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Johann Kaspar Mertz

Johann Kaspar Mertz

Johann Kaspar Mertz, perhaps more than any other Central European musician of his time, was associated with the guitar, both as a composer and performer. He was a virtuoso player of the first rank, regularly touring Europe to great acclaim, and an esteemed composer whose guitar works, most of which were transcriptions or arrangements of famous Classical pieces from opera, song, and other sources, are still highly regarded today. His best-known and admired original effort was Bardenklänge (1847), a two-part collection of pieces said to carry the spirit of Schumann, with echoes of works like Carnival and Kreisleriana. Among his better known transcriptions are the (6) Schubertian Songs (1845). While the works of Mertz have gained rightly deserved attention since the 1990s, they are mostly still far from standard-repertory status. But fortunately, a good portion of Mertz's better efforts have been widely available via recording in the past couple of decades.

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