Variaciones sobre el Carnaval de Venecia de Paganini (Tárrega, Francisco)

Sheet Music


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Rayya Tegar (2020/5/26)

Publisher. Info. Paris: E. Baudoux, n.d. Plate E. 1534 B.
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General Information

Work Title Variations on Carnival of Venice
Alternative. Title Variazoni sul Carnevale de Venezia
Composer Tárrega, Francisco
I-Catalogue NumberI-Cat. No. IFT 50
Key A major
Year/Date of CompositionY/D of Comp. 1894
Dedication Dr. Walter Leckie
Average DurationAvg. Duration 9 minutes
Composer Time PeriodComp. Period Romantic
Piece Style Romantic
Instrumentation guitar
Related Works Il carnevale di Venezia, Op.10, by Niccolò Paganini
Based on The Carnival of Venice

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Although Francisco Tarrega, the so-called father of the modern guitar, wrote many charming and beautifully constructed miniatures, his larger works were designed rather to impress the audiences in the salons that were his usual habitat. The Variaciones sobre el Carnaval de Venecia de Paganini are a monumental example of this enthusiastic, Tàrregean folksy streak: a sumptuous introduction, a well-known theme, seven jovial ornaments and a short finale, rolled up in a virtuosity that was the only weapon this virtuoso had available to make "refined" guitar music acceptable to a public for whom the guitar was an instrument played at country fairs and in taverns.

The work begins with strong octaves and sweeping downward arpeggios before a short Andantino section in Mendelssohnian mood prepares us for the main theme, the imminent entry of which is unannounced by a passage of descending demisemiquavers. The principal melody, written in 6/8, is a Venetian barcarole, and the first variation impresses the song more clearly on the listener. Then follow a number of variations (not always performed in the same manner as the printed score), deploying almost every technical device known to the guitar. These include rapid ligados, arpeggios, tremolo, glissandi, harmonics, and cantabile variations. Sometimes both the theme and its variations have been misinterpreted by the critics - this work is no pompous rhetorical statement but a lighthearted and witty demonstration of virtuosity, tongue in cheek, and an utterly delightful collaboration between artist and audience. (source: