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Thread: Carlo Munier

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Aug 2007
    Ferrara - Italy

    Default Carlo Munier

    Dear mandolin friends I have started this thread to highlight the figure of Carlo Munier.
    In the last years I have studied some of Munierís music and I have appreciated it a lot.
    So the decision to collect the pieces and make a monographic CD with a guitar player friend of mine.
    From this the impulse to expand my knowledge on his live.
    So I have discovered the link wilth Vinaccia family, a very simple link, indeed his mother is Rosa Vinaccia as stated on the his birth certificate.

    I have put an entry with the Munier biography on wikipedia both in English and in Italian.

    Munier en wiki
    Munier ita wiki

    I indicate you also the recorded cd build on music for mandolin and guitar and solo guitar.
    Carlo Munier mandolin and guitar CD


  2. #2

    Default Re: Carlo Munier

    Nice project Stefano. I studied all of Munier (all that was available at the time) with Albert Bellson (Balsonne di San Angelo prov. Napoli), scores of which I bought from Pettine at the end of his life. In many ways I find his music and studies equal to Calace and, though dated stylistically, still enjoyable to our modern ears. Needless to say, Carlo must have played on Vinaccia's instruments. He could have done worse .

  3. #3
    Registered User Alex Timmerman's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    The Netherlands

    Default Re: Carlo Munier

    Hi Stefano,

    Very nice that you and your guitarist Mr. Franco Sartori have made a record of the music of Carlo Munier, indeed one of the greatest among the mandolinists and composers for the mandolin of the Golden Area. And congrats with your research and the article in Wikipedia!

    Thanks and best greetings from Holland,


  4. #4
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    Aug 2007
    Ferrara - Italy

    Default Re: Carlo Munier


    thanks for your posts.

    About the instrument used by Munier I have no documentation but I think that it could not be other than Vinaccia!

    I not agree at all that his music is dated stylistically, much of the work is left to the musicians interpretation; I think that the music can not be simply played as written.
    I have found Munier music full of energy and full of great spur for a current interpretation.

    About the Munier Wiki any update or correction is appreciated.
    I know that this forum is full of expert biographer (best greetings also to you Alex!!).


  5. #5

    Default Re: Carlo Munier

    Of course Stefano, interpretation, imagination ... always! But the writing has little to do with the past 30-50 years in music. To be honest, I much prefer to play Munier than most of the recent compositions, but here too we must use are skills and creativity to make the most of the score. It's just easier with a composer like Munier .

  6. #6
    Michael Reichenbach
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Freiburg Germany

    Default Re: Carlo Munier

    The 1914 Edition of P.J. Bone "The Guitar and Mandolin" is availble without copyright at It contains the following entry about Carlo Munier:

    Munier, Carlo, born in Naples, the home of the mandolin,
    July 15, 1859, and died in Florence, February 10, 1911. Munier
    stands at the head of all composers, performers, and writers for the
    mandolin of any period, an inspired artist in every department of
    musical art, a colossus who towers above the mightiest, and whose
    genius is justly recognised wherever the instrument is played or
    known. It would seem as if fate had predestined him the musical
    genius who was to uplift the mandolin and had decreed and
    prepared his advent for several previous generations. Munier
    inherited his profound love of the mandolin from his ancestors who
    were engaged in its construction and improvement for more than a
    century, and figuratively speaking, he was born with a mandolin in
    his hands. He was grand nephew of the celebrated Pasquale
    Vinaccia of Naples, the perfector of the modern Italian mandolin.
    The name of Vinaccia is emblazoned amongst the most exhalted of
    the world's stringed instrument makers, and it was the inventive
    genius of this member of the family — born July 20, 1806 in Naples,
    and died there in 1882 — that gave the instrument its steel strings
    and consequent machine head, who extended the compass of its
    fingerboard and enlarged and improved the tonal capabilities and
    qualities of the instrument. Previous to this date, the mandolin
    was of smaller dimensions, its sound hole was circular, similar to
    that of the guitar, the bridge was a short narrow strip of ivory,
    and the body was rather smaller, being composed of from fifteen to
    twenty narrow fluted ribs. Its strings were of gut, similar to those
    of the violin ; they were tuned in pairs by ebony, or ivory pegs, and
    the compass of the instrument was very limited, the fingerboard
    possessing usually twelve frets. The instruments of this period
    were decorated elaborately, their necks being veneered with
    tortoiseshell inlaid with strips of ivory, and a triangular design in
    tortoiseshell and pearl was inlaid on the table between the bridge
    and tailpins. The mandolin of to-day is the legacy of Pasquale
    Vinaccia, whose portrait is reproduced, and Munier was grand-
    nephew of this instrument maker and nephew of the celebrated
    present day mandolin makers, the brothers Gennaro and Achille
    Vinaccia who are honoured by the royal appointment of mandolin
    makers to the Court of Italy.

    If heredity is to be considered, there is no surprise then that
    Munier devoted his entire life to the uplifting and advancement of
    the mandolin — it was an innate love for the instrument that led
    and shaped his whole career. His immediate relatives were
    practical and theoretical artists on the instrument, and everything
    in his childhood's environments appertained to the mandolin — its
    manufacture, its performers, its study, and when with these
    circumstances we combine the rare musical genius of the man,
    it is easily understood how he became in time universally
    recognised as the greatest musical authority on the instrument.
    Young Munier commenced serious study of the mandolin in Naples,
    under Carmine de Laurentiis, a reputed mandolinist and guitarist,
    and the author of a method for the mandolin, which is founded
    upon an excellent system, and contains progressive studies most
    admirable in their conception, (see Laurentiis) Carlo Munier
    made wonderful progress under Laurentiis, and after a time
    commenced the study of the guitar also, under the same master,
    who laid the foundation of a correct system of mechanism, and it
    was left to Munier's genius to strike out original paths in his
    advancement. At the age of fifteen he studied the piano under
    Galiero and Cesi, both of whom enjoyed enviable reputations in
    Naples, and with D'Arienzo, Munier studied harmony and

    He was nineteen years of age when he quitted the Conservatoire
    of S'Pietro d'Maiella, having succeeded in obtaining the first prize
    for composition, and the second for harmony, and at this time he
    appeared in many concerts in Naples, and published his first
    compositions, arrangements of Traviata and Puritani for quartets
    of two mandolins, mandola and piano. These were the first
    compositions published for this combination of instruments, the
    second of which was dedicated to Her Majesty The Queen of
    Italy. In 1881 when he was twenty-two years of age, Munier
    removed to Florence, and he lived here the greater part of his life,
    being actively engaged as a composer and professor of the mandolin
    and guitar in the most select musical institutions of Florence.
    Munier organised in 1890 the first plectrum quartet, with Luigi
    Bianchi and Guido Bizzari first and second mandolins, Riccardo
    Matini, mandola, and himself director and lute, and this quartet,
    each member a thorough musician and artist on his respective
    instrument, gave many performances throughout Italy, being
    received with great enthusiasm, and they did much to popularise
    this combination of instruments. In 1892 they obtained the first
    prize in the International Music Contests of Genoa, when Munier
    himself was awarded the gold medal as mandolinist and composer.
    From the year 1890 until his death, Munier was engaged with his
    quartet in concert work, and he has left several compositions of
    sterling merit written for this combination. He was a member of
    the Royal Circolo Mandolinisti Regina Margherita in Florence,
    under the direction of the esteemed and venerable mandolinist,
    Bertucci, and for a period Munier officiated as conductor of this
    royal mandolin society.

    On June 30, 1902, at a concert given by the royal band, Munier's
    quartet rendered several of his own compositions before a select
    musical audience, when they were accorded an ovation. He was
    ever striving for the advancement of the mandolin, and on
    October 6, 1909, performed by royal command in the historic castle
    of Sommariva-Perno. Munier's solos were his Prelude in D major
    and his First mazurka de concert, and immediately upon the
    conclusion of the performance, His Majesty Victor Emmanuel III
    rose to greet him, shook him by the hand most cordially, warmly
    congratulated him upon his marvellous execution, and dilated on
    beautiful effects of which the mandolin was capable. Munier as a
    virtuoso on the mandolin appeared frequently in his native land, but
    he did not perform to any extent in other lands. He contributed
    literary articles to the music journals, and was honoured upon many
    occasions by being appointed an adjudicator in musical contests,
    both in Italy and other European countries. He was held in the
    highest esteem by musicians of Florence, and upon his suggestion
    the Mandolin Band of Cremona gave a concert in the Royal
    Conservatoire of Music of Florence to demonstrate the possibilities
    of their instruments. This concert took place in 1910 before a large
    concourse of the leading musicians of the city and proved an artistic
    success. In the spring of 1911, Munier made a visit to Antwerp,
    and on his homeward journey spent a few days in Marseilles in the
    company of his friend — the mandolinist Fantauzzi. Two months
    previous they had been officiating in the Mandolin Contest of
    Cremona, and now they recalled with gratification the advancement
    made in the instrument and its music, Munier spoke of his plans
    for the future, of organising an imposing concert and recital in
    Florence ; but man proposes and God disposes, for in a very few
    weeks he was suddenly called to the sphere from whence none
    return. He died after a short illness in Florence, February 10, 1911,
    at the age of fifty-two years, and the following notice appeared in the
    music journals : —

    " It is with the profoundest regret that we record the death of the
    greatest mandolin artist and composer of our times, the renowned
    Carlo Munier. The whole mandolin world will miss him greatly.
    It can ill afford to lose its most sincere, devoted and illustrious
    champion. Cut off in the prime of life, in the midst of his noble
    and successful work, we silently mourn our loss. Conscientiously
    and persistently had he devoted himself to the serious and classic
    side of the welfare of the mandolin, and as a true artist, trickery in
    playing or composition was to him abomination, as an enemy to
    the advancement of the mandolin. He is gone — it is a staggering,
    severe, and sad blow to all sincere students of the instrument — but
    his work will live. His many compositions, known and admired
    by mandolinists throughout the wide world — studies, solos, duos,
    trios, quartets and compositions for mandolin band — form a colossal
    monument that cannot perish ; they will delight future generations
    and bear testimony to his mighty genius and noble inspirations.
    As I write, I see before me his last letters, full of hope for the
    future concerning the success of the mandolin — his life's ambition,
    nay, his very life itself. Two of his latest overtures for mandolin
    band, I see also, works that emanate from serious musicians only.
    He leaves a widow, Armida, and two daughters Eliviraand Louise,
    with the whole world of mandolin players to mourn their loss."

    (continued in next post)
    Homepage: / Blog: / Freiburg / Germany

  7. #7
    Michael Reichenbach
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Freiburg Germany

    Default Re: Carlo Munier

    His admirers from all parts of the world subscribed through the
    medium of a Milanese music journal, and a bronze shield suitably
    inscribed was erected to his memory. Munier, who was a man of
    superior education and attainments, and a versatile linguist, wrote
    concerning his early study of the instrument : " At the beginning
    I confess I did not think the mandolin capable of such advancement,
    and I excluded from my repertoire a number of pieces that I
    believed impossible of execution ; but I thought, studied and worked,
    then wrote my method, my studies, solos, duos, caprices, trios,
    quartets, etc., and I became so proficient that I could then execute
    what I had previously considered impossible. They became clear,
    easy of execution, and in fact trifling as compared with other
    difficulties." Munier was a prolific composer — he had published
    considerably over three hundred and fifty works previous to his
    death — many remain unpublished. With few exceptions, such as
    a trio for mandolin, violoncello and piano, and several songs, his
    compositions are for the mandolin or guitar. His quartets written
    in the orthodox style of four movements, for two mandolins, mandola
    and lute, were the first of the kind published, and they are Op. 76,
    123 and 203. Op. 76, the first of these quartets was performed by
    the plectrum quartet " Fiorentino," of which Munier was the
    leader, in the Sala Philharmonica, Florence, and published in 1903
    by Forlivesi & Co. ; but the most classic of his quartets is that in
    G, the Quasi adagio and Minuetto are inspirations, while its fugue
    is most ingeniously w T orked out ; Lo Scioglidita, four volumes of
    progressive studies and a volume of twenty studies are among the
    most advanced exercises written for the instrument, and of the
    same degree of excellence are the duos for two mandolins of which
    there are several volumes published by Carisch & Janichen, Milan,
    and Maurri, Florence. Munier wrote also for the guitar, and all
    his compositions denote the cultivated musician and abound with
    graceful melody characteristic of the Italian school. In his Love
    song, Op. 275, dedicated to Samuel Adelstein, San Francisco,
    Munier opened new possibilities and effects for the mandolin as an
    unaccompanied solo instrument. He was the author of a Method
    for the mandolin, Op. 197 in two volumes and numerous studies,
    exercises, and duos for two mandolins, which deserve to be more
    widely adopted.

    This text was copied from the text version from Several versions including pdf are available.

    The first volume of Muniers mandolin method and the first volume of Lo Scioglidita (which I got from Richard Walz) is available for download on my homepage. I have planned to add more in the future when I find time to scan / typeset.

    Stefano - I will support this project if I can. I think this nessage board is good place to make this kind of information available.
    Homepage: / Blog: / Freiburg / Germany

  8. #8
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    Aug 2007
    Ferrara - Italy

    Default Re: Carlo Munier

    Thanks mandoisland for writing on this thread.

    P. J. Bone is one of the sources that I have used to write the wiki.
    It is in the bibliography at the end of the wiki.


  9. #9
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    Dec 2002

    Default Re: Carlo Munier

    I just ordered your new CD from CD baby!

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