Luigi Moretti (c. 1780-1850), composer

Luigi Moretti was the brother of the better-known Federico Moretti, he came from Naples and seems to have travelled to Madrid at least once.  He shows a considerable interest in the details of instrumentation, composing for example elaborate works for guitar and piano.

We publish a Grand Trio by him, for violin, horn (or viola), and guitar, an unusual instrumentation.


Luigi Moretti: Gran Trio for violin, horn (or viola) and guitar. New re-engraved edition from Tecla


About Luigi Moretti

The important thing about Luigi Moretti is that he was really a very good and interesting composer, even though as yet we don’t know much about his life. I like especially his Gran Trio for violin, horn or viola, and guitar (now available here in Tecla), but his other chamber music and guitar solos are also good. His duets for piano and guitar are elaborate. He was composing already by about 1805, within that wonderful period in Italy around 1790-1810 when Emma Hamilton was living in Naples and Goethe came visiting, and when Francesco Molino, Antonio Nava and a host of others were composing fine and delightful music. It may even be that he was one of the first composers to write for guitar with full orchestra, for a “Rondo para Guitarra a toda Orquesta” by him was advertised in Spain in the first years of the 19th century (no copy of it has however yet been found). Usually it is supposed that Giuliani’s concerto op. 30 of 1808 was the first such composition, and we don’t know whether this Rondo of Luigi Moretti came before that or not.

He came from Naples, as the registers of the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna say in the entry recording his becoming a member there in 1821. (His brother Federico published his method in Naples and served in the army of Spain, with which Naples was at that time closely associated.) We can deduce some things about Luigi Moretti from the editions of his music and especially from their title-pages, but no letters are known, no references to him by other composers, other than some dedications. Luigi was a count and a member of several orders and of the Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna. He published with Ricordi. The people to whom he dedicated his works include some of the greatest names in Europe: the Queen of Spain, the Empress of Russia, the Archduchess of Austria. His full name appears on some title-pages as Luigi Moretti y Gascon (or Gascone). The British Library online catalogue cites various works by Luigi Count Sormani Moretti published between 1858 and 1904, on economics etc. Was that another member of the family?

His brother Federico Moretti was also a distinguished musician who is better known to us, who composed fine songs and guitar solos, wrote a method for guitar, influenced Sor, and rose to high rank in the Spanish army. Works by both brothers were available in Spain in the earliest years of the 19th century. Perhaps Luigi visited his brother in Madrid, for some of his works are dedicated to the Queen of Spain, and if so that may have been before the political and military turmoil there when the French invaded in 1808.

The earliest datable edition of a work by him is the Grand Duo Concertant from about 1805, published in Paris, we don’t know from what source. He seems to have lived until at least about 1841, when Emilia Giuliani (daughter of Mauro) dedicated her Sei Preludi op. 46 to him. (She calls him Dilettante, which isn’t pejorative, only meaning that he wasn’t a professional musician.)

He composed mostly for the guitar. There are many guitar solos, one work for two guitars, several chamber works including the Gran Trio for violin, horn (or viola) and guitar, several original vocal works and some vocal arrangements (some with guitar and some with piano), and some works for piano and guitar. His works with opus number go up to op. 49. However, so far I have found copies of only some of the known works, not all. If any reader of this site has information about Luigi Moretti, I would be very pleased to hear.

Copyright 2009 by Tecla Editions. Errors and omissions excepted.