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Luigi Moretti

(19th-cent.)

a Composer and Guitarist of Noble Birth

Even today little is known about Luigi Moretti, brother of Federico Moretti, one of the leading contributors to the story of the guitar in the early Nineteenth Century. The biographical notes about him are scarce. The fact that he was the brother of Federico can be clearly deduced from the frontispiece of one of his works.

We still have no information about his birth place or of his supposed residence in Naples in the first years of his life. On the contrary, he probably spent the first years of the Nineteenth Century in Milan or somewhere else in northern Italy; this presumption is based on the fact that he actively composed for some Milanese publishers, mainly Giovanni Ricordi, but also Antonio Monzino and Luigi Scotti, up to at least 1812 or 1814. The only documentation upon which we can reasonably rely to illuminate his career are his surviving works.

Following the publishing chronology of these works, we can roughly trace the movements of his musical life. From the perusal of some Parisian editions, starting from around 1830, we can deduce that Luigi Moretti subsequently moved to France, like many other contemporary Italian composers. He remained for a certain length of time in Gascony, as is indicated by the phrase "y Gascon" found in some of his printed works. The appellations of Count, Knight and Commendatore found on his publications suggest his noble descent, and of course of his brother Federico as well. In fact, Luigi boasted the title of "Commendatore of the Order of S.Stefano from Tuscany" and of "Knight of the Order of Charles III". He was likewise a member of the "Illustrious Academic Philharmonic from Bologna".
He was the dedicatee of the Variations Op.112 for guitar of Mauro Giuliani and of a Fantasia for guitar Op. 1 of Giuditta Frotta.

Looking in more detail at his instrumental works (little more than a dozen compositions in all), we can say that he had an interest in chamber music for the guitar: there are in fact several compositions for the violin or flute and guitar, such as the Gran Bretagna Duet Op.9, and the Duets Op.17 and 18; for more unusual instrumental ensembles he wrote two Trios Op.13 and 14, for guitar, violin and horn, and an important Quintet Op.16, for guitar, two violins, horn and cello. Worth mentioning are also the Duets for two guitars, without opus number, published by Ricordi at 1810, and Six Cavatine Op.21, for soprano and guitar, which is the work with the latest opus number among Moretti's extant compositions.
For solo guitar Moretti published the Variations Op.7 and 8, and the interesting Sonata Op.11. He transcribed also many airs arias from Italian and other operas for voice and guitar or solo guitar, some of which were published by Ricordi around 1810, others are in manuscript in several libraries. Moretti also published some Duets for guitar and piano and a Corrente (no opus number) for guitar and some works for piano and for voice and piano with the publisher Giovanni Pacini of Paris.

(Transl. M. Penny)

Works of L. Moretti

  1. Op. 2, GRAN SONATA (guitar)
  2. Op. 7, VARIAZIONI (guitar)
  3. Op. 8, VARIAZIONI (guitar)
  4. Op. 9, GRAN DUETTO (violin & guitar)
  5. Op. 10, TRE DUETTI FACILI (2 guitars)
  6. Op. 11, DUETTO (violin & guitar)
  7. Op. 12, TRE DUETTI (2 guitars)
  8. Op. 13, TRIO (violin, horn/v.llo e guitar)
  9. Op. 14, TRIO (violin, cello & guitar)
  10. Op. 15, TRIO (violin, violoncello e guitar)
  11. Op. 16, QUINTETTO (2 violins, viola, cello & guitar)
  12. Op. 17, DUETTO (flauto & guitar)
  13. Op. 18, DUETTO (violin & guitar)
  14. Op. 21, SEI CAVATINE (voice & guitar)
  15. CORRENTE (guitar)
  16. DUETTO (guitar & pianoforte)
  17. DUETTO (guitar & pianoforte)
  18. DUETTO CONCERTATO (two guitars)
  19. GRAN DUETTO CONCERTATO (violin & guitar)
  20. OUVERTURE (guitar)
  21. OUVERTURE (2 guitars)
  22. RIDUZIONE D'OPERA (voice & guitar)
  23. VARIAZIONI (guitar)
  24. VARIAZIONI (guitar)

Bibliographic notes

Franco Poselli, "Federico Moretti e il suo ruolo nella storia della chitarra" in il Fronimo IV, p. 11-19.