Napoléon Coste: Composer and Guitarist in the Musical Life of 19th-Century Paris (digital edition)

Napoléon Coste: Composer and Guitarist in the Musical Life of 19th-Century Paris (digital edition)

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Biography, Coste's life and works.

Born in 1805 as the son of an officer in the Napoleonic army, Coste went to Delfzijl, Holland with his father as a child of 8. In 1813 the French withdrew from this fortress, passing the Zuiderzee and the Rhine. Later, he would dedicate his Souvenirs to these places. He grew up in Valenciennes, where he already developed musical activities. In December 1828 he settled in Paris and made his career, giving concerts, lessons and composing. He studied harmony and counterpoint with Sor. As a member of the Société académique des Enfants d'Apollon he played in its concerts, most notably in 1843 with his Le Tournoi in the Salle du Conservatoire. He also became a member of the Freemasons lodge and participated in a concert in 1852. He entered his most important works in the Makaroff guitar competition in Brussels in 1856, where he took second prize with Grande Sérénade. Back in Paris he continued his activities but had to take an administrative job in order to support himself. He married his pupil Louise Olive Pauilhé in 1871, after the German invasion. He injured his left shoulder in 1873, just as he had in 1863. Nevertheless he continued to give concerts up to 1880, when he could no longer play due to the extreme cold that winter. A year later he was struck by a 'cerebral congesture'. He died on 14 January 1883 and was buried at the Cimetière de Montmartre.

This biography is the retail edition of the narrative part of the English translation of Ari van Vliet's dissertation upon the subject, which is reviewed as such: 

 "...which must be the definitive work on the influential and important French composer." – Classical Guitar, Summer 2016

"... impressive two-volume tome... detailed, heavily illustrated biography, extensive analysis of 45 of his works for solo guitar." – Classical Guitar, Winter 2016

"It is the magisterial modern biography that Napoléon Coste and the guitar have deserved." – Soundboard Scholar, 2017

(Ari van Vliet, 340 pages, digital edition includes cover art, does NOT include CD)

The CD included with the print edition may be purchased separately through CD Baby.


The Author 

Ari van Vliet is a guitarist and a musicologist and features in guitar concerts that are issued on compact discs and in monographies, articles and lectures upon the guitar, its music and composers in scholarly magazines, publications and congresses. He started his professional career as a guitarist at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, where he studied with his teacher and friend Antonio Pereira Arias, with whom he developed his interpretation in the lyrical style. This is evident in his many programs with Spanish and Latin-American music for guitar solo. His study of musicology at Utrecht University resulted in a thesis upon the musical styles in baroque music for the guitar. Also in Utrecht he achieved his PhD with a biography of Napoléon Coste, of which a concert in the Dom in Utrecht was a part. 


  • Prélude - Biography
  • Introduction – Preliminary History 1754-1805
  • II Caprice – Birth and Childhood 1805-1814
  • III Théme Varié – Youth 1815-1828
  • Intermezzo I – Paris, Musical Life Around 1828
  • IV Aux Parisiens – The Early Period, Paris 1829-1839
  • Souvenirs – Development, Paris 1840-1855
  • VI Grande Sérénade – The Makaroff Competition, Brussels 1856
  • Intermezzo II – Paris, Musical Life Around 1856
  • VII Études de Genre – Composer and Guitarist, Paris 1857-1872
  • VIII Divagation – The Final Years, Paris 1873-1883
  • IX Finale – Conclusion
  • Appendices
  • Bibliographies
  • Illustrations
  • Index
  • The Author



Product CodeDGA-203-ebook
Product TypeDigital Edition - download only

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