Fernando Sor: The Beethoven of the Guitar, Manuel Barrueco
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This Sor recording includes several of my own personal favorites as well as a few little-known works that perhaps deserve more attention. In my opinion, Sor’s genius comes through most clearly in his short pieces, many of them perfect little gems filled with elegance, balance, refinement, and above all, beauty. His style, though deeply rooted in the Viennese School of Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven, is also imbued, at least at times, with distinct Spanish flavors.
Because of his military background, it is not surprising to see how many of these pieces have some sort of military allusions. His variations on “Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre” (Marlborough goes to war) is an example, and the rapid octaves of his Study op. 6, no. 10, seem to depict a battle scene culminating in “God Save the King.” He wrote many marches as well, but most curiously, and much less conspicuous, is a theme in his Sonata op.15(b), which seems to evoke “La Marseillaise.” When we compare the two themes, the similarities are undeniable.