Score and parts. 16+4+4+4+4 pp.
$24.95, Presser Order number 494-02552 (EICM-40)
The Air Varié et Dialogué by Antoine de Lhoyer is the earliest guitar quartet known. Similar to many concertante chamber music works of the period, the four guitar are treated in this Air Varié et Dialogué more or less equally. While Guitar I seem to dominate, the other instruments are given important solo passages as well, in full compliance of the stated dialogue aspect of the composition. The manner in which the theme and its variations are taken by each guitar in turn, immediately suggests the representation of a conversation among friends.
Antoine de Lhoyer was born on 6 September 1768 in Clermont-Ferrand, in the heart of France. His family appears to have been a well-to-do famille bourgeoise. Little is known about his childhood, but one source states that he studied music in Paris with excellent masters. In the early autumn of 1789 he embarked upon a military career by entering the Gardes du Corps du Roi, where he served until the imprisonment of the Royal Family in 1791. De Lhoyer left the country at the end of 1791 and went to Coblenz where he enlisted with the armée des Princes, a principal counter-revolutionary unit. His enlistment with this army lasted until the end of 1792. In the ensuing years, time and again de Lhoyer joined military units fighting against revolutionary France: during 1794-97 he participated in the various campaigns of the Austrian army, and in 1799-1800 he was in the armée de Condé, another leading émigré military unit. He settled as a guitarist in Hamburg in 1800 where some of his guitar works, including the present concerto, were published. He went to Russia sometime in early 1803; on his way he passed through Berlin where he appeared in a concert in December 1802. He clearly obtained a prominent position at the imperial court in St. Petersburg were he stayed until his return to France in 1812, just before Napoleon’s Russian campaign. He served in various command positions in the French army until his forced retirement in 1830. He died on 15 March, 1852 in Paris at the age of 84.
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