Fernando Sor (1778-1839)
Fernando Sor, one of the great figures in the
history of the guitar, was an all-round musician and composer.
Although he was acknowledged in his lifetime as a fine performer
("Sor ... who is known to be the most perfect guitarist in
the world", wrote Ebers in London), he was not associated
with that instrument as strongly as was, for example, Giuliani.
He had been a chorister at the monastery of Montserrat (near
Barcelona), where he received an education in church music and
composition and in orchestral playing, and later in life he
composed music not only for the guitar but also for voice,
piano, orchestra, etc.
TITLES IN TECLA:
sobre Fernando Sor (Sor Studies) ed. Gásser, containing 31
articles on Sor, now reprinted
Piano solo pieces by Sor, in
an edition from Spain (from another publisher)
Overture to Alphonse et Léonore,
by Sor, for orchestra, in an edition from Spain; and
three Simfonias by Sort.
A CD from Barcelona
(available from Tecla although not produced by us): Sor- Violin Concerto.
A short article on Sor,
teaching, and the Enlightenment.
Until 1813 (when he was 35) he lived entirely
in Spain. He composed seguidillas
there for voice and guitar (some with piano), symphonies,
operas, and some guitar music such as the famous sonata now
known as Grand Solo, op. 14. He fought in the war in Spain 1808 to
1814 and was the principal composer of military and political
songs in that war, of which t best known are "Venid, vencedores" and "Vivir en
cadenas". A big new discovery is "Corone la victoria", a song by Sor
celebrating the Spanish victory at the Battle of Bailén in 1808 for
chorus of four voices, wind and strings, of which I have made a
score and which was performed at Bailén itself in
After a brief stay in Paris in 1813, Sor
settled in London where he published his marvellous and justly
celebrated set of studies now known as op. 6, the Variations on
a Theme of Mozart, and many other works such as Italian Arietts for voice and
piano. A journey to Moscow followed and Sor then spent the rest
of his life in Paris. He became a teacher of the guitar and it
was there that he composed the many works for beginners on the
guitar - opp. 31, 35, and 60 - which have been called the finest
works ever written for beginners on the instrument. I published
all his studies and works for beginners in a modern re-engraved
edition called Sor's Complete
Studies, Lessons, and Exercises (Tecla 101), and also the
English translation of his Method.
Sor's reputation has rested on his guitar
music, and my new re-engraved critical edition, the New Complete Works for guitar in
eleven volumes, is now available. The facsimile edition in nine
volumes, the Complete Works for
guitar published by Tecla (reprints of the original
editions), has been a standard edition for the last twenty
years. The biography of Sor can be read in my book Fernando Sor, Composer and
Guitarist, and his Seguidillas
and Seguidillas Book 2 are
also available. A new publication November 2002: Italian songs
which he composed in London, The
Complete Italian Arietts etc.
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Copyright 2011 by Tecla Editions. Errors
and omissions excepted.