Johann Kaspar Mertz
Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806 – 1856) was a guitarist and composer from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Mertz was active in Vienna, nearly a generation after the great Mauro Giuliani was there. He was a virtuoso performer on the instrument and toured as far east as Russia. In 1846 Mertz was diagnosed with neuralgia and nearly died from an overdose of strychnine, which was prescribed to treat his nerve pain.
Mertz’s most important works are Bardenklänge Op. 13, written in 1847, Elegie, and Fantasie Hongroise (one of the Trois Morceaux Op. 65, first published in 1857). Especially in the Bardenklange, Mertz adopts a piano-influenced style borrowed from the likes of Mendelssohn, Schubert, and Schumann. Mertz also famously arranged six of Schubert’s songs for solo guitar in this same style (6 Schubert’sche Lieder).