19th Century Guitar Favourites
The guitar in its present form has been around for no more than two centuries, and as with all 'new' instruments its birth was attended by 'midwives' who, in addition to spreading the word through their own virtuosity, provided the didactic material necessary to succeeding generations. They were of various nationalities but this recording is concentrated on three Spaniards. Sor (1778–1839) and Aguado (1784–1849), who spent much of their lives abroad, met in Paris and became firm friends; both wrote numerous studies and, inter alia, minuets of the more gracious and danceable kind, and their Viennese classical style had no trace of their Spanish origins. Whereas Aguado was at pains to explain the exact purposes of his studies Sor seldom did so they are usually self-evident, but Sor was the more poetic.
As the nineteenth century ran its course the guitar fell into the sleep of oblivion, from which it was revived by Tarrega (1852–1909), the so-called 'father of modern guitar technique'. He composed relatively few studies, though some of his many salon miniatures were subtitled estudio, and it was he who established the art of arranging music written for other instruments—to fill the lacuna in the guitar's romantic repertory. These are not 'authentic' performances: Kraft's guitar is a modern one, he uses his right-hand nails (Sor and Tarrega did not) and his fingerings are often different from those originally intended, which is true of the great majority of today's performances. What they are is technically flawless, supremely musical and splendidly recorded ones which are among the very best available at any price.'