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Fernando Sor
Grande Sonate in D
1. I: Grand Solo opus 14: Introduction andante – allegro
2. II: Sicilienne from opus 33
3. III: Menuetto from opus 11
4. IV: Thème varié: ‘Malbrough s’en va-t-en Guerre’ opus 28

Fantaisie Élégiaque opus 59
5. I: Andante Largo
6. II: Marche Funèbre

Deuxième Grande Sonate opus 25
7. I: Andante largo
8. II: Allegro non troppo
9. III: Andantino grazioso (Thème varié)
10. IV: Menuetto allegro

By Ingolf Olsen

Joseph Fernando Macari Sors, or merely Fernando Sor, as he later on named himself, was born on 14 February 1778 in Barcelona. The social standard of his family was such that it pointed towards a military or administrative career. However, the boy was gifted with an unusual musicality: At the age of five he was already singing arias from Italian operas and playing his father’s guitar. And as a child he received instruction in violin playing. At the age of about eleven he was sent to the choir school of the famous monastery of Montserrat to get a musical education. But due to the early death of his father he was taken away from Montserrat and sent to a military school. He must have been about seventeen years old. This military training took four years and Sor obtained the rank of lieutenant, his regiment being ‘Corregiment de Vilafranca’ near Barcelona. In the army, music was an honourable occupation, and Sor performed on the piano and on the guitar and had time to compose music for the guitar, and he wrote his first opera: Telemaco.
Around 1800 Sor came to Madrid and his first patron was the famous duchess of Alba, she who was also the patroness of Francisco Goya, the painter. But all too sadly, she died very soon, in 1802. From this time and up to the French invasion in 1808 Sor led a peaceful life as a musician and a composer and being occupied in public administration. From 1804-08 he was appointed head of a small royal administration in Malaga. At this time he composed his first Grande Sonate in C major, later known as opus 22.
In 1808 everything changed. Invasion, bitter war, starvation, sieges and the most outrageous horrors were the order of the day for six years, from 1808-1813. Goya shows this horror in some of his finest and most harrowing works, one of which is named the Desastres de la Guerra. Sor, who was a contemporary of Goya composed some of the most famous political patriotic songs of the time. One of which ‘Venid vencedores’ was sung at the triumphant entry 23 August in Madrid, when the Spanish army, and among them the young officer Fernando Sor, had made the french army withdraw. About this time Sor obtained the rank of Captain.
Then we find Sor in Jerez, a town well known for producing sherry, as comísarío de policia.If Sor is the composer of the famous El Jaleo de Jerez we cannot know. But this tune forms the final movement of his opus 54: Fantaisie pour deux Guitares.
But meanwhile something has happened concerning Sor’s attitude towards the occupying power. He is now to be found among the so called afancesados, meaning those who sympathized with the French. And when at last Wellington won the battle at Vitoria in June 1813 and forced the French to leave Spain, Sor and many, many with him had to do the same for political reasons.
For two years Sor stayed in Paris, but then he went to London where he lived from 1815-1823. He was from now on a full-time musician and composer, enjoying great success as song writer and ballet composer. His biggest hit was the ballet Cendrillon, first performed at the King’s Theatre on 26 March 1822. The choreography was by the famous Albert. Later on this ballet obtained more than one hundred performances in Paris, which was achieved by only very few works at the Paris Opera in those days. In London Sor of course wrote music for the guitar as well, and he played at distinguished concerts. In 1817 he played in the Philharmonic Society a Concertante for solo guitar and strings written by himself. Unfortunately this work has never been traced.



EAN: 5709499375006