A Guitarist Without a Country

sor

Every weekday at 10:30am I play what I call a “guitar pick.” It’s a work featuring the guitar. It can be as a solo instrument, in a chamber setting or with orchestra. One of the works I featured was L’encouragement by Fernando Sor.

Fernando Sor (pictured), a Spaniard, was born into a military family. Although he, too, joined the military Sor become more interested in music as he got older. He first became interested in music after his father took him to the opera. The interest grew, but his parents wanted him to concentrate on his Latin studies. Sor convinced them of his love of music by writing songs in Latin as set to his own unique music notation (He hadn’t seen standard sheet music yet).

Before he wrote for guitar, the instrument was used manly in taverns. But Sor started writing serious salon and concert pieces for the guitar. After a failed attempt to work in France, Sor settled in England. Most guitarists could not play the intricate works Sor composed, so he had to be his own music’s chief exponent. He eventually lived in Russia and then back in France at the end of his career. He taught a new generation his guitar techniques, securing his works in the repertoire for decades to come.

Edvard Grieg – Lyric Pieces – Peter Fletcher
Leonhard von Call – Sonata for Guitar no 2 in a minor, Op. 22
Fernando Sor – L’encouragement, Op. 34 – Julian Bream and John Williams
Domenico Scarlatti – Sonata, K.319 – Fabio Zaban

This week’s ukulele pick is my friend Ian Emmerson who…well, you just have to watch.

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