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. Most guitarist-composers in the early 19th century used the popular operas of the day as a source of inspiration. Some works are themes with variation, others are selected arrangements. A few of such works have become part of the standard repertoire such as Fernando Sor’s Op. 9 based on Mozart and Mauro Giuliani’s Rossiniane. François de Fossa borrowed from the works of Haydn, Rossini, Ataide, Sacchini, Méhul, Piccinni, Berton, Boieldieu and Dalayrac.
The title page of the original edition on which this is bases is as follows:
Ouverture / de l’Opéra / Renaud d’Ast / de Dalayrac / arrangée pour / deux Guitares / par / Fr. de Fossa. / Prix 2 Francs. / Bonn chez N. Simrock. / Propriété de l’éditeur. / [pl. nr.] 2612. Advertized in the AmZ on July 1829.
Like François de Fossa, Nicolas Dalayrac (1753 – 1809) had a military career, however quite short. Though he had studied law and was destined to become a lawyer or a judge, he was more interested in studying the violin which he had received at age fourteen. In 1774 his well-to-do father placed him in the battalion of the Count of Artois at Versailles with a salary. This count would later be King Charles X of France and Navarra. After initial successes with pieces for violin and his string quartets, he left the army in 1780 to dedicate himself entirely to music. His first two stage works - which have not survived - particularly impressed the French queen Marie-Antoinette. The opera being at the time the music form most appreciated became his prime activity and in his very productive life Dalayrac produced 56 of them, as many as the years he lived. Dalayrac was a founding father in 1777 of the Société des auteurs et compositeurs dramatiques and as such an early defender of authors’ rights. The opera from which this overture is taken by De Fossa saw its first performance on July 19, 1787 at the Salle Favart by the Comédiens Italiens. The work is based on a story originally written by La Fontaine.
Product Code: EICM-53