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Fernando Sor: Early Works / William Carter

Sor / Carter
Release Date: 02/01/2010 
Label:  Linn Records   Catalog #: 343  
Composer:  Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Enchanting, gorgeously coloured, deeply musical and wholly convincing.

Apart from the immaculate recording and the stylishness and technical address of the playing – these features are outstanding in themselves – this release opens up another remarkable vista or aural sound picture. This concerns the use of the finger tip, not the nail, in playing the guitar. As William Carter’s booklet note makes clear – it’s quite a quixotic note, fun to read and elucidatory in many ways – playing exclusively with the nail is something that has happened only within the last century. Previously there was selective use of the nail and tip. Sor ‘was a tip player’ and in a primer he wrote advised that ‘never in my life have I heard a
Read more guitarist whose playing was supportable if he played with the nails. The nails can produce but very few gradations in the quality of the sound…’

Now, Carter is not indulging in a polemic in this disc. He cites Sor’s comments not to belittle other players – in fact, on the contrary, he is hugely generous to Segovia and Bream, whose recordings of Sor’s music he knows intimately. His approach however honours Sor’s own precepts and performance practices without prescribing others. I find his approach admirable, and admirably expressed.

The difference in character between these two approaches is palpable. Carter’s use of Tony Johnson’s 2006 guitar, which is patterned after nineteenth century models, and the use of the finger tip, imparts a wholly different sound to these works from one that we have become used to. It is more lyrical, it’s softer, variegated, intimate, and less rhetorical than conventional performances.

In the cases of the Grand Solo Op.14 and the Menuet in G major one finds consistently that the suppler, salon orientation of the music is richly promoted by the use of the tip, avoiding the more metallic sense of projection of the nail. The character of the music is thereby subtly altered, and what can seem to be technical flourish in less sensitive hands is here played with a remarkable sense of affectionate plurality. The mellifluous, flowing lyricism of the A minor Op.11 Minuet is a delight, whilst the famous Op.9 Variations on a theme of Mozart is especially challenging, charming and persuasive evidence of the sense of colour that can be evoked by tip playing. He chooses well programmatically, contrasting the passionate expression of the Menuet in C minor, Op.24 No.1, with the more emollient charms of the salon-leaning elegance of the brief Menuet in C major, Op.5 No.3. I was especially struck by the pliancy of expression of the Andante Largo, Op.5 No.3 where control of its more stately elements co-exists with a refined colouristic palette. He plays a selection of the Studios for the Spanish Guitar, Op.6 and though these studies may seem didactic, they are in fact beautifully written examples of his art, not least No.8, a stretto study that is played with limpid grace. Even at his most demanding, as he is in the 12 th study, Carter manages to disguise Sor’s crippling difficulties through remarkable dexterity.

As far as one is aware this is the first such ‘tip’ recording devoted wholly to Sor’s works. I found it enchanting, gorgeously coloured, deeply musical and wholly convincing.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Variations and 12 Minuets for Guitar, Op. 11: Minuet no 6 in G major by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1823; Paris, France 
2.
Variations and 12 Minuets for Guitar, Op. 11: Minuet no 7 in A minor by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1823; Paris, France 
3.
Variations and 12 Minuets for Guitar, Op. 11: Minuet no 8 in A major by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1823; Paris, France 
4.
Variations for Guitar on a theme from Mozart's "Magic Flute", Op. 9 by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1823; London, England 
5.
Short Pieces (8), Op. 24: no 1, Minuet in C minor by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831 
6.
Pétites Pièces (6) for Guitar, Op. 5: no 3, Minuet in C major by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1814 
7.
Pétites Pièces (6) for Guitar, Op. 5: no 5, Andante largo by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1814 
8.
Variations and 12 Minuets for Guitar, Op. 11: Minuet no 5 in D major by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1823; Paris, France 
9.
Variations and 12 Minuets for Guitar, Op. 11: Minuet no 4 by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1823; Paris, France 
10.
Etudes for Guitar, Op. 6: no 2 in A major, Andante allegro by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1823 
11.
Etudes for Guitar, Op. 6: no 8 in C major, Andantino by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1823 
12.
Etudes for Guitar, Op. 6: no 9 in A minor, Andante allegro by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1823 
13.
Etudes for Guitar, Op. 6: no 11 in E minor, Allegro moderato by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1823 
14.
Etudes for Guitar, Op. 6: no 12 in A major, Andante by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1823 
15.
Sonata for Guitar in D major, Op. 14 "Grand Solo" by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1823; London, England 
16.
Thème varié et menuet, Op. 3 by Fernando Sor
Performer:  William Carter (Guitar)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1816 

Sound Samples

Theme varies et 12 Minuets, Op. 11: Minuet No. 6 in A major
Theme varies et 12 Minuets, Op. 11: Minuet No. 7 in A minor
Theme varies et 12 Minuets, Op. 11: Minuet No. 8 in A major
Variations on O Cara Armonia (Das klinget so herrlich) from Mozart's Die Zauberflote, Op. 9: Variations on a theme by Mozart
8 Short Pieces, Op. 24: No. 1. Menuet in C minor
6 Short Pieces, Op. 5: No. 3. Menuet in C major
6 Short Pieces, Op. 5: No. 5. Andante Largo
Theme varies et 12 Minuets, Op. 11: Minuet No. 5 in D major
Theme varies et 12 Minuets, Op. 11: Minuet No. 4 in D major
12 Studies, Op. 6: No. 2 in A major
12 Studies, Op. 6: No. 8 in C major
12 Studies, Op. 6: No. 9 in D minor
12 Studies, Op. 6: No. 11 in E major
12 Studies, Op. 6: No. 12 in A major
Guitar Sonata No. 1 in D major, Op. 14, "Gran Solo"
Theme Varie suivi d'un Menuet, Op. 3: Menuetto in G major

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