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Ferdinando Carulli
Composer, virtuoso guitar player

and the viola

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Ferdinando Carulli was an important virtuoso guitar player who composed much chamber music for guitar, also with the viola.

He was born in Naples, Italy, in 1770, the same year as Beethoven, 13 years after Rolla and 14 after Mozart, 12 years before Paganini, just to give you an idea of his musical era.

He initially studied cello but soon switched to the guitar. At the beginning of the 19th century he moved to Paris and become well known as guitar soloist, composer and teacher. Also many of his works started to be published in France, Germany and Italy.

However, his most famous work was his Méthode complete for guitar that is still used nowadays by many teachers.


Works for viola

Carulli was very active in promoting the guitar as a solo instrument with many expressive and virtuoso qualities.

What is of interest to us is that he composed something for viola. In particular,

  • 3 Petits Nocturnes Op. 24 for flute, viola and guitar
  • 3 Trios Concertants Op. 103 for violin, viola and guitar
  • 2 Duos Op. 137 for viola and guitar
  • 2 Solo Op. 207 for violin, viola, cello and guitar
  • 2 Nocturnes Op. 208 for violin, viola, cello and guitar
  • Quartet Op. 253 for violin, viola, cello and guitar
  • Nocturne Op. 254 for violin, viola and guitar

Duos for viola and guitar

as well as other works without opus number including arrangements of popular opera arias and ouvertures, (see below) like Paganini and many others did.


Ouverture from The thieving Magpie (La gazza ladra)
for violin, viola and guitar

These works could very well form a nice programme of a concert for a trio or quartet with violin, viola, cello and guitar, maybe with one of Paganin's quartet. I myself remember playing the duos with guitar.


Carulli's music on CDs and
Sheet music to play it

If you want to enjoy listening to Carulli's music find here a selection of recordings you can buy and if you wish to play some of carulli's duos, trios or quartets here are also some editions of sheet music.


Buy Ferdinando Carulli CDs, works for guitar with violin, viola, flute
Buy Ferdinando Carulli sheet music, works for guitar with violin, viola, flute

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