Sor Complete Guitar Duets, Volume 2
By the time Sor wrote his first guitar duet he was 50 years old and had made Paris his final base. His international performing career over, he decided to focus his productive efforts on the guitar, and teaching became of central importance to him. Two of Sor’s duets were dedicated to other virtuosos with whom he became friendly in Paris and played in concert: Dionysio Aguado (Op. 41 – not included here) and Napoleon Coste (Op. 63), but most were intended as student/teacher duets. Of those on this recording Opp. 53 and 55 are addressed to students in general, but Op. 54b is inscribed to one Mlle Houze, obviously a lady of considerable skill and the dedicatee of other works by Sor, and Opp. 61 and 62 pay compliments to other (married) female students. Indeed, a high proportion of Sor’s solo works written during the Paris years testify to the same concern with named amateurs and a qui les voudra. Appropriately, Sor’s last work was a duo, Souvenir de Russie, marking his friendship with Coste and perhaps a nostalgic remembrance of his own visit to Russia in 1825-6; it was not written with students in mind!
The Kubica-van Berkel Duo, trained and brought together by Stepan Rak in Prague, is both new and pleasing to these ears, as also is the quality of the recording. Their performances are worthy of this charming, if light, music and would have been even more so had a little more true legato been achieved in some leading lines. The disc is a welcome addition to Naxos’s Sor archive.'