Torroba's Sonata-Fantasia

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RectifiedGTRz
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Torroba's Sonata-Fantasia

Post by RectifiedGTRz » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:08 am

Has anyone played the Torroba Sonata-Fantasia? I bought it because Angelo Gilardino "found" the manuscript when he was going through some of Segovia's old notes, and I generally like Torroba's guitar music. Apparently it wasn't published until Gilardino published it through Berben (in 2002?) through "The Andres Segovia Archive." He has included copies of the original manuscript which is interesting to see, however I'm not sure I like some of his fingerings. He makes a note in the preface to say he didn't think Segovia didn't like the piece, but rather didn't have the time to create a performance edition. So far, it's not really what I was thinking the piece would be (light-hearted with a wistful melody), but I've only gone through the first movement.

If you have played it or heard it, what did you think of it?
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David_Norton
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Re: Torroba's Sonata-Fantasia

Post by David_Norton » Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:20 am

There are a couple of recordings on YT which give a full performance of this work. Torroba's forte as a composer was writing 2- or 3-minute songs (zarzuela) or pieces (guitar), so with the larger compositional structure he has attempted here, it's easy to see the discomfort. Also realize that Segovia would have edited the deuce out of it, cf what he did with the Juan Manen Fantasia-Sonata, which really seems to be a different piece when heard in the urtext Berbèn version versus the Schott edition.

The challenge with many of Gilardino's fingerings is that he sometimes juxtaposes open strings with closed/fretted notes played in high positions. He's extremely familiar with the instrument, to be sure, but treats everything as if all the notes have the same timbre in any position. The resulting timbre difference from open v. high fretting is often awkward. Yet there's also sometimes no other way to play what's written. So steep editing is called for.

The really excellent thing is that, thanks to Gilardino's unflagging efforts here, we even HAVE this piece at all, whether to play, study, edit, listen to, or discuss.
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Cipher
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Re: Torroba's Sonata-Fantasia

Post by Cipher » Sat Apr 08, 2017 3:21 am

I've played through it a couple of times but it's a tough nut to crack. The first movement starts out promising but too many ideas are introduced and then it just kinda meanders into all these different harmonic areas without concentrating on developing one or two nice themes as he does so successfully in his Sonatina. Of course this is a more serious piece but it still lacks thematic focus. The guitar writing is very sparse throughout and I don't know if it's the key he's chosen but the piece never gets off the ground as well as Torroba's shorter pieces like the Castles Of Spain or Piezas characteristics do, The second movement is charming and but nothing memorable. The best IMO is the last movement which keeps its focus with a nice spanish phyrgian motif that keeps repeating rondo style. But even in this movement there's an entire section marked Andante from m.192 to m.217 that literally sounds like it doesn't belong.

The best recorded performance I've heard is by Pablo Sainz Villegas on the Naxos label, you can find it on YouTube now. He does a great job of the piece, I can't imagine it being played any better. Still even Pablo can't rescue it from its obvious compositional flaws.

As an alternative I highly recommend the Antonio Jose Sonata written in the same style though much more impressionistic but structurally much more solid, it's a masterpiece for guitar in four beautiful movements. Very difficult to play though!

Check out the young virtuoso Emanuele Buono playing the Jose Sonata in four videos on YouTube - Outstanding!!!

another great interpretation on YT is Davide G Tomasi for Siccas Guitars - amazing left hand technique on this guy.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Torroba's Sonata-Fantasia

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:46 am

RectifiedGTRz wrote:Has anyone played the Torroba Sonata-Fantasia? I bought it because Angelo Gilardino "found" the manuscript when he was going through some of Segovia's old notes, and I generally like Torroba's guitar music. Apparently it wasn't published until Gilardino published it through Berben (in 2002?) through "The Andres Segovia Archive."
Just to say, AG didn't "find" the ms, he definitively found it, in one of I think it was 27 packing cases of Segovia's papers that had remained sealed and in storage until the opening of the Segovia museum. Segovia died in 1987 and it took until I think it was 2000/1 to open them. This was not AG deciding it should take so long.
There were of course very many discoveries, some more unexpected than others. Like many I have never felt that interested in any of them in end, despite trying virtually all of them when they came out.
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RectifiedGTRz
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Re: Torroba's Sonata-Fantasia

Post by RectifiedGTRz » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:38 pm

Man this forum is great! Thanks for all the insights!
1991 Michael Thames Cedar #134
2012 Ramirez 4NE Cedar
2016 Cordoba Hauser (Master Series) #467

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guitarguy
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Re: Torroba's Sonata-Fantasia

Post by guitarguy » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:37 am

I agree with Cipher that the Pablo Sainz Villegas recording is excellent. It took me about half a year of fairly intensive study to get it ready for one (!) performance. After that, somehow I've never taken it out of the cabinet again. It's a composition that doesn't seem to motivate me for a comeback. Though the third movement really is good fun to play.

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