Junior Recital given at Saint Xavier University, Chicago (May 5, 2002).
Fernando Sor (1778-1839)
Minuet from Grande Sonata, Op. 22
J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
Suite in E minor, BWV 996:
Leo Brouwer (b. 1939)
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Sicilenne, from Pellèas et Melisande
Victoria Walters, Flute
Manuel Ponce (1882-1948)
Fernando Sor (1778-1839), Minuet from Grande Sonata, Op. 22
The musical style of Fernando Sor is the most refined of early nineteenth century guitarists/composers. He was one of the most prolific composers for the guitar of his day, and wrote in several genres with a very melodic style. His compositional output includes over 60 pieces for guitar solo and duet, a collection of etudes, a few dozen miscellaneous compositions, as well as a ballet and an opera. In all of his music, careful attention is paid to the form and texture, and his genius has led many critics to declare Sor the “Mozart of the guitar.” The Minuet is the third movement of Sor’s Grande Sonata, and is a typical minuet from the Classical era. This movement is in minuet and trio form, and makes use of the guitar’s “orchestral” ability to achieve a variety of timbres.
J. S. Bach (1685-1750), Suite in E minor, BWV 996:
While we do not know whether or not Johann Sebastian Bach played the lute or even was familiar with how it worked, we do know that he loved the sound it produced. At the time of Bach’s death, he owned two lautenweks, or lute-harpsichords. The lautenwerk resembled the harpsichord in construction, but produced a sound similar to that of the lute. A small portion of Bach’s compositional output is described as “lute works”, but this ascription is based on shaky premises. If this suite was not originally intended for the lute, it was probably written for the lautenwerk. This is further supported by the fact that the suite is in E minor, an ungrateful key to the lute. This transcription by Frank Koonce is for the modern guitar. The praeludio-presto is in the manner of a French overture, and is typical of a suite of this time period. The praeludio does not have a very strong sense of pulse and is very decorated, where as the presto is very metrical and uses very straightforward imitative polyphony, in the manner of a fugue. The following allemande is a good example of a typical Baroque dance. It is in binary form and each section begins with a sixteenth note pickup. The other movements of this suite all follow the typical French model, and are generously ornamented.
Leo Brouwer (b. 1939), Berceuse
Leo Brouwer is a Cuban guitarist and conductor, and is one of the most important composers for the guitar in the present day. Berceuse is an adaptation of a popular Cuban folk song that shows Brouwer’s nationalistic side, an important element in his music. Brouwer typically writes with a chromatic and dissonant harmonic vocabulary, but the Berceuse shows Brouwer’s versatility as a composer who can write equally as well within the constraints of functional harmony.
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), Sicilenne, from Pellèas et Melisande
Fauré was a romantic composer who wrote in a conservative style for his time period. Fauré composed in many different genres during his lifetime, and his small-scale chamber works are some of his most charming pieces. Sicilenne is incidental music originally for cello and piano that Fauré composed to accompany Maeterlinck’s play Pellèas et Melisande. In Sicilenne, Fauré uses fairly traditional and constant harmonies and makes frequent use of seventh and ninth chords. The dialogue between the flute and guitar is created by the use of dotted rhythms, sforzando, and legato phrasing.
Manuel Ponce (1882-1948), Sonatina Meridional
Like most of Ponce’s compositions for guitar, Sonatina Meridional was written for and edited by Andrés Segovia. Segovia and Ponce collaborated on much of Ponce’s music, and because Ponce was not a guitarist, Segovia’s suggestions often made the resulting music more idiomatic to the guitar. This performance will feature the version Segovia published, which includes Segovia’s fingerings and revisions. Sonatina Meridional is a very lyrical and expressive composition in the Spanish style, and it speaks with a fluent harmonic vocabulary.