Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

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mainterm
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Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by mainterm » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:50 am

Best wishes to all embarking on this op.35 journey!

Having determined to cut the nails off last year and relearn the guitar with no-nails technique, I have found it most enjoyable and instructive to revisit Sor's didactic works. I like nearly all of them, apart from the bulk of op.44 which bothers me for some reason and to a lesser extent op.31 which I also find mildly irksome, but less so than op.44.

The exercises of op.35 are to me, the most straight forward of the lot - in their pedagogical aims anyway - and each of the pieces in their own peculiar way is fun. But perhaps that is just me experiencing little successes as a no nails player.

There are ways to agree with grading these pieces and many more ways to disagree - I'll add here that I haven't formed a full opinion of Savino's grading in the Chantrelle edition. I do find it encouraging that he includes the 1997 ABRSM gradings as applicable.

In any case, a piece which may be generally considered to be, let's say grade III, may always be revisited, hopefully by the greatest masters of the instrument and musical art to explore refinements which in general practice make it a more advanced piece. We've already seen that op.35 no.1 has the potential to engage the likes of Nick and Tom in useful and illustrative discussion.

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Tom Poore
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Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by Tom Poore » Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:43 am

mainterm wrote:[...] I have found it most enjoyable and instructive to revisit Sor's didactic works. I like nearly all of them, apart from the bulk of op.44 which bothers me for some reason and to a lesser extent op.31 which I also find mildly irksome, but less so than op.44.
Although you surely didn’t intend it, you’ve rattled my cage. Actually, I’m surprised you’ve cast shade on these opus numbers, as I’ve for decades played both of them—I find them delightful.

Too often, Fernando Sor’s pedagogical works are dispatched with neither sympathy nor understanding. And so they’re “boring.” But good music can be vitiated by bad performances. Put the same music in good hands, and you have something worth hearing.

Sor needs creative phrasing, articulation, and wit.
Op. 44, No. 15:


Sor also needs heart.
Op. 31, No. 23:


When these qualities are brought to bear, Sor has no weak opus numbers.

By the way, you obviously meant no harm. I’m just a bit touchy about anyone dissing Sor. I’ll be fine after I breathe into a paper bag.
We've already seen that op.35 no.1 has the potential to engage the likes of Nick and Tom in useful and illustrative discussion.
Aw shucks, when you say nice stuff like that, how can I stay mad?

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA

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Jorge Oliveira
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Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:50 pm

mainterm wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:50 am
Best wishes to all embarking on this op.35 journey!

Having determined to cut the nails off last year and relearn the guitar with no-nails technique, I have found it most enjoyable and instructive to revisit Sor's didactic works. I like nearly all of them, apart from the bulk of op.44 which bothers me for some reason and to a lesser extent op.31 which I also find mildly irksome, but less so than op.44.

The exercises of op.35 are to me, the most straight forward of the lot - in their pedagogical aims anyway - and each of the pieces in their own peculiar way is fun. But perhaps that is just me experiencing little successes as a no nails player.

There are ways to agree with grading these pieces and many more ways to disagree - I'll add here that I haven't formed a full opinion of Savino's grading in the Chanterelle edition. I do find it encouraging that he includes the 1997 ABRSM gradings as applicable.

In any case, a piece which may be generally considered to be, let's say grade III, may always be revisited, hopefully by the greatest masters of the instrument and musical art to explore refinements which in general practice make it a more advanced piece. We've already seen that op.35 no.1 has the potential to engage the likes of Nick and Tom in useful and illustrative discussion.
Welcome to this Topic, mainterm, your contributions will be of great value to us all, no doubt :D.

I was not aware that you had become a no-nails player :D. As of me, I use quite short nails (≈2 mm) in my fingers i, m and a but only the pulp tip of my p. So, I guess I'm somewhere half-way between the two main trends... :lol:.

You also refer to Savino's grading in the Chanterelle edition of Sor's Complete Studies for Guitar but you, perhaps, mean Machael Macmeeken grading in page 193, no? As of the beauty and the pedagogical quality of its Opuses - the 44, the 31, etc., I don't know know them yet (except for the Opus 31 #1 which I play since many, many years ago), and therefore, I don't have an opinion, the only thing I know is that I enjoyed a lot learning to play all the small pieces of the Opus 60, though some more than others, as everything in life. I hope the same happens with the 24 pieces of the Opus 35.
1972 - Kuniharu Nobe #8, 658/52, Spr, IN RW, Tokyo, JP
1976 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.50, 650/53, Ced, IN RW, JP
1979 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.40, 650/53, Ced, IN RW, JP
2014 - Hermanos Camps Master Nº 3, 650/52, CA Ced, MG RW, Banyoles, ES

mainterm
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Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by mainterm » Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:00 pm

Tom Poore wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:43 am
[...]
Although you surely didn’t intend it, you’ve rattled my cage. Actually, I’m surprised you’ve cast shade on these opus numbers, as I’ve for decades played both of them—I find them delightful.
The fault surely lies with me, not Sor :wink:

Many years ago when I was first learning the guitar I especially disliked Sor - all of it. Looking back at this time in my life, I'm quite puzzled as I cannot summon a reason for not liking Sor's music. Youthful idiocy perhaps.

These days, I find Sor to be the best of the early/mid 19th century bunch and after studying composition and theory for years (sheesh), I appreciate him on a whole 'nuther level.

So I'll just have patience and allow myself to warm up to 44, 31's nearly there.

mainterm
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Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by mainterm » Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:13 pm

Jorge Oliveira wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:50 pm
I was not aware that you had become a no-nails player :D. <snip>
Yes - the op.60 no.23 performance I referenced in your other thread was made after a week of trying to figure out a new RH technique. I've made some progress, it's difficult, but I'm determined to give it a real go. The sounds I am able to produce are well worth it and the sharper, crisper attack of nails is not missed.
Jorge Oliveira wrote: You also refer to Savino's grading in the Chanterelle edition of Sor's Complete Studies for Guitar but you, perhaps, mean Machael Macmeeken grading in page 193, no? As of the beauty and the pedagogical quality of its Opuses - the 44, the 31, etc., I don't know know them yet (except for the Opus 31 #1 which I play since many, many years ago), and therefore, I don't have an opinion, the only thing I know is that I enjoyed a lot learning to play all the small pieces of the Opus 60, though some more than others, as everything in life. I hope the same happens with the 24 pieces of the Opus 35.
There are, it seems, at least three versions of the Chanterelle compilation. Mine is a 1997 reprint of the original 1996 edition. Macmeeken holds the copyright and I assume overall editorial responsibility (though this designation is absent from the volume), but Savino is noted as the author of the suggested grading (pg. 186). Maybe he changed his approach for later editions, or perhaps authorship was erroneously given in the earlier ones :?:

[EDIT]

I'd also add that while we are all free to do as we wish in these matters, I would not recommend using the Chanterelle edition. Go with the old editions printed during Sor's tenure or Tecla. I use my Chanterelle edition primarily as a reference.

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Tom Poore
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Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by Tom Poore » Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:02 pm

mainterm wrote:Many years ago when I was first learning the guitar I especially disliked Sor—all of it. Looking back at this time in my life, I'm quite puzzled as I cannot summon a reason for not liking Sor's music. Youthful idiocy perhaps.

So I'll just have patience and allow myself to warm up to 44, 31's nearly there.
Sor’s Op. 44 is clearly aimed at students below the virtuoso level. So it’s rare to hear it played with the flair it deserves. If you haven’t already heard it, I recommend Jason Vieaux’s 1996 Naxos recording. Here you’ll the happy blend of good music performed by a virtuoso who has the knack for it.

By the way, if you want to single out a Sor collection for censure, go to Op. 51. Sor himself explicitly intended it for hackers. In the first piece of this opus, the first three measures are all open strings—to heighten his withering sarcasm, Sor notated the left hand fingering under each note:
Clip.png

The man had a temper. It’s one of the reasons I like him.

Tom Poore
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Jorge Oliveira
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Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:33 pm

mainterm wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:13 pm
Jorge Oliveira wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 1:50 pm
I was not aware that you had become a no-nails player :D. <snip>
Yes - the op.60 no.23 performance I referenced in your other thread was made after a week of trying to figure out a new RH technique. I've made some progress, it's difficult, but I'm determined to give it a real go. The sounds I am able to produce are well worth it and the sharper, crisper attack of nails is not missed.
Right, I've checked it out and, indeed, your post 21-Ju-18 in the Opus 60 Project thread refers to the fact that you had cut your nails a few days before and were still adjusting to a no-nails condition. But the sound you produced on your rendition of the #23 was already superb. I imagine it will be even better these days… :D And, you know what, I'll have to check how I'm playing that piece as, in the 2nd and/or 3rd measure my rendition sounds different from the way you play it. I'm not sure if I'm playing wrong notes or if I'm not attaining to their values. It will be something I'll check when I arrive there in my current revision of past records of the Opus 60.
mainterm wrote:
Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:13 pm
Jorge Oliveira wrote: You also refer to Savino's grading in the Chanterelle edition of Sor's Complete Studies for Guitar but you, perhaps, mean Machael Macmeeken grading in page 193, no? ...
There are, it seems, at least three versions of the Chanterelle compilation. Mine is a 1997 reprint of the original 1996 edition. Macmeeken holds the copyright and I assume overall editorial responsibility (though this designation is absent from the volume), but Savino is noted as the author of the suggested grading (pg. 186). Maybe he changed his approach for later editions, or perhaps authorship was erroneously given in the earlier ones :?:

[EDIT]

I'd also add that while we are all free to do as we wish in these matters, I would not recommend using the Chanterelle edition. Go with the old editions printed during Sor's tenure or Tecla. I use my Chanterelle edition primarily as a reference.
Well, I didn't find in my Chanterelle Edition im Allegra any indication of its edition date. It has a Catalogue Number, though - ECH0491. When I google this reference I end up in an page of an on-line shop of musical scores for various instruments. In that page they just say "Newly engraved from early editions".
1972 - Kuniharu Nobe #8, 658/52, Spr, IN RW, Tokyo, JP
1976 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.50, 650/53, Ced, IN RW, JP
1979 - Ryoji Matsuoka No.40, 650/53, Ced, IN RW, JP
2014 - Hermanos Camps Master Nº 3, 650/52, CA Ced, MG RW, Banyoles, ES

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Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by powderedtoastman » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:33 pm

Glad to see this topic!
I have already recorded myself doing number a couple years ago:


Also played it at the open mic quite a few times. I vowed to keep playing it until I "got it right" and then I still dug it out and played it more times after that... here's one that's not half bad! When I was in my half step down phase on my old student model Lacote copy. I actually rather like what I did with the dynamics and articulation here!



And here's number two from a couple years ago:


Also not bad but a little heavy handed and punchy.

As part of my "complete Sor studies" project I'll do re-takes of these in short order anyway.
I hope to be a more active participant in this thread than I have been in the Op. 60 thread!

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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:38 pm

My study notes:
  • Obviously not perfect. I stumbled in one place, and had an insecure moment in another.
  • But what bothers me more is that the rhetoric here is insipid and could have been much better. This will be part of my focus in future pieces.
  • The main challenge here other than finding a suitable interpretation, was reading far enough ahead to prepare properly and avoid right-hand errors.
Please comment. That is what this thread is about. Suggestions for improvement welcome.
Sor_Op35_#01.wma
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Yisrael van Handel
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powderedtoastman
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Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by powderedtoastman » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:55 pm

Since Op. 44 is getting a little bit of love, I'll go off topic and throw out this one, number 4. I think this one has a couple of very good coordination exercises baked into it, and I like the way the two voices interact with each other.


Op. 44 has a few pieces scattered within it, such as this one and number 15 that Tom linked to above, which start to push us into the physical skill required to execute short bits of contrary motion between the upper and lower voices. This concept makes one appearance in Op. 60 (#12) but otherwise doesn't come up a lot in these opuses. Not to say that there isn't any counterpoint in them, because there most certainly is, but it sometimes takes a more subtle form.

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Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by powderedtoastman » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:02 pm

Yisrael van Handel wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:38 pm
My study notes:
  • Obviously not perfect. I stumbled in one place, and had an insecure moment in another.
  • But what bothers me more is that the rhetoric here is insipid and could have been much better. This will be part of my focus in future pieces.
  • The main challenge here other than finding a suitable interpretation, was reading far enough ahead to prepare properly and avoid right-hand errors.
Please comment. That is what this thread is about. Suggestions for improvement welcome.

Sor_Op35_#01.wma
Hi Yisrael!
I think your sound production is very good and the tempo is appropriate too. Even though this is marked andante and that might suggest a considerably slower pace I feel like in a musical sense this piece would "drag" a bit if played too slowly.

The one little sticking point to my ear was the little pause in the transition from measure 8 (ending on a C) to measure 9 which starts with B on the low end, and D on the upper voice. I think there are two approaches here... one would be to isolate those two measures and practice them until you have your fingers trained to smoothly stay in tempo. The other choice would be to sort of "sell" it and do a little bit of a ritard through measure 8 and then pick the tempo back up once you've started into measure 9, in such a way that it's all musically connected.
I actually like the second idea, but I think even if you're going to choose that, it's also necessary to do the first.

EDIT -- I think the stay-in-tempo approach is a matter of picking up the second finger from the E in the 3rd beat of measure 8 at the right time. Let it overlap with the C ever so slightly but then carefully pick it up and get it ready to play the B.. should be the key!

mainterm
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Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by mainterm » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:30 pm

Yisrael van Handel wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:38 pm
My study notes:
  • Obviously not perfect. I stumbled in one place, and had an insecure moment in another.
  • But what bothers me more is that the rhetoric here is insipid and could have been much better. This will be part of my focus in future pieces.
  • The main challenge here other than finding a suitable interpretation, was reading far enough ahead to prepare properly and avoid right-hand errors.
Please comment. That is what this thread is about. Suggestions for improvement welcome.

Sor_Op35_#01.wma
Yisrael - this sounds very nice, I think you already have an ear for correcting the minor issues so I will only add that you could perhaps improve this with more consideration of dynamics and how they may be used to create a more musical phrase and melodic line.

jscott

Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by jscott » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:41 pm

powderedtoast, you play 44 4 really well! very clean. I find it takes a bit of concentration and I still muff it too often.

I've taken to playing around with the phrasing and not playing this piece straight through in strict tempo. so for example in measure 16 I slightly Iinger on the double 'g's to mark the end of one phrase and what I take to be the beginning of another. I play it at a slightly slower tempo too but I play everything slow...but the counterpoint makes this piece interesting and I want to let it be appreciated and heard.

It's all a matter of taste! You play this great so I'm just sharing how I'm approaching it today.

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Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by powderedtoastman » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:06 pm

jscott wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:41 pm
powderedtoast, you play 44 4 really well! very clean. I find it takes a bit of concentration and I still muff it too often.

I've taken to playing around with the phrasing and not playing this piece straight through in strict tempo. so for example in measure 16 I slightly Iinger on the double 'g's to mark the end of one phrase and what I take to be the beginning of another. I play it at a slightly slower tempo too but I play everything slow...but the counterpoint makes this piece interesting and I want to let it be appreciated and heard.

It's all a matter of taste! You play this great so I'm just sharing how I'm approaching it today.
Thanks! I specifically remember practicing this one when I first took it up, there was quite a learning curve. I especially spent a lot of time on the counterpoint bits in measures 11 and I think 18. Learning to set down fingers 3 and 4 together like that is quite a bit of effort but I think it's a pretty big payoff as well.

I agree there is an opportunity to do a little more with the dynamics and phrasing, especially in the stretch where the two voices are doing a little quick back-and-forth thing. Because they're trading back and forth two notes at a time for a couple measures it could actually be a bit of a challenge to control the two voices enough to have them each doing something drastically different. Definitely worth exploring though!

My next post here I'll try to get back on topic to Op. 35. I'm working on numbers 3 and 4, nit picking what things I can do to get good takes on each of them.
Number 5 I may skip and circle back around. I've kind of played through it before but working it up to tempo is quite an undertaking!

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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: Fernando Sor, Opus 35 - shall we learn it together?

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:58 pm

mainterm wrote:
Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:30 pm
Yisrael - <snip> you could perhaps improve this with more consideration of dynamics and how they may be used to create a more musical phrase and melodic line.
Thank you for your kind comment. That was precisely what I am missing. The question is how to get started. I know where the phrases are and how they relate. And then? How do you get a proper statement-response feeling within a phrase? How do you distinguish a phrase from its repeat?
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

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