Fernando Sor’s complete Italian Arietts, Italian Duets, and the Three Canons are presented here in a single publication, but we have bound it up as two books (Book 1 and Book 2) for the convenience of singers and pianists (it is easier for the singer to hold one book of reasonable size, or for the pianist to put it onto the piano music holder, than if the edition had been bound as one single thick and heavy book). This set includes both Book 1 and Book 2.
Now in 2018 another comment from the time has been discovered, in the New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal for May 1822, which wrote “Mr Sor, a Spanish gentleman, whose arietts have, for some years past, eclipsed every other vocal composition in this country”. That is quite a claim: that they have eclipsed all other vocal compositions in Britain for the last few years.
This Tecla publication includes them all: 42 sophisticated and high-quality songs in Italian for one, two or three voices and piano, which Sor composed during his time in London (1815 to 1823). With an introduction by Brian Jeffery.
BOOK 1, TECLA 0385 (paperbound), TECLA 0387 (clothbound) contains Three Italian Arietts, Sets 1 to 7 complete.
BOOK 2, TECLA 0386 (paperbound), TECLA 0388 (clothbound) contains Three Italian Arietts, Sets 8 to 10; Three Italian Duets, Sets 1 and 2; and the Three Canons, all complete. The most advanced and elaborate music is in Book 2.
The introduction and list of contents are printed in both books. This set includes both Book 1 and Book 2.
SEE BELOW for more about these books, their contents, and reviews.
This present edition is the first time that this music has been published in a modern edition. It has been awaited for over twenty years, during which time many people have asked for this music. It is the complete edition of all Sor’s known arietts etc. in Italian, 42 songs in all, which he composed while he lived in London between 1815 and 1823. They are all for voice(s) with piano accompaniment (for guitar arrangements of them, see below). They are presented here in facsimiles of the original editions, which are all very clear to read, with an extensive introduction which will tell you a lot about these songs, and bibliography.
The edition includes the complete Italian words and English prose translations of all the songs, and some very long and interesting reviews of the songs from journals of Sor’s own time.
All the texts of the songs are in Italian, and all the songs are for voice(s) and piano.
María Encina Cortizo wrote an article “Arietas y duetos italianos de Fernando Sor” about these songs, in Estudios sobre Fernando Sor (Sor Studies) ed. Gásser, Madrid, 2003, in which she pointed out the beauty, high quality, and demanding technique of these works: “Altamente expresivo es el lenguaje . . . verdaderas arias de concierto, de gran exigencia vocal . . . Algunas arias subyugan por su belleza melódica . . . brillante lenguaje vocal . . . plenamente romántico . . . de gran brillantez y dificultad vocal . . . gran madurez compositiva”(“The musical language is highly expressive . . . true concert arias extremely demanding for the voice . . . Some of them captivate with the beauty of their melody . . . brilliant vocal language . . . of great brilliance and vocal difficulty . . . great compositional maturity”) .
Some of the arietts, especially those in Book 2, are indeed at the highest level of composition in European music of that time.
I have added a few notes about some individual songs, mentioning some particularly interesting and fine ones, including one written in Spanish style, which may be helpful.
Perhaps it is a good moment now for singers and pianists, especially in Spain because Sor was Spanish, to give attention to these splendid arietas of Sor, because the first CD devoted solely to them has just appeared. If you explore them you will be delighted!
A review of a new CD of some of these arietts by Sor says: “La exigencia vocal de estas composiciones es muy notable por lo que probablemente era un cantante de primer orden, . . . En cambio, exige al intérprete un nivel de concentración absoluto. Nada está escrito al azar. Prácticamente todo lo posible está ya escrito y el intérprete debe concentrarse con colar alguna breve cadencia por los escasos resquicios. . . . Como ingredientes compositivos a tener en cuenta hay que destacar la sutilidad armónica y una inagotable imaginación melódica y rítmica. La atmósfera del texto encuentra siempre una traducción ideal tanto en la línea vocal como en su vestimenta pianística, la sonoridad de la voz y el piano se complementan. Aprovecha magistralmente todos los recursos sonoros de piano, tal vez por influencia de sus amigos Cramer, Hummel, Field o Kalkbrenner.”
It really is time that singers, especially Spanish ones, performed this music in order to show its important place in the history of Spanish music.
REVIEWS AND COMMENTS:
“Es la primera vez que estas bellas e importantes composiciones se publican en moderna edición en nuestros días” (Música y Educación, March 2003)
“Alguien se preguntará qué hace un volúmen de partituras para piano y voz en una revista de guitarra. Pero es que Sor es siempre Sor … de alto interés.” (Acordes (Spanish magazine), 2003).
“…the new volumes of Sor’s Italian Arietts. They are so beautifully produced and edited and a work of art in themselves.” (Graham Wade, November 2002)
“Thanks for sending me the beautiful edition of the Sor Arietts, they’ve been on my piano music stand ever since. Although I have photocopies of most of them there have been several fascinating discoveries. I particularly like the 1st Canon Piacer d’amore with its lovely and touching introductory harmonies. I didn’t expect these songs to be true canons but, although there may not be much rhythmic independence, the imitation in all three voices is complete. I can readily understand why Piacer d’amore was published in an English version as late as 1907. I see from your web site that there are recordings of the songs planned. I hope that these will be done with piano accompaniment and not guitar or fortepiano! Although good results can be achieved on the guitar it really only suits the more simple accompaniments. The otherwise excellent recording of Sor arietts made by Montserrat Figueras and José Miguel Moreno is a case in point where, in Perduta l’anima, the affecting and powerful piano writing in the coda section makes little impression. Having said this, I performed some of the Arietts many years ago in a transcription for two guitars and voice that I made.” (Roger Quin, January 2003)
VERSIONS WITH GUITAR. Some of the arietts are available with the original piano accompaniments arranged for guitar by Rob MacKillop, here as downloadable files.
These guitar arrangements have been made available here because it is known that Sor himself sometimes performed some of the accompaniments on the guitar (and himself sometimes sang the voice part), and some of them work well on the guitar. I asked Rob MacKillop to arrange some of the piano accompaniments for guitar, and he has done so. He writes: “I think they [the first set of arietts] are wonderful songs”. These guitar arrangements are the ones which are now directly downloadable here. Have a look! They include “Oh cara” from the First Set of Arietts, which turns out to be a wonderful song where the accompaniment fits well onto the guitar.
Copyright 2012 by Tecla Editions. Errors and omissions excepted.