Regondi, Giulio (DNB00)

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REGONDI, GIULIO (1822–1872), guitarist and concertina-player, was, according to his own account, born at Geneva in 1822. His earliest recollections dated from Lyons, where he lived with a man whom he regarded as his father, a teacher of languages, who had been professor at the gymnasium in Milan in 1822. During this period at Lyons Regondi, who early showed great aptitude for music, was compelled, by being locked in his room, to practice five hours daily on the guitar, and he advanced so rapidly that his father, yielding to the advice of a Dr. Young, took him to all the principal European courts, excepting that of Spain, before he was ten years old. The pair arrived in England in June 1831, and some time was passed in Dublin, where Regondi became friendly with Mrs. Hemans, who in 1834 wrote a poem about him (cf. Musical World, 1872, p. 334). In 1841 Regondi made a concert-tour with the violoncellist, Josef Liedel, which culminated in six very successful concerts at Vienna, Regondi himself playing an instrument described as a melophone (cf. Hanslick, Geschichte des Concertwesens, Vienna, 1869, p. 341).

Five years later Regondi again toured abroad, now with Madame Dulcken, the pianist; but after his return he seems never to have quitted England again. An accomplished linguist, and capable of becoming a fine player on any instrument, he was the first to devote serious attention to the concertina, and is said to have shown Sir Charles Wheatstone [q. v.], its patentee, the complete capabilities of the instrument. For it Regondi wrote two concertos, and Molique wrote another for him. Regondi also arranged for it an enormous mass of music. His piece, ‘Les Oiseaux,’ enjoyed a great vogue. He also published a concertina ‘Tutor’ and a ‘New Method,’ Dublin, 1857. Regondi died in London on 6 May 1872, after a long period of ill health. He was buried at Kensal Green.

[Musical World, 1872, pp. 315, 345; Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung, 1846, p. 853; Brit. Mus. Catalogues, and authorities quoted in the text.]

R. H. L.