Does the world need another disc devoted to Fernando Sor? Sure, why not?! OK, the Naxos label alone has put out more than 60 discs containing pieces by Sor (including their wonderful ongoing series cataloguing his complete guitar works), and all of the heavy players have taken their turns diving into his works at one time or another. (2016’s Manuel Barrueco excellent Fernando Sor disc, heralding Sor as “The Beethoven of the Guitar” a label accorded to Sor by his peers is still fresh in my mind, for example.)
The acclaimed Italian guitarist Gianluigi Giglio makes his debut on SOMM Recordings with The 19th Century Guitar, a scintillating recital of music by Fernando Sor, a pioneering champion of the guitar in the vanguard of raising its profile out of the tavern and into the concert hall. Giglio's wide-ranging recital explores Sor's innate feeling for the guitar and charts the increasing demands he placed on the instrument in a body of work that transformed its standing with public and pundits alike. From the early Op.9 masterpiece that charted a new and expressive landscape for the guitar - Introduction and Variations on a Theme by Mozart - to the late Elegiac Fantasy (Op.59) with its leanings towards newly-emerging Romanticism, this is a textbook display of the instrument's many abilities given eloquent voice by a master guitarist. Other notable pieces include the Introduction and Variations on 'Malbrough s'en va-t-en guerre' (Op.28), a deliciously knowing exercise in re-creating 18th-century style, the possibly unique programmatic caprice Le calme (Op.50) and the no less singular etude The movement of a religious prayer from the Op.31 24 Progressive Lessons for Beginners which is distinguished by its beautiful sense of polyphony. Gianluigi Giglio plays a guitar made by the noted Parisian luthier Rene Lacote in Paris in 1834.