Giuliani: The Complete Works: the complete introduction, by Brian Jeffery

Although these notes are headed “Introduction”, they are written (as such things usually are) as the series of Mauro Giuliani’s Complete Works nears its end. It has taken five years to research, assemble, prepare and publish the 38 volumes. This would not have been possible without the generous assistance of many for whom the project had importance, and I would like here to express my thanks to them. First to Dr. Thomas F. Heck, who nearly twenty years ago carried out the first systematic research into Giuliani, and who kindly allowed the use of his materials and of his words. Also to the libraries and collectors who, usually readily and without charge, allowed the publication of their materials. To those people who worked on the careful and responsible task of preparing the music to go to the printer, especially Jenny Wormald through whose hands many volumes passed. To our typesetter Christine Hibbs; to our speedy and efficient printers at the end of the series, Kultura and Editio Musica in Budapest, who made it possible to move mountains at that stage; and finally and by no means least, to those subscribers who, without wavering, took the many instalments one by one as they appeared; without them the financial burden of producing this series could not have been shouldered.

Advantages of a facsimile edition such as this

Now that the series has finally appeared, this may be a good moment to take stock. The concept of a complete reprint edition such as this is fairly new, and those that have been made before now have usually been destined above all for libraries, since not much attention was always paid to their legibility for performers. But the idea of a reprint edition which shall serve for performers as well as for scholars has much to recommend it. It is simple and gives all that the historically-minded performer could require, namely the original text in its original form, reproduced to be a clear and legible as possible, and with a critical eye passed over it from the performer’s point of view. Because the enormous costs of re-engraving – and also the hidden costs of the time spent in proof-reading that re-engraving – are spared, it is possible to publish music in greater numbers of pages than before and even (as in this case) without subsidy.

Advantages of facsimiles for performers

The performer, incidentally, who is not used to playing from editions of the early 19th century should not in any way be put off from doing so. The notation is not different in any major way from that of today, and the few minor differences are not such as to cause difficulty to any player. A modern re-engraved edition generally gives the performer no advantage which is not already there in a properly chosen and annotated reprint of an original edition. And from the point of view of clarity, nearly all the pieces in this present edition leave little to be desired.

Facsimiles and the past

But there is more involved than these practical considerations. Many people who are concerned with the past want the original elements that made up that past, not substitutes. This is perhaps especially true today, when so much of the past is being rapidly destroyed. Even when individual items from the past are preserved, often their context disappears, so that much of the sense of their past has gone. I see this in my own lifetime; for example, the strong sense of the past in the ancient Canterbury in which I grew up in the 1950s, and which had mostly survived the bombing of the war, is today gone. Yet those old things had value. So it is, that if I play Giuliani’s music, there is quite simply nothing as satisfactory as playing that music from the editions of the period, on an instrument of the period. Reprints and replicas are the next best thing, and so I hope that this edition may be valued not only for the music which it presents, but also for the particular form which it takes.

Giuliani’s music.

Giuliani was a cultivated man and an all-round musician. A contemporary wrote that he was “ein feiner und gebildeter Mann”, a fine and cultured man. A personal friend of Hummel, Beethoven, Mayseder, Moscheles, and a host of others in the Vienna of those days,, he sang, played (perhaps the violoncello) in the first performance of Beethoven’s seventh symphony, and composed for many instruments. A clue to the manner of his performance may be gathered from other words of that same contemporary (J.F. Reichardt) who said that he played like the lute-players of old. Given that the guitar of those days was a smaller and more delicate instrument than today’s, and given the gut strings of the period, we may guess that the style in which he may have played was doubtless speedy and virtuosic – as was that of many a lutenist – but also subtle, delicate, and singing. His music includes not only solo pieces for his chosen instrument, but also three concertos, one original work for guitar and string quartet, 22 works for flute or violin and guitar, and very many songs, some of them of great beauty. In his later life in Italy he based many of his compositions on the popular music of his native country, and was also a personal friend of Rossini and made many arrangements from that composer’s works.


Every work in this edition is presented, as far as possible, in a reprint of the earliest known edition. This makes good sense for Giuliani, for he is not known to have had any hand in making any revisions for later editions. The bibliography for every work has been carefully reviewed, starting from the data provided by Thomas Heck. In a great many cases it has been possible to add something to Heck’s data, sometimes substantially. Such are for example the concerto opus 30 and the Gran Sonata Eroica opus 150; see the notes to those works in this edition. In several cases copies of works have been found where no copies were known to Heck at the time of his research. A great deal of effort has also gone into finding copies which were clear and legible for reproduction, since many of the early copies are somewhat faded.


All the music except the concertos and some vocal works has been played through before publication. That alone would have been a Herculean task, and I am most grateful to colleagues and friends for their assistance in this matter. Erik Stenstadvold and his colleagues at the Oslo Conservatory played through all the music for guitar and flute or violin and provided annotations for this edition. Maria Kämmerling and the late Leif Christensen did the same for the guitar duets, and Peter Pieters and Maria Cogen for the works for guitar and keyboard. Others helped with other pieces, and also with some of the research needed. Where misprints were noticed, they have been listed. But I must emphasize firstly that the lists of misprints are my responsibility, and secondly that they are in no way exhaustive and are not intended to be so; they are merely a starting point for the player.

An addition to the notes to Volumes 8 and 16

In Volume 16 is a work for solo guitar without opus number entitled “Gran Variazioni sopra un tema Savojardo”. I suggested in the notes to Volume 16 that in view of its late publication and lack of opus number, the authenticity of the work must be unconfirmed. However, Mr. Roger Quin has pointed out that the work appears in fact to be a shortened version of Giuliani’s op. 72, a set of variations on an air from the opera “Jeannot et Colin” (published in Volume 8 of this collection). Accordingly it must be considered authentic. However, its title may well derive not from Giuliani but from a later editor or the publisher.

Brian Jeffery

Copyright 2003 by Tecla Editions. Errors and omissions excepted.