Ferdinando de Cristofaro – The Famous Mandolin Method and an original Mandolin Pick from the 19th Century
Cristofaro – Methode de Mandoline (1884)
I have recently added the first part of the mandolin method by Ferdinando de Cristofaro as a free download to my homepage mandoisland. You can find information about Cristofaro in the famous book “The Guitar and Mandolin” by Ph. J. Bone entnommen, you can view or download this complete book from archive.org:
Here is the beginning of the text about Cristofaro:
Cristofaro, Ferdinando, de, born in Naples, the home of the mandolin, in 1846, died in Paris, April 18, 1890. The son of respectable parents in Naples, Cristofaro rose to be one of the most celebrated mandolin virtuosi of modern times. He received his musical education in the Conservatory of his native city, devoting himself to the study of the piano, and had his life been spared, his fame as a virtuoso on that instrument would have extended far beyond his achievements as a mandolinist. Cristofaro was entirely self-taught on the mandolin, and he soon distinguished himself by his performances on this instrument in Italy. To the Neapolitans, he introduced a new and completely advanced method of playing — accustomed as they were to hearing the instrument in the hands of strolling players, used more for accompanying popular songs than anything else — the classical compositions, executed by Cristofaro, caused unbounded enthusiasm, astonishment, and admiration. His fame spread rapidly throughout his native land, and after appearing with success in all the important cities, he was induced to visit Paris. It was in 1882 that he arrived in this city, where he was immediately recognised as the premier mandolinist of the day ; he won a widespread and enviable reputation, and as a teacher, his services were in constant demand by French aristocracy. During his residence in Paris, he appeared in public with the most prominent musicians of the time — M. Gounod, upon several occasions playing the pianoforte accompaniments to his solos. In 1888, Cristofaro visited London, and here he met with his usual success, and was sought in this city also as a teacher, and was appointed conductor of the " Ladies' Guitar and Mandolin Band." and later:Cristofaro was the author of a most com- prehensive and artistic method for the mandolin. It consists of two volumes, each being published in five languages: English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, and treats of the instrument fully, and is illustrated by numerous diagrams. It commences with the elements of the theory of music, and all the exercises are melodious and arranged with a definite object : they are well -graded and admirably suited for pupil and teacher,, as the majority are written as duets for two mandolins. Several of these studies deserve special notice for their beauty of melody and form, among such, we mention particularly, the Andante maestoso, Larghetto, Andante religioso, in double stopping, and Allegro giusto, style fugue, all in the second volume. The method was published in November, 1884, by Lemoine, Paris, and it had reached the twelfth edition previous to the death of of its author in 1890. Cristofaro had previously written a method for the mandolin when he was living in Naples, before he was thirty years of age, this being published in 1873, by Cottrau of that city.
The complete mandolin method (part 1) by Cristofaro is available for download on my homepage: http://www.mandoisland.de on page “Free Sheet Music” or also on “Mandolin Methods”
An original Mandolin Pick from the 19th Century!
After I had prepared the method for download I tried to find once again informations about Cristofaro with searching the internet – and I found one very interesting article. A collector of vintage guitar picks has bought some old picks from a seller in France.One of thepicks is stamed with “Cristofaro – Paris” which made him curious. He found the information about Ferdinado de Cristofaro (i guess that he got it from Bone’s book) which brought him to the conclusion that this pick must have been produce at the time when Cristofaro’s mandolin method was published, abd probably befor Cristofaro’s death – somtime between 1884 and 1990. This pick has been made from celluloid – so it may be the oldest pick made from celloloid.
You can find the complete post about the original Cristofaro mandolin pick here:
Cristofaro: The Oldest Pick?
Some time ago I have made a video of a Mandolin Serenade composed by Desormes and arranged for the mandolin by Cristofaro: