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Work

Fernando Sor

Fernando Sor Composer

Introduction, Theme and Variations on a theme from Mozart's 'The Magic Flute,' Op.9

Performances: 6
Tracks: 7
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Musicology:
  • Introduction, Theme and Variations on a theme from Mozart's 'The Magic Flute,' Op.9
    Year: c.1820-23
    Genre: Variations
    Pr. Instrument: Guitar
Although the guitar had always enjoyed a vogue on the European continent, it truly began to emerge with the dawn of the virtuoso musician in the Romantic period, moving farther away from its common role of merely providing accompaniment. In approaching his instrument thus, Fernando Sor found himself in the august company of composer/performers like Nicolò Paganini, John Field, and others. Sor was often referred to as "the Beethoven of the guitar," not only for his skill as a performer, but also for his important body of works for the instrument. It is hardly surprising, then, that he occasionally turned to the Classical masters for inspiration.

The Variations sur un theme de Mozart (ca. 1820-1823) draws its thematic material from the aria "Das klinget so Herrlich" from Mozart's opera The Magic Flute (1791). Written in E major, one of the most idiomatic keys for the guitar because of its open-string resonance, the work commences with a brooding introduction in the minor mode, curiously similar to many of Beethoven's sonata introductions. A statement of the theme is followed by the sunny first variation, which is punctuated by scale runs throughout. The second variation, in the minor mode, is solemn and stately. The third is good-natured, relaxed, and of an extemporized quality, while the prelude-like fourth, based on two alternating rhythmic figures, is more structured. The fifth variation provides a flashy conclusion, a mercurial perpetuum mobile of several dozen measures that comes to rest on a cadence of two full-textured chords.

© Wayne Reisig, All Music Guide
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