Wood Dreamers: Luciano Marziali plays Mertz
Caspar Joseph Mertz (baptised Casparus Josephus Mertz) was born in Pressburg in 1806, now Bratislava (Slovakia), then the capital of the Kingdom of Hungary and part of the Austrian Empire and died in Vienna in 1856.
He was active in Vienna (c.1840–1856), which had been home to various prominent figures of the guitar, including Anton Diabelli, Mauro Giuliani, Wenceslaus Matiegka and Simon Franz Molitor.
He established there a solid reputation as a performer and virtuoso. He toured Moravia, Poland, and Russia, and gave performances in Berlin and Dresden.
In 1846 Mertz nearly died of an overdose of strychnine that had been prescribed to him as a treatment for neuralgia. Over the following year he was nursed back to health in the presence his wife, the concert pianist Josephine Plantin whom he married in 1842. Some speculation may lead one to the conclusion that listening to his wife performing the romantic piano pieces of the day during his period of recovery may have had an influence on the sound and unusual right hand technique he adopted for the Bardenklänge (Bardic Sounds) Op. 13 (1847-1855).
Mertz’s guitar music, unlike that of most of his contemporaries, followed the pianistic models of Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schubert and Schumann, rather than the classical models of Mozart and Haydn (as did Sor and Aguado), or the bel canto style of Rossini (as did Giuliani).
The Bardenklänge are probably Mertz’s most important contribution to the guitar repertoire – a series of deceptively easy character pieces in the mould of Schumann.
Please enjoy Luciano Marziali’s interpretation of the Tarantelle Op. 13 Nr. 6 from Bardenklänge played of a guitar made by the Italian luthier Umberto Raccis.