Digital resources for French Romantic music

Grande Sonate for guitar op.12 (Antoine de Lhoyer)




Allegro moderato – Andante con variazione


Published by August Böhme in 1799, the earliest surviving work of Antoine de Lhoyer dates from the very beginning of his period of exile in Hamburg. After this, the composer wrote virtually no more solo music for his own instrument, and we can guess the primary purpose of this sonata in G major: it was to serve, so to speak, as a visiting card to apprise the German public of his great mastery of the five-string guitar, recruit pupils, and obtain engagements in a city he barely knew. So this ‘grand sonata’ is written in a decidedly demonstrative mode: arpeggios, rapid scales, figuration requiring agility in the left hand, complex formulas in the right hand, and so on. The full range of technical skills of the time is assembled here in the service of a deceptively simple work. Moreover, the two-movement structure recalls the repertory of the Paris concerts of the late eighteenth century and its ‘new trade in virtuosity’, to borrow a phrase from Alexandre Dratwicki. But demonstrating his savoir-faire is not Lhoyer’s only object: he also aims to charm a new public, to which end, in the second movement, he presents variations on a fashionable tune. The melody in question is the Tyrolean song A Schüsserl und a’ Rein’dl, the long popularity of which is also attested by the use made of it by Carl Maria von Weber (Variations for viola and orchestra in C major J49, 1806) and Ludwig van Beethoven (no.3 of the Six themes variés for piano and flute or violin op.105, 1818).

    Person - 1
  • LHOYER, Antoine de (1768-1852)
  • Theme - 1
  • Strings – The guitar in the nineteenth century