Fernando Sor (1778-1839)

Fernando Sor, composer and 

I wrote what is now the standard biography of Fernando Sor: Fernando Sor, Composer and Guitarist, on which see below. Based on the research which I was able to do when I prepared that book, which included for the first time a detailed bibliography of all Sor's compositions, I have been able to prepare and to publish many works of his which you will find listed here below.  Among them are the New Complete Works for Guitar Solo and Guitar Duet in eleven volumes, and his Complete Studies, Lessons, and Exercises for guitar.  All of these editions are based on a re-examination of the original sources.  All of Sor's original fingering is preserved, for example, which is not the case with some other editions of this music which alter Sor's original fingering without saying that they are doing so.  The editions which are listed here on this page provide you with authenticity.

Brian Jeffery

For a short biography of Fernando Sor, see below on this page.

Fernando Sor: The Sixteen Easiest Pieces for guitar.  Ideal for beginners.

Fernando Sor: The Complete Studies, Lessons, and Exercises for guitar (TECLA 101). The standard edition of this music, now in its third printing, used worldwide.

Fernando Sor: The New Complete Works for Guitar Solo and Guitar Duet (new re-engraved edition, in eleven volumes)

The Complete Works for Guitar (facsimile edition, in nine volumes)

Variations on a Scottish Theme, op. 40

Fantaisie Elégiaque, op. 59

Seguidillas (for voice and guitar or piano)

Seguidillas Book 2 (for two or three voices and guitar or piano)

O Crux, ave spes unica(choral)

Mozart/Sor- Three arias from Don Giovanni, arranged with guitar accompaniment by Sor.

The Complete Italian Arietts etc.

The Appel des nègres aux français
Method for the Spanish Guitar

Fernando Sor, Composer and Guitarist, by Brian Jeffery

Estudios 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)

The 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.


A short biography of Fernando Sor

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.

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 June 2008.

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.

Brian Jeffery

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Copyright 2011 by Tecla Editions. Errors and omissions excepted.