This post will be the last in my five part mini-series on Fernando Sor. In previous posts, I have discussed Sor’s contributions to furthering the status of the classical guitar, his compositional style, perceptions of his music during his lifetime, and his approach to pedagogy. In this post, I will attempt to summarize these aspects of Sor’s musical career and illustrate why Sor’s music, pedagogy, and musical philosophy are still important to consider today.
Sor combined his approach to part-writing, pedagogy, and musical philosophy to craft music that challenged stereotypes about his instrument and led the classical music world to take the guitar more seriously as a concert instrument, thus raising its status. Sor’s music uses a deft combination of counterpoint, harmony, classical forms, and clear phrases, illustrating the assimilation of a broad array of styles, ranging from classical composers such as Mozart and Haydn to fellow guitarist-composers Padre Basilio and Federico Moretti. Although Sor is perhaps most famous for his guitar music, he also composed operas, ballets, art songs, and other works, which likely contributed to his synthesis of disparate approaches in his compositions for guitar. Today, his works for guitar are standard repertoire for students and professionals alike. They are taught in private studios and university programs, and performed in concert halls around the world. His music and pedagogy combines classical sophistication, past and contemporary traditions of part writing, and an emphasis on logic and reason, all of which are just as relevant today as they were during the early nineteenth century.
Resources for further information on Fernando Sor’s life and career as a guitarist, composer, and music educator:
Hartdegen, Kenneth. “Fernando Sor’s Theory of Harmony Applied to the Guitar: History, Bibliography, and Context.” PhD diss., University of Auckland, 2011.
Jeffery, Brian. “Sor [Sors], (Joseph) Fernando.” Grove Music Online. Edited by Deane Root. Accessed 9 October, 2019. https://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.
Page, Christopher. “New light on the London years of Fernando Sor (1815–1822).” Early Music 41, no. 4 (November 2013): 557-569.
Rhodes Draayer, Suzanne. Art Song Composers of Spain: An Encyclopedia. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2009.
Ribiero Alves, Júlio. “The History of the Guitar: Its Origins and Evolution.” Marshall Digital Scholar (Fall 2015): 1-169.
Sor, Fernando. Method for the Spanish Guitar. London, UK: Robert Cocks & Co., n.d. (ca. 1832). http://ks.imslp.net/files/imglnks/usimg/2/2b/IMSLP260517-PMLP58779-sor_method_merrick.pdf.
Wade, Graham. Traditions of the Classical Guitar. Richmond, UK: Overture Publishing, 2012.