Until the beginning of the 1980s, the figure of François de Fossa was mainly known by his relationship with Dionisio Aguado, a relationship that included de Fossa’s collaboration in producing the two Parisian editions of the Aguado Escuela, and the complete translation of one of them into French. The situation changed radically in 1981 with the publication by Editions Orphée of a monograph which not only revealed very interesting and decisive factors in regard to the guitar quintets of Luigi Boccherini, but also included an important biographical study and a checklist of the known compositions of François de Fossa. Several works by de Fossa were published in later years, among which were works for two guitars, trios, quartets, and an anthology of selected works for guitar solo published in 1990.
The title page of the original on which this edition is based reads as follows:
Ouverture /d’Œdipe à Colone / Musique / de sacchini / arrangée / Pour deux Guitares / par / F.s de Fossa /Prix 5.f 50.c / A Paris, au Magazine de Musique de. A. Meissonnier, Galerie de Panoramas N° 15. / et a Toulouse chez Meissonnier Ainé et Comp.ie M.ds de Musique Rue St. Rome, N° 48. [pl.nr.] 236. The work is datable to c. 1823.
Antonio Sacchini (1730 – 1786) was an Italian composer. He was born in Florence, and raised in Naples, where he received his musical education. He made a name for himself as a composer of serious and comic opera in Italy before moving to London, where he produced works for the King’s Theatre. He spent his final years in Paris, becoming embroiled in the musical dispute between the Gluckists and the Piccinnists. His early death in 1786 was blamed on his disappointment over the apparent failure of his opera Œdipe à Colone. However, the opera soon became one of the most popular operas in Paris, a popularity that lasted until about 1844, counting some 600 performances. In other words, François de Fossa must have been well familiar with this opera. Arranging operatic overtures, mainly for their use by amateurs in the context of domestic music making, was a wide spread practice during the early nineteenth century and many composers, and among them some of the better known guita-rists/composers indulged in the practice. While many of his contemporaries, poeple such as Ferdinando Carulli and Mauro Giuliani made most of their arrangements on the basis of operas by Rossini, de Fossa seems to have been attracted to the major composers active in the Paris opera, both French and Italian. These arrangements are designed to produce virtuoso sounding performances by using decidedly intermediated level technical demands.
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