Just Classical Guitar Club

il club degli amanti della chitarra con corde di nylon

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Francesco Molino

(1768-1847)

a violinist and prominent guitarist and teacher from Ivrea

Francesco Molino, one of the greatest guitarists of the Nineteenth Century, was born in Ivrea on June 4, 1768. His father was Giuseppe Ignazio, an oboist at the service of the Piedmontese troop band. Francesco followed his father in pursuing a military career, volunteering in the Piedmont Regiment when he was 15 years old. In the army he learned the rudiments of music and how to play the oboe. At the same time he undertook thorough training on the viola under the guidance, presumably, of other musicians in his family, such as Valentino and Luigi. In the years 1786-1789 he was active as violist in the orchestra of the Royal Theater of Turin. In 1814 he was violinist in the Orchestra of the Royal Chapel, where he worked until 1818.

There is no certain information as to how he came to play the guitar; it is presumable that he was influenced by hearing it played at family gatherings. Unknown also are the details of his journeys in foreign countries, to which many texts refer; we can construct a hypothetical itinerary by perusing his publications for guitar, which first began on a tour to Germany.

Certainly by the end of 1818 Molino had moved to Paris, where he presented himself as a "violinist of the Royal Chapel." In Paris there was already a consolidated guitar tradition, originated by Ferdinando Carulli, and carried on by other musicians such as Gragnani and Sor. Molino had to create a space for his musical and concert activity, for in Paris he was placing himself in the midst of a circle of guitar aficionados who were resistant to new ideas. Though he had to overcome the disdain for new styles of guitar playing which was brought on by the success of Carulli, Molino never really came into conflict with the Neapolitan musician, as is suggested by the chronicles of the time which speak about "querelles" between two antagonistic teams of guitar supporters of one or of the other. This notion is bolstered also by the noted series of lithographs by Charles de Marescot, printed around 1840.

Maintaining his own convictions as to guitar technique, Molino had a noteworthy success as teacher, having students from the highest strata of Parisian society, and admirers such as the Duchess of Berry. From 1820 to 1835 he published the greater part of his compositions for guitar in Paris, but after this period, in light of the decline that the guitar suffered (around 1840), Molino composed his last works for violin.

He died in Paris in 1847.

Among his works for guitar, which number more than sixty, worth mentioning is the Method, a valid treatise which sets out new concepts for the treatment of the instrument, and which achieved a substantial success in his Paris period. Likewise worthy of mention are the brilliant Sonata, Op. 51, for solo guitar, the pleasant chamber trios and some nocturnes for flute and guitar, but above all his Concerto, Op. 56, for guitar and orchestra. Molino is dedicatee of the Second Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 25, of Rudolphe Kreutzer, with whom he had a deep friendship.

(Transl. M. Penny)

Known printed works of Francesco Molino

  1. TRE SONATE FACILI Op. 1, guitar
  2. TRE SONATE Op. 2, violin & guitar
  3. TROIS DUOS Op. 3, violin & guitar
  4. TRE TRII Op. 4, flute, viola & guitar
  5. SEI TEMI VARIATI Op. 5, guitar
  6. TRE SONATE Op. 6, guitar
  7. TRE GRANDI SONATE Op. 7, violin & guitar
  8. DODICI TEMI VARIATI Op. 9, guitar
  9. DODICI VALZER Op. 9, guitar
  10. VENTIQUATTRO VALZER Op. 10, guitar
  11. DIVERTIMENTI FACILI Op. 11, guitar
  12. RACCOLTA DI PEZZI Op. 12, guitar
  13. DUE FANTASIE Op. 13, guitar
  14. RACCOLTA DI PEZZI Op. 14, guitar
  15. TRE SONATE Op. 15, guitar
  16. TRE DUETTI Op. 16, flute & guitar
  17. GRANDE OUVERTURE Op. 17, guitar
  18. QUATTRO TEMI VARIATI Op. 18, guitar
  19. TRE TRII Op. 19, flute, viola & guitar
  20. RACCOLTA DI PEZZI Op. 20, guitar
  21. QUATTRO TEMI VARIATI Op. 21, guitar
  22. TRE GRANDI SONATE Op. 22, violin & guitar
  23. VENTI VARIAZIONI E UN VALZER Op. 23, guitar
  24. METODO Op. 24, guitar
  25. DIVERTIMENTO Op. 26 guitar
  26. TRE RONDO' BRILLANTI Op. 28, guitar
  27. TRE SONATE Op. 29, violin & guitar
  28. GRAN TRIO CONCERTANTE Op. 30, flute (or violin), viola & guitar
  29. VARIAZIONI Op. 31, guitar
  • METODO Op. 33
  • GRANDE POLACCA E DUE RONDĂ’ Op. 34, guitar
  • NOTTURNO Op. 36, guitar & piano
  • NOTTURNO Op. 37, flute (or violin) & guitar
  • NOTTURNO Op. 38, flute (or violin) & guitar
  • NOTTURNO Op. 39, flute (or violin) & guitar
  • ESTRATTO DAL METODO Op. 40, guitar
  • VARIAZIONI BRILLANTI Op. 41, guitar
  • CORO E VALZER Op. 42, guitar
  • ARIA VARIATA Op. 43, guitar
  • NOTTURNO Op. 44, guitar & piano
  • GRAN TRIO Op. 45, flute, viola & guitar
  • GRANDE METODO Op. 46
  • SUPPLEMENTO AL METODO Op. 47, guitar
  • METODO Op. 49
  • RACCOLTA DI PEZZI Op. 50, guitar
  • GRANDE SONATA Op. 51, guitar
  • GRANDE BOLERO Op. 52, guitar
  • GRANDE BOLERO Op. 54, guitar
  • DUE FANDANGO Op. 55, guitar
  • CONCERTO Op. 56, guitar & orchestra
  • NOTTURNO Op. 57, guitar & piano
  • ARIA SCOZZESE VARIATA Op. 58, guitar
  • VARIAZIONI Op. 59, guitar
  • CINQUE PEZZI Op. 60, guitar
  • TRE DUETTI Op. 61, flute (or violin) & guitar
  • VARIAZIONI Op. 63, guitar
  • ARIA VARIATA Op. 65, guitar
  • CANZONETTA (canto & guitar)
  • METODO, guitar
  • Bibliographic Notes

    • Mario Dell'Ara, Il "Metodo" di Francesco Molino in il Fronimo no. 45, p. 40-50.
    • Danilo Prefumo, Il concerto per chitarra e orchestra di Francesco Molino in il Fronimo no. 46, p. 10-25.
    • Mario Dell'Ara, Luigi, Valentino e Francesco Molino in il Fronimo no. 50, p. 14-43.