François de Fossa: Ouverture to de l'opéra
Le Calife de Bagdad,
Musique de Boieldieu

12 pp., $8.95, Presser Order number 494-02875 (PWYS-15e)

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fossa-calife.jpgUntil 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, an anthology of selected works for guitar solo published in 1990. De Fossa’s arrangement of the Ouverture de l’opéra Le Calife de Bagdad. musique de Boieldieu was part of that anthology. The current edition of it was engraved anew, and completely edited and fingered. The work must have been composed before December 29th 1825, when the dedicatee, Mademoiselle Marguerite Sophie Vautrin became Madame de Fossa. The opera Le Calife de Bagdad by François-Adrien Boieldieu (1775-1834), was first staged in Paris on September 16th 1800, when the composer taught at the newly founded Paris Conservatoire. Like extracts from many other operas by Boieldieu, such as Ma Tante Aurore, Le petit Chaperon Rouge, Les Voitures Versées and others, the overture to Le Calife became a favorite with the public and enjoyed many instrumental arrangements, destined for use by amateurs. De Fossa’s arrangement for the solo guitar, it is clear, makes no allowances for the amateur's limited technical resources, but rather attempts to recreate the full orchestral gamut of the original, employing the meager resources of the solo guitar to their full potential.

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.

Front cover illustration is a water color by François de Fossa (1861-1935?), the composer’s grandson. It was published as an illustration to an article titled “Le Marechal aux Champs” (l’Illustration, 20/11/1926, N° 4368) describing the residence of Marshal Ferdinand Foch at Trefeunteuniou, near Morlaix in Brittany. We are indebted to Marielle Olive for a copy of this water-color.


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Last Modified: 11/19/2011 11:41:47 AM