Mertz, Pujol and Downland History and Music

1245 Words5 Pages
Mertz, Pujol and Downland History and Music Johann Kaspar Mertz, perhaps more than any other Central European musician of his time, was associated with the guitar, both as a composer and performer. He was a virtuoso player of the first rank, regularly touring Europe to great acclaim, and an esteemed composer whose guitar works are still highly regarded today. Johann Kaspar Mertz was born in Pozsony, Hungary, on August 17, 1806. He exhibited remarkable talent as a child on both the guitar and flute, but the family's dismal financial circumstances inhibited his development. By 12 he was contributing to the family income by giving music lessons. Mertz eventually devoted most of his energies to the guitar, but it was not until he was 34 that he moved to Vienna to launch his career as a concert guitarist. He 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, political, and artistic elite. Attesting to his early Viennese triumphs, guitar music by Mertz was first published during this same period by the prestigious Haslinger publishing house of Vienna. Mertz embarked on a concert tour in 1841, performing in Austria, Poland, and Russia. Typically, Mertz used a 10-string guitar for all his concerts. Unfortunately, in 1846 he was diagnosed with neuralgia, which suspended his concert activity until 1848. However, during that time Mertz wrote his famous Bardenklänge, a work perhaps inspired by the pianism of his wife, who was then steeped in the Romantic repertory of the day. More of that influence was seen in his later works, such as Nocturne op.4, no.2, which in general was defined as an instrumental composition of a dreamy or pensive character, inspired by, or evocative of, the night, cultivated mainly in the 19th century.

More about Mertz, Pujol and Downland History and Music

Open Document