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Fernando Sor: The Complete Studies for Guitar Paperback – June 1, 1998
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Top Customer Reviews
Even if you play non-classical guitar well, this edition will help you pick you way among Sor's treasures if you are not an experienced classical player.
Its greatest strength lies in the appendices. Included therein is a comparison of differences between important historical publications of Sor's pedagogical output. These include the original editions and those of Coste, Segovia and Sainz de la Maza. This information is clearly presented and is a long overdue addition to the repertoire. The thematic index, notes on grading and Aguado's comments on expression are also welcome.
Whilst interesting, in my opinion the volume's editorial comment suffers from the intrusion of both authors' personal conceptions of Sor's approach to guitar technique. While presumably purporting to be informed (and unbiased) the commentaries occasionally fall into the trap of misrepresenting Sor's position and then proceeding to attack the misrepresentation. This is especially apparent in the discussions on right hand technique and is aptly illustrated in regard to Op6 no6. Here Richard Salvino states that bars 100-101 betray the false assumption that Sor would not employ the ring finger of the right hand because to play these bars with only index or middle fingers would, in his opinion, involve impractical rapid repetition of the fingers. This argument, given that the rest of the entire study demands exactly such repetition, is logically baseless. Similarly in his introduction Ophee allows preconceptions to intrude into his discussion of scale passages and draws a long bow when inferring aspects of Sor's technique from Aguado's account of what Sor may have discussed with him regarding Aguado's technique. The introduction ostensibly discusses Sor's use of the ring finger but omits to relate Sor's strongest and most unequivocal statement about his use of the finger in melodic lines. Not much use is made of Ockham's razor.
The volume presents musical examples from Sor's 'Methode pour la Guitarre' (Paris, 1830). These are reproduced without much of Sor's accompanying text. Ironically, presenting such an extraction of content is a practise outrightly condemned by Sor in his method. It would be difficult for a reader unfamiliar with the method to ascertain the validity of the author's interpretation of Sor's comments on Example 23 of the method. It would have been better had the author looked to Ex. 25 to make his point, but even then it remains debatable.
Editorial fingerings that appear are indicated by the use of italics but the italics aren't easy to differentiate from the (small) standard font unless care is exercised. These suggested fingerings, valid in their own right, can distract from and mask the original intent of the studies, even though that intent is often, but not always, discussed in the performance notes.
Nevertheless as a modern performance edition and study resource the book is excellent. The layout is good but could be improved further by spiral binding. Unfortunately there is a danger that the book leads away from, rather than towards, the equally valid goal of understanding the approach that Fernando Sor had to his own music and chosen instrument. For this reason and the because of the added editorial fingerings I (also) recommend to my pupils urtext editions providing a facsimile of the first editions.