The Atlantic Guitar Quartet plays A.D. Silverstein’s Per Fernando: a suite for guitar quartet in six movements (2015). The Atlantic Guitar Quartet is Mark Edwards, Kevin Shannon, Zoe Johnstone Stewart and Jonathan Zwi, and all have degrees and connections to the Peabody Institute of Music. Nice intricate playing and ensemble work. A.D. Silverstein is a New York based composer, guitarist, and poet…
Composer’s Notes (via YouTube):
Unless you are a classical guitarist or musicologist, chances are you have never heard of the 19th century Spanish composer and guitarist Fernando Sor. Like many guitarists, I was introduced to Sor through his etudes for solo guitar. He was a remarkably colorful character, who, indifferent to his status as the greatest guitarist of the 19th century, yearned for success and acclaim as a composer of opera. Having grown up in a military family, Sor, after seeing an Italian opera as a child, was smitten, and made it his life’s mission to compose opera. Aware that he could not achieve celebrity as a composer of opera without noble patronage, Sor roamed Europe attempting to dazzle the nobility with his guitar playing, in the hope that they would sponsor his composition of operas. Sadly, Sor never had any success as a composer of Opera. Rather, he was considered the best guitarist in the world at a time when the guitar was considered a novelty instrument. He died of cancer at sixty-one, his dreams unfulfilled.
Per Fernando is a suite for guitar quartet in six movements, each of which reflects a different chapter in Sor’s life. Here, the Atlantic Guitar Quartet performs the first and last movements of the Suite. The first, entitled Prelude/Pasadoble: Youth in a Military Family, is a Spanish march, which reflects Sor’s youth in a military family. The sixth and last movement, entitled Sarabande: Awaiting Oblivion, reflects the lack of fulfillment, depression, and nostalgia with which I imagine Sor faced death. Ironically, had Sor lived a century later, when the guitar had become perhaps the most popular of instruments, he might have attained the international celebrity he always longed for. -A.D. Silverstein