Luigi Moretti (c. 1780-1850): Gran Trio, Introduction.

Gran Trio for violin, horn or viola, and guitar

A new edition made by Jean-Loup Lecomte


This Gran Trio by Luigi Moretti is interesting because of the unusual instrumentation with horn. Luigi Moretti showed an interest in the details of instrumentation, composing for example elaborate works for guitar and piano.

The trio is also interesting for its style. The Largo has a shimmering guitar part like a harp. The recitative is unusual and gives a special kind of effect. And the guitar part is dramatic in the Polonaise.

It has not as far as I know been published before in a modern re-engraved edition. It is hard to date, but may be from about 1825.

The trio begins with an eloquent largo with a prominent guitar part and long held notes for the horn. I would guess from these long notes that the work was composed with the horn rather than the viola in mind, and that the viola part is only there for convenience. Then comes a recitative with a call from the horn, then a busy guitar part, then a call from the violin. Finally, a large-scale Polonaise in which all three instruments shine, with more long notes for the horn for example at bars 31-34.

Count Luigi Moretti is not very well known today but composed much music. His earliest known work dates from about 1805, and he was still composing up to about the 1840s. He came from Naples and was the brother of the better-known Federico Moretti, but his music, as seen for example in this trio, is different in style from Federico’s.

Back in 1985 I was in Italy, collecting material for my edition of Giuliani’s Complete Works. I went to Codogno, where the Biblioteca Civica has a collection of music, and the then librarian, Mr. Salvatori, very kindly allowed me to have photocopies of some works which were in that collection. One of those works was a manuscript of this trio by Luigi Moretti, which looked interesting to me.

Years went by, and I published several works for chamber music with guitar, which were performed by several groups of musicians. One such group was D’Amore in Portugal, with Olavo Tengner Barros playing flute, Jean-Loup Lecomte playing viola, and Mário Carreira playing guitar. They made a very pleasant recording of Francesco Molino’s trio op. 4 no. 1 and other works. I brought this trio of Luigi Moretti to their attention, and Jean-Loup Lecomte made this present new edition of it. It still looks interesting, and I hope that it will soon be played.

For horn players: the original manuscript writes the horn part in the bass clef. Thus, the first note of the Largo, G, is written in the top space of the bass clef.

Brian Jeffery

Copyright 2009 by Tecla Editions. Errors and omissions excepted.