Rossini’s opera seria Semiramide of 1822 is one of his most famous works, and like many other hits of the period was subject to various arrangements for piano, barrel organ, and in this case guitar. Many such arrangements were not sanctioned by the composer or publisher (there being no effective copyright laws at the time), but some were approved as in the case of the Giuliani arrangements now receiving their premiere recording on Brilliant Classics. Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) was possibly the greatest guitar virtuoso of the period. Born in Italy, he studied cello and counterpoint, but took up the guitar as his main instrument and became the first guitarist/composer to compose seriously for the instrument. He produced three concertos, typical of the late classical and early romantic period – highly virtuosic, and in style similar to concertos by Hummel and Moscheles. He moved among and became friends with some of the greatest musicians of the day. He played cello in the premiere of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony in Vienna in 1813, and was friends with Beethoven, Hummel, Moscheles and Spohr. Later he became ‘virtuoso onorario di camera’ to Empress Marie-Louise, Napoleon’s second wife. He left a large body of work running to 230 works.
In a time before cinema, recordings and such like, the nearest the public could get to having a souvenir of a great night out at the opera were arrangements for domestic instruments of the big tunes. Giuliani’s arrangement of Semiramide wasn’t published until after his death, but is a Rolls Royce of adaptations, following the plot and orchestral dynamics closely, capturing the drama of the original.
- World premiere recording, and a major addition to the classical guitar discography
- Full booklet notes and synopsis of the operatic plot included.
- Izhar Elias was born in Amsterdam in 1977, and has been praised for his "fantastic musicality, highly developed sense of style, elegance and allure" (Jury of the International Tromp Music Competition, The Netherlands).
- "A musician of outstanding ability, whose whole approach to his art displays a maturity beyond his years" (Classical Guitar).