Post by David Raleigh Arnold Post by Alain Reiher
Dave, which Version of Sor #17 are you playing?
Segovia's, just as they do--but, without an added "a tempo" after
the rallentando before E major, which "a tempo" is not in any version I
have seen and was never intended to be there, but seems to be always
played, and with the chromatic notes from the original which I got from
the freefrance web site.
The main thing is not the version but to keep a very slow tempo for the
last part, because if the ending is no good the performance is no good.
Segovia ignored the fact that no "a tempo" was present and that shows that
he did not *understand* this piece.
The very romantic first half of the last part leads into a simple motive
which slowly fades away. It is incredibly mournful at the right tempo,
and the bass represents death. I have yet to hear a recorded performance
which is not inexcusable butchery.
It is the best piece ever written for a funeral, period.
I wrote of this before in this ng. It's all in the archives. daveA
It's true that the rallentando written in the extant printed versions
of this piece (Segovia/Sor # 17, originally Opus 6, #11) is never
cancelled by an a tempo marking. However, this does not necessarily
reflect Sor's intention to make the rest of the piece slower. Marks
of temporary alterations to the tempo were usually written under the
staff in smaller type with no capitalization. Marks of a global tempo
change were usuallly written over the staff, in larger type and
capitalized. This rallentando is written under the staff with small
type and not capitalized. (See B. Jeffrey facsimile edition)
It is not unusual in these old publications for all sorts of details
to be left out. For example, on the topic of articulation, slurs are
almost never present on grace notes or turns. Does that mean that Sor
plucked out all grace notes without ligado technique?
Most modern interpreters confronted with an ambiguous tempo situation
such as the above in which a rallentando is not cancelled by an a
tempo, will treat it like the missing slurs I have described, they
will fill it in. DRA has felt that the missing mark is the global
tempo change after the double bar and that the rallentando leads into
a new slower tempo.
Who is right? The printed sheet music doesn't say. DRA should record
his version and try to sway us to his interpretation.