Tag: France

mandolin methods

Ferdinando de Cristofaro – The Famous Mandolin Method and…

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:

Mandolin Serenade – Sérénade de Mandolines – Classical Mandolin

aa mandolin guitar

Joseph Rico – The famous Neapolitan Composer

Joseph Rico (1876-1957) was a composer from Napoli at the beginning of the 20th century who is famous for his slow waltzes. But he has also published a series of collections for the mandolin. I do possess 5 books with compositions for the mandolin by Joseph Rico and I have just made a video with one of the pieces.

When I played through one of the books a piece named Schottisch Indiscrète was the one that I liked immediately. A Schottisch is a dance similar to a Poka, and is also seen as a predecessor of the Ragtime. I have added photos of the mandolin books by Joseph Rico in my video.

La Mandoline en France – Joseph Rico – Schottisch Indiscrète

Eternel Souvenir – Joseph Rico – Romance Sans Paroles

One of the most famous compositions by Joseph Rico is the slow waltz J’ai tant pleuré, which was very successfull in 1907. This composition is also contained in one of the mandolin books that I own. There are several videos of the original versions of this song at youtube.

Bérard – J’ai tant pleuré – 1907 (Belle Epoque)

J’ai tant pleuré (J. Rico)
(Valse Chantée)
(avec accompagnement d’Orchestre)
Mr. Bérard
de l’Eldorado, Paris

Disque Odéon, chanson n° 60518
ca. 1907

Encore une chanson d’Adolphe Bérard, mais j’aime beaucoup ce chanteur. D’abord parce qu’il a une voix qu’on reconnait tout de suite, et aussi pour les chansons qu’il chante. Ici, c’est une chanson mélodramatique, une valse typique de la Belle Epoque, et un énorme succès en 1907 (à un tel point que 50 plus tard, “J’ai tant pleuré” était encore enregistré par Réda Caire et André Dassary!). Cette valse a été enregistré par Dickson, mais la version enregistré la plus connue est sans doute celle de Bérard, qui date de 1907/1908. Un des succès de Bérard dans son registre “chanteur de charme”. L’autre face du disque est aussi un succès, c’est “Gaby”, encore plus mélodramatique!

Marjal “J’ai tant pleuré”

Valse Belle époque crée par Dickson en 1907. L’interprétation de Marjal est plus récente (!!!) bien entendu. Des infos sur Marjal??? Dur dur…. sinon qu’il a beaucoup enregistré les tubes des autres.

Now a modern version of this song by a singer who calles himself Wanderratten – maybe a little bit to fast:

J’ai tant pleuré pour toi

In 2003 a CD with compositions by Joseph Rico was produced, a CD that I like very much. On the homepage http://www.josephricomusic.com/ you can listen to examples from this CD and find more information about Joseph Rico.

Joseph Rico is also connected to the Rico company which is the biggest producer of reeds for saxophone and clarinet today, he sent high quality reeds from France to the USA where his brother had started to sell reeds in the USA.

Links about Joseph Rico

Homepage: http://www.josephricomusic.com/

Informationen about Joseph Rico: http://www.delabelleepoqueauxanneesfolles.com/Rico.htm

favorite tunes

Espoirs Perdus – Speranze Perdute – The Famous Mandolin…

Last week I have got a bunch of old sheet music from France, including a book Mandoline-Album with six tunes composed by Alessandro Morelli. I played the tunes and I liked it immediately. When I tried to find out more about Alessandro Morelli I did not find much information about himself, but I found that one of his compositions – the last tune in my book Espoirs Perdus –  is very famous and played frequently by mandolin and especially ba accordeon players.

Alessandro Morelli must have been active in France, the pieces in his book are all dedicated to french musicienas and friends, this is the dedication of Espoirs Perdus:

A Mademoiselle Louise PAULUCCI Hommage

I have found the following historic recording of Speranze Perdute – this is the Italian titel of the tune – played by a quintet named Quintetto Spensierato, the melody is partially played by a mandolin:

Quintetto Spensierato – Speranze Perdute (Morelli) 1941

A good recording with mandolin and guitar by Egidio Faiella is available for download at: http://www.mandolinista.com/

The following duo plays with much energy, but for me the guitar player is much to straight and strong, but the mandolin player plays ok.

Speranze perdute

Un evergreen suonato con chitarra e mandolino dai fratelli Maione di Torre del Greco

Another recording form Italy with mandolin and guitar with three melodies, the second one is Speranze Perdute:

Due strimpellatori di paese, di Luigi Paternostro

One-step… paesano. Speranze perdute. Ritorno da Torino
Vincenzo Perrone alla chitarra, Luigi Paternostro al mandolino

And another one played with mandolin:

Speranze Perdute – u zu Giuvanni

Finally I have a typically French Musette version with accordeon, clarinet, banjo and piano – played by a Japanese group:


Playliste Speranze Perdute

Additional information about Speranze Perdute / Espoirs Perdus / Alessandro Morelli

The complete Mandoline-Album by Alessandro Morelli as PDF on my homepage on page free sheetmusic: www.mandoisland.de

Discussion about  Speranze Perdute in the Mandolin Cafe with links and free sheetmusic: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/showthread.php?61564-Speranze-Perdute&highlight=speranze+perdute