François de Fossa: Grand Trio Concertante, 
For guitar, violin and violoncello
Op. 18 N° 3 (Parts)

28+16+12 pp., $24.95, Presser Order number 494-02965 (EICM-50)

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. One of the first works by de Fossa we published, was his Trio Concertante for guitar, violin and violoncello, Op. 18, N° 1, the first work in a cycle which contained three such trios. It was our sincere intention at the time to publish the remaining two trios from this work, but in the intervening thirty years, our attention was directed to other projects, other musics. Now, in preparation for the forthcoming celebration of the “Année François de Fossa 2015” on the occasion of the 240th anniversary of his birth, which will take place in his birthplace, Perpignan, France, we decided it is time to complete the work.

This publication is based on two unique sources:

A printed edition published in Paris c. 1826 by Simon Richault, and an autograph fair copy of the score which must have been prepared by the composer in anticipation of the forthcoming edition.
The chamber music of François de Fossa occupies a special place in the guitar literature of the early nineteenth century. The guitar is treated here as a powerful instrument, an equal member of a musical whole. This is a truly concertante work, where all instruments are given to share in the making of music, and none are reduced to the role of a accompanist. All three instruments are equally active in expositional and developmental sections. The guitar is treated boldly with unabashed enthusiasm, as if it were the soloist in a concerto. To my knowledge, a rare occurrence in the guitar music of the period. It appears de Fossa suppressed the original Rondo as the concluding movement of his 3rd trio, on the advice of someone. De Fossa does not tell us who that someone was but whoever it was, de Fossa took the advise seriously, and when he presented the work to his publisher Richault, the Rondo movement was indeed eliminated.


On comparing the published Finale with the original Rondo, we find that indeed the Finale is of a much livelier tempo and at about half the duration of the Rondo, if the latter is taken at the indicated tempo of an allegretto, and not in the more common tempo of an allegro. It is still of a longer duration even if taken at a faster tempo, but the difference is then insignificant. We have included the suppressed Rondo as an Appendix to this edition.

François de Fossa was born in Perpignan on August 31st 1775 and died in Paris on June 3rd 1849. He was one of the most influential composers for the guitar, an influence which was reflected in his close personal relationships with many well known guitarists of the early nineteenth century, and in particular, with Dionisio Aguado. It is thanks to de Fossa that the guitar quintets of Luigi Boccherini, perhaps the basis of the repertoire for chamber music with guitar, were preserved and are available to us today.

A complete score is available here.


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Last Modified: December 22, 2014 1:29 PM