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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sor, 24 Exercises, Pieces de Societe, Steven Novacek, Guitar

Fernando Sor (1778-1839) was one of the founding fathers of modern classical guitar. We can hear his essentialist grasp of modern finger technique and post-contrapuntal homophony and polyphony on the Steven Novacek recording of 24 Exercises and Pieces de Societe  (Naxos 8.553341).

This is music more spirited and jaunty than profound, in keeping with the social role of the guitar in court society and the bourgeois parlor. The Pieces de Societe and 24 Exercises are filled with attractive melodies, dance forms, marches and the like, with the pedagogical emphasis on a solid grounding in technique for the  instruction of the dilettante, though the former set makes some substantial technical demands on the player that might have been beyond many amateurs then. The music is filled with delight and charm which transcends the merely instructive and speaks to us directly as memorable, refreshing musical moments that sing out to us in the very capable hands of Steven Novacek.

The sound is bright, the playing perfectly marvelous and the music bubbling over with good humor and zest.

This is a real treat, a break from heavy fare, in every way a good listen. Recommended!

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