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Cavatina de Carafa

Henri Herz / Arr. Matteo Carcassi

The pianist and composer Henri Herz (1803 - 1888) was a celebrity in the nineteenth century. He was best known as piano virtuoso, which did not restrain him with composing a considerable repertoire for piano-solo, paino-quatremains and ensemble. His solo works for a large part follows the trend of the nineteenths century, opera arrangements like Rigoletto and folk-song arrangements like The Last Rose of Summer.

Henri Herz also became famous because of his love affair with Esther Lachmann (1819 - 1884), nicknamed La Paive and one of the best known courtesans and femme fatales of the nineteenth century. She mainly hunted rich and wealthy men and was quite successful in doing so. Herz immediately went for her, which provided her with access to his bank account. Just before his impending bankruptcy, however, the family intervened and threw her out of the house. She quickly found a new victim indeed! The only consolation for Herz’ cultural scene was that she established a salon that became a meeting place for the artistic elite.

Possibly Matteo Carcassi had the fame of Herz in the back of his mind when he wrote guitar arrangements on the piano works by Herz in his Recreations Musicales.

Cavatina de Carafa by Herz is number nine from Recreations Musicales. As I found it, the name Carafa seem to bear relationship with Michele Carafa de Colobrano (1787-1872), a relatively famous opera composer from the nineteenth century, at elast he was famous in his days. Probably the Cavatina originates from the opera La Somnabula.

An operatic Introduction leads to a Rondino with variations. The piece sounds a bit march-like, but its rhythmic variations enable change of tempo and colours.