Philip J. Bone: The Guitar and Mandoline

Biographies of Celebrated Players and Composers


Molitor, Simon J., born November 3, 1766, at Neckarsulm, Wurtemburg and died February 21, 1848, in Vienna. He was taught the violin and guitar by his father, Johann Michael, continuing under the Abbe Vogler and became one of Vienna's most esteemed guitarist-musicians. From 1796 - 7 he was orchestral conductor in Venice and the year following was employed in the war office of Vienna and later promoted superintendent of the Italian and Dalmatian borders. He retired on pension in 1831, returned to Vienna and devoted himself entirely to music. From the age of nineteen he had essayed composition and also while a clerk in the war office, writing string quartets, songs with the guitar and violin and piano duos. In 1799 he collaborated with the guitarist, Klingenbrunner in the compilation of a Guitar Method. W riting of the Lyre-guitar, in 1806 - which was at the time a popular novelty - Molitor said : "The new Lyre, which a few years ago appeared in France - the ordinary guitar constructed in the form of the ancient lyre - is a welcome sight to lovers of the beautiful forms of antiquity . Its tone, though stronger than that of the guitar on account of a larger body, is nevertheless dull and as though held back within the instrument." Molitor's guitar method was published in French and Italian by the Chemical Printing Works, Vienna (the firm who issued Beethoven"s Op. 8, the Polonaise from the Serenade in D, for violin and guitar). Molitor's published compositions, many and varied, are Concertos for violin, clarinet, string quartets, piano, guitar and vocal works. Op. 7, lO, 11, 12 and 15 are Guitar Solos; Op. 3 and 5, Duos for violin and guitar ; Op. 6, Trio for flute, alto and guitar. Many of his compositions appeared without opus number, including a Funeral March composed on the death of his friend the guitarist F. Tandler also Six Landler and Collections of solos for guitar. Goll of Vienna issued new editions of his works and in 1919 published the treatise Simon Molitor and Viennese Guitarists, by the guitar writer, Dr. Zuth.