Johann Dubez (1828-1891) was a Viennese musician of some renown in his time who began his musical activities as a violinist. He studied the guitar with Johann Kaspar Mertz, and probably also with Giulio Regondi during the latter’s visit to Vienna in1841. Later in life he adopted the harp and the zither and published a considerable number of compositions for these instruments. Although he had written quite extensively for the guitar, he only published during his life time two of his guitar works, the present Fantaisie on Hungarian Themes, and a Fantaisie on themes from Donizetti’s Lucia de Lammermoor. The Bojie Collection in Stockholm holds several autograph manuscripts of other guitar pieces by Dubez.
This composition is based on melodies from the opera Hunyadi Laszló by Ferenc Erkel (1810-1893), interspersed with popular arrangements of traditional verbunkos themes, also by Erkel. The csárdás movement (the Andante sections on pp. 3 and 9) is particularly emotive of the style hongrois, as is the Rákóczi March. Dubez’ elaboration of this famous theme, seems to be a straight transcription of the 1840 piano arrangement of it by Erkel which could very well have been the source forBerlioz’ and Liszt’s adaptations of the Rákóczi March. Of particular significance is the closing chorus, “Dead is the Intriguer,” from Act I of Hunyadi Laszló, already presented in the Overture to the opera. It is developed here by Dubez in several challenging variations.