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La Rive Étrangère

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.

La Rive Étrangère by Herz is number ten from Recreations Musicales. The first Google-hit on this title leads to an aria from Guglielmo Tell by Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868). Quite well possible, given the custom of arranging popular opera arias in those days.

Carcassi’s arrangement has three sections, an Introduction to get started, a Romance that probably represents the aria and a Polonaise as a conclusion that requires well designed fingering to maintain speed.