Matteo Carcassi (1796 – 1853) was an Italian composer and guitarist who was born in Florence in 1796 and died in Paris in 1853. It appears that he settled in Paris from a relatively young age and it became his new home. In fact, Carcassi even served France as a soldier in the Napoleonic Wars. His first publications, for the solo guitar, were published in the 1820s.
Carcassi’s most important publication, however, was his Méthode complète pour la Guitare (Op. 59) in 1836. In it he announces the publication of “études Op. 60,” which would follow publication after the method. However, it appears this latter book was not published until either shortly before or shortly after Carcassi’s death in 1853. Brian Jeffrey includes a great deal of historical information about Carcassi and his etudes in his Tecla edition of the works.
The French title of the Op.60 set of etudes is 25 Etudes Mélodiques Progressives, or 25 Melodic and Progressive Studies. Thus, each etude is progressively more difficult than the previous. Each etude focuses on a different technical and/or musical element. Some focus on left-hand slurs, others on the barre, still others focus on scales or arpeggios, and some develop musical suspensions or dynamics. The etudes conclude with an exciting virtuosic piece (No. 25) that brings all of these elements together in a showstopper. The contrasting nature of each of the etudes means they work quite well when performed as a collection, but each also stands alone in its own right.
Learn much more about Carcassi’s 25 Etudes, Op.60 in our Composer Showcase here.