to also alter parent-led instruction by Jason Noble (May 12, 2013)
By Susan Ryan
By Scott Woodruff, HSLDA (May 13, 2013)
By Kurt Nimmo, (May 11, 2013)
By Daniel Greenfield (July 9, 2013)
by Wayne S. Walker
12. CORNELIUS (Acts 10:1-8)
By Wayne S. Walker
By Anita Mellott, From the Mango Tree (March 11, 2011)
By D.C. Innes, World Magazine (Sept. 9, 2013)
By Deborah Wuehler, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Senior Editor
By Emma Bujnak, Homeschooled Student, St. Louis, MO

Henry K. Hadley and his Symphony No. 4

Henry Kimball Hadley (December 20, 1871–September 6, 1937) was an American composer and conductor. Hadley was born in Somerville, MA, to a musical family. His father, from whom he received his first musical instruction in violin and piano, was a secondary school music teacher in the Somerville public schools, his mother was a singer and pianist active in church music, and his brother Arthur went on to a successful career as a professional cellist who played with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In the Hadley home, the two brothers played string quartets with their father on viola and the composer Henry Gilbert on second violin. Hadley also studied harmony with his father and with Stephen Emery, violin was under Henry Heindl and Charles Allen and, from the age of fourteen, composition with the prominent American composer George Whitefield Chadwick. Under Chadwick’s instruction, Hadley composed many works, including songs, chamber music, a musical, and an orchestral overture. By the age of seventeen, be composed an operetta, Happy Jack. One-year later on December 9, 1889, an entire concert devoted to his original compositions was given at the Franklin Church in Somerville, when the young and proud composer was presented with a violin made of flowers. By his twenty-first birthday, Hadley had composed a string quartet, and a dramatic overture for orchestra.

In 1893, Hadley toured with the Laura Schirmer-Mapleson Opera Company as a violinist. But he left the tour when the company encountered financial difficulties and was unable to pay his salary. In 1894, he travelled to Vienna to further his studies with Eusebius Mandyczewski, revered musicologist and editor of authoritative editions of the works of Schubert, Beethoven, Haydn, Brahms and Caldera. Hadley loved the artistic atmosphere of the city, where he could attend countless concerts and operas, and where he occasionally saw Brahms in the cafes. While there, he heard Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony which made a strong impact on him. During this period Hadley also befriended the German-American conductor Adolf Neuendorff, who gave him advice regarding his compositions. Returning to the United States in 1896, Hadley took a position formerly held by Horatio Parker as the musical instructor at St. Paul’s Episcopal School for Boys in Garden City on Long Island, NY, where he worked until 1902. He wrote some of his important early compositions during his time there, including his overture In Bohemia, and his first and second symphonies. He also found prominent conductors to perform them, such as Walter Damrosch, Victor Herbert, John Philip Sousa, and Anton Seidl. Hadley made his own debut as a conductor on January 16, 1900, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, leading a program mostly made up of his own works.

In an age when American orchestras preferred European conductors to home grown ones, Hadley felt that he needed to establish himself in Europe. So he returned to Europe in 1904 to tour, compose, and study with Ludwig Thuille in Munich who introduced Hadley to the new music of Reger, Mahler and Richard Strauss. It is possible that his studies with Thuille were suggested by Strauss, whom Hadley met shortly after arriving in Europe. Hadley composed his symphonic poem Salome in 1905, not realizing that Strauss, whom he greatly admired, was working on an opera on the same subject. The work was eventually performed in at least nineteen European cities, and he was invited to conduct it, along with his newly finished third symphony, with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1907. In the same year, he obtained a position as an assistant conductor at the Stadttheater opera house in Mainz. In April 1909, his first opera, Safié, premiered in Mainz under his baton. Later that year he returned to the United States to take a position as conductor of the Seattle Symphony. In 1911, he became the first conductor of the San Francisco Symphony. Hadley encountered some difficulties in San Francisco, where he tried to turn a group of theater musicians into a first rate orchestra. He brought a number of excellent musicians from the east, including his brother Arthur, to be principals in the new orchestra, but this created some resentments among the locals. Nonetheless, by his departure in 1915 to pursue composition full-time, the orchestra had made great strides.

Hadley returned to New York in 1915, where he made many appearances as a guest conductor, and premiered many of his best known works. In 1918 he married the lyric soprano Inez Barbour, a well-known concert singer who thereafter sang many of her husband’s works. Between 1917 and 1920 three of Hadley’s operas received high profile premieres, including Cleopatra’s Night which bowed at the Metropolitan Opera on January 31, 1920. Hadley conducted some of the performances, becoming the first American composer to conduct his own opera at the Met, and the opera was revived the following season. Several critics judged it the best among the ten American operas to appear at the Met to that point. In 1921 Hadley was invited to become the associate conductor of the New York Philharmonic, the first American conductor to hold a full-time post with a major American orchestra. During his years there, his conducting received excellent reviews. As well as occasionally taking the helm for regular Philharmonic concerts, Hadley was assigned to lead stadium concerts during the summer, where he selected many works by American composers. He was eventually asked to regularly select American works for the Philharmonic to perform. He remained in this post until 1927, when he resigned. During his lifetime he was was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1924 and awarded several other honors including an honorary doctorate from Tufts University in 1925.

In 1927, Hadley was invited to conduct the first half of the season of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Buenos Aires, the first American to conduct the orchestra. In 1929, Hadley was invited to become the conductor of the newly formed Manhattan Symphony Orchestra. He led the orchestra for three seasons, including an American work in every concert. He then stepped down due to his frustrations with fundraising for the orchestra in the wake of the stock market crash. In 1930, was invited to conduct six concerts with the New Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo. His visit to Asia was met with great enthusiasm, and he composed a new orchestral suite, Streets of Pekin, inspired by a side trip to China, and led its world premiere with the Japanese orchestra. In 1933, Hadley founded the National Association for American Composers and Conductors, which exists to this day. He was also instrumental in establishing the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood, MA, in 1934. In 1932, Hadley was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery was initially successful, and Hadley continued his career as a composer and guest conductor. However, his popularity as a composer began to wane, as popular and especially critical opinion turned against the robust romanticism which Hadley’s music embodied. Hadley’s cancer recurred, and he died in New York City on September 6, 1937.

Hadley’s output included many overtures, symphonic poems, orchestral suites, and five symphonies. He also wrote brief concertos for both cello and piano. In addition he wrote a large number of stage works, including several operettas and musicals, along with his five operas, of which Azora and Cleopatra’s Night received the most attention. His comedy Bianca won a prize offered by the American Society of Singers for the best chamber opera in English. Hadley later adapted music from these works to be performed as orchestral suites. His chamber works include a violin sonata, two string quartets, two piano trios, and the quintet in a minor for piano and strings, Op. 50, written in 1919. There was also a good number of cantatas and oratorios, some of them, such as Resurgam, conceived on a very large scale. His work as a composer of nearly 200 songs is noteworthy as well. A pioneer in film music, he was invited by Warner Bros. to conduct The New York Philharmonic for the soundtrack music for its 1926 film, Don Juan with John Barrymore, the first feature film with synchronized music and sound effects.

My collection contains the following works by Hadley:

The Culprit Fay, Rhapsody, op. 62 (1908).
The Ocean, Tone Poem, op. 99 (1921).
Symphony No. 4 in dm, op. 64 (1911).

—material selected, adapted, and edited from several different sources

Red Oak School, Danville, IL


The Red Oak School was built near Danville, IL, circa 1914-1917 and then rebuilt due to fire. It closed in 1956 and was relocated to the Bunker Hill Historic Area of Kennekuk County Park, 22296-A Henning Road, Danville, IL 61834. Founded in 1974, Kennekuk County Park is 3000 acres in size and is located five miles west of Danville. It is bordered on the west by the Middle Fork National Scenic River and the Middle Fork State Wildlife Area (3000 acres) and to the south by Kickapoo State Park (3000 acres).

Monthly meditation from Sept., 2013, Biblical Homeschooling

Monthly Meditation
by Wayne S. Walker

“Then I called upon the name of the LORD: ‘O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!'” (Psalm 116:4). God is our Creator. However, is not like the “clockmaker” who simply builds the clock, winds it up, and then impassively watches it run down. He loves His entire creation, especially mankind, and taking an interest in all our affairs, most particularly our souls, He cares about us and invites us to call upon Him.

Christians, that is, those who through His Son Jesus Christ have become His spiritual children, are given the privilege of calling upon the Lord in prayer. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ” (Philippians 4:6-9). While God has not promised that He will always give us the answer that we want, He has promised that He will hear and respond to the prayers of His people.

Those who have not yet become Christians, and are thus not God’s spiritual children, are not offered the privilege of prayer. God may well choose to listen to them, but He has not promised to answer. The way in which those who are outside of Christ call upon the Lord is by obeying His commandments revealed in scripture to meet His conditions for salvation from sin. Saul of Tarsus was told, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Saul was lost in sin. He called upon the Lord to wash away His sin by arising and being baptized.

There is one word of warning. God wants everyone to call upon Him. However, sometimes those who are living in rebellion to Him will find themselves in some situation where they feel “at the end of their rope” and will “call upon the Lord.” If they are truly repentant and will fully turn to the Lord, this is great. Yet for some, it is merely a “grasping at straws” with no real intention of obeying the Lord and living for Him afterwards. Here is what the Bible says about that. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12).

—taken from BIBLICAL HOMESCHOOLING (September, 2013; Volume 16, Number 2), a free, monthly, e-mail newsletter of general interest, encouragement, and information for homeschooling Christians published by Wayne S. Walker. Subscribe by sending a blank e-mail to and then following the instructions that will be sent, or by signing up on the web at .

Mauro Giuliani and his Guitar Concerto #1 in AM

Mauro Giuseppe Sergio Pantaleo Giuliani (July 27, 1781 – May 8, 1829) was an Italian guitarist, cellist, singer, and composer, and is considered by many to be one of the leading guitar virtuosi of the early 19th century. Born in Bisceglie, Italy, Giuliani moved with his brother Nicola in the first years of his life to Barletta which became his center of study. His first instrumental training was on the cello—an instrument which he never completely abandoned—and he probably studied the violin. He also studied counterpoint, but on the six-string guitar he was entirely self-taught, and that became his principal instrument early on. Subsequently he devoted himself to the guitar, becoming a very skilled performer on it in a short time. The names of his teachers are unknown, and we cannot be sure of his exact movements in Italy.

Giuliani married Maria Giuseppe del Monaco, and they had a child, Michael, born in Barletta in 1801. After that he was probably in Bologna and Trieste for brief stays. Giuliani embarked on a successful tour of Europe when he was 19, and by the summer of 1806, fresh from his studies of counterpoint, cello and guitar in Italy, he had moved to Vienna , where he entered the musical circle of Diabelli, Moscheles, and Hummel and became acquainted with the classical instrumental style. In 1807 Giuliani began to publish compositions in the classical style. His concert tours took him all over Europe. Everywhere he went he was acclaimed for his virtuosity and musical taste. He achieved great success and became a musical celebrity, equal to the best of the many instrumentalists and composers who were active in the Austrian capital city at the beginning of the 19th century.

Giuliani solidified his reputation with the 1808 premiere of his Guitar Concerto in A major, Op. 30, and was soon heralded as the greatest living guitar virtuoso. Even Beethoven noticed Giuliani, and wrote of his admiration for him. Perhaps to return the favor, Giuliani played cello in the 1813 premiere of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. In 1815 Giuliani appeared with Johann Nepomuk Hummel (followed later by Ignaz Moscheles), the violinist Joseph Mayseder and the cellist Joseph Merk, in a series of chamber concerts in the botanical gardens of Schönbrunn Palace, concerts that were called the “Dukaten Concerte.” This exposure gave Giuliani prominence in the musical environment of the city. Also in 1815, he was the official concert artist for the celebrations of the Congress in Vienna.

In Vienna, Giuliani had minor success as a composer. He worked mostly with the publisher Artaria, who published many of his works for guitar, but he had dealings with all the other local publishers, who spread his compositions all over Europe. He developed a teaching career here as well; among his numerous students were Bobrowicz and Horetzky. Around 1814, Giuliani was named virtuoso onorario di camera to Napoleon’s second wife, Empress Marie-Louise. But, in deep financial difficulties as his property and bank accounts were confiscated to pay his debtors, he left Vienna and returned to Italy in 1819, spending time in Trieste and Venice, and finally settled in Rome, where he did not have much success, publishing a few compositions and giving only one concert.

An 1823 trip to London brought Giuliani acclaim in the English-speaking world. In July 1823 he began a series of frequent trips to Naples to be with his father, who was seriously ill. In the Bourbon city of Naples Giuliani found a better reception to his guitar artistry, and there he was able to publish other works for guitar with local publishers. Settling in Naples, he enjoyed the patronage of the court of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies and became adept on an obscure instrument called the lyre-guitar. During this time, which is often called Giuliani’s Neapolitan period, he appeared frequently in concert as a guitarist. In 1826 he performed in Portici before Francesco I and the Bourbon court. Toward the end of 1827 his health began to fail, and he died in Naples on May 8, 1829.

Giuliani defined a new role for the guitar in the context of European music. He was acquainted with the highest figures of Austrian society and with notable composers such as Rossini and Beethoven, and cooperated with the best active concert musicians in Vienna, where he exercised strong influence over the progress of the guitar, as a teacher, performer and composer. Along with Fernando Sor, he was one of the last great classical proponents of his instrument until its revival in the early twentieth century. Giuliani wrote three Guitar Concertos, with a number of works for solo guitar, including the Grand Overture, Op. 61, and a series of six sometimes long-winded suites, Le Rossiniane, based on tunes by Gioacchino Rossini, and for two guitars. Other ensemble music includes works for guitar and string quartet, guitar and violin and guitar and piano. His songs also offer the option of guitar accompaniment. In all, Giuliani published more than 200 works.

My collection includes the following work by Giuliani:

Concerto for Guitar and String Orchestra No. 1 in AM, op. 30 (1808).