I ran across this item again the other day. It’s an unusual article in The Cadenza from 1895 – a then-current letter (translated) from the widow of J. K. Mertz, the eminent European guitarist/composer who often used and wrote for the 10-string harp guitar (4 floating basses). It’s not particularly revealing, other than providing a list of some of Mertz’s elite audiences; in fact, that seems to be his widow’s focus, with scant biographical or musical information. They are also memories of many decades earlier. Still, it’s an interesting find, and something I thought I should share in case Mertz scholars are unaware of it. No mention is made of the 10-string, nor winning (posthumously) the competition prize in the famed 1856 Makarov competition in Brussels (for a 10-string piece). I thought to post it now, as this year at the Harp Guitar Gathering, we’ll have a special guest, Brian Torosian of Chicago, performing some of Mertz’s finest music on a reproduction 10-string Scherzer guitar.
For Further Reading: