William Carter - Fernando Sor: Early Works - American Record Guide

This recording presents Sor’s early works—and that doesn’t mean inferior or immature. After all, the Mozart Variations is Op. 9, and the Gran Solo is Op. 14, and those are two of his greatest works. The other works include a lovely ‘Andante Largo’, along with several works for students and other amateur players, the studies and minuets. William Carter is a student of Bruce Holzman at Florida State and worked on early music with Nigel North. He plays a reproduction of a 19th Century instrument, and plays without nails—as did Sor. His playing is warm and expressive. He avoids exploiting the virtuosic elements in the music—if you want that, turn to Julian Bream’s classic recordings—but his playing is anything but dull. He also uses original sources as much as possible, rather than the Segovia editions, so you’ll hear some textual differences. Carter wrote the notes. He thinks Sor is a neglected composer. That’s news to me, though it may be a generational thing. I grew up as a guitarist in the 70s, when Segovia was as dominant as the Pope is to Catholics, and his repertory reigned supreme. I had a bit of an inferiority complex at that time, since my friends were mostly pianists and singers. But the ensuing decades saw the rediscovery of a huge amount of literature that Segovia never paid attention to—he disliked Giuliani, for example—including a flood of newly composed works. At this point, guitarists have no cause to feel inferior, and it’s an exciting time for us. But, judging a competition recently, I noticed that most of the entrants were avoiding the Segovia repertory almost entirely—so perhaps Carter is right. And there is no reason to avoid Sor, even if we now have a much greater range of music for performance. This recording is a pleasant reminder of that.

American Record Guide
21 June 2019