Sor Op 21 Les Adieux

I obviously love the music of Fernando Sor, but I haven't yet played any of his longer pieces. I thought this might be a good one to start with, as it seems within my technical abilities.

According to Brian Jeffery, this piece may be a farewell to the Italian composer Giovanni Paisello, as Paisello died less than two months before the first performance of this piece. Apparently the word "Paisello" is written just above the Allegretto section of this fantasia. (

The score is attached.

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  • December 28, 2021

    Here is a read-through of the piece. It's a bit long, so I understand if you'd rather do something (anything) else than watch it all, as my playing is not too good yet.

    Like 1
  • Structural Analysis

    This is a fantasia, so the structure is a bit looser than most of Sor's works. That said, there are some pretty clear sectional divisions. Here's my breakdown:

    A.      Andante Largo mm 1-21 slow, brooding, E minor

    B.      Andante mm 22-68

         1.       mm 22-43 stately with a clear pulse, G major

         2.      mm 44-54 sparse texture leading into E minor

         3.       mm 55-68 E minor with a strong dotted rhythm pulse

    C.      Un poco mosso / Allegretto mm 69-121

         1.       mm 69-78 driving rhythm in E minor

         2.       mm 79-86 singing melodic material in G major

         3.       mm 87-98 driving 16th notes in G major

         4.       mm 98-109 still driving 16th notes but more melodic, transitioning to E minor

         5.       mm 110-121 building to final cadence in E minor

    This breakdown will now allow me to practice the piece in sections.

    • Mark
    • Mark.2
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    Hi Eric, thanks for posting - I didn鈥檛 know this piece until I saw this thread. I鈥檓 adding it to my queue of pieces! (Check out Margarita Escarpa鈥檚 excellent version: )

    Like 1
    • Mark Thanks, Mark. Her performance is truly outstanding, one of my all-time favorite recordings of Sor.

  • Measures 1-21 Andante Largo (December 29, 2021)

    This is a rather somber introduction to the piece. Nothing too tricky here. It starts out with block chords and stark dynamic contrasts. Next there is a beautiful melody to make sing over the accompaniment. Then there is a buildup to the G major tonality using an open D pedal point.

  • Measures 22-43 Andante (December 29, 2021)

    Again, this is fairly straightforward technically. It's in G major, but takes a few twists and turns using secondary dominants (typical of Sor). It ends with a nice definitive cadence to G major. It almost feels like this could be the end of the piece, but of course it is not.

    • Eric Phillips guauuu I am very impressed about your "dissection" of the partiture...are you a music  professional Eric? a teacher? I must confess that I am terrible bad with the theory .

      I am not a fun of Sor but I enjoy your playing of him 鈽猴笍.

      Anyway I have began today with a new Sor study The Study N: 6 Opus 6. Maybe later I will open a new page in the diary for it.

      Like 1
    • Nora Torres-Nagel Thank you, Nora. No, I am not a professional, just an enthusiastic amateur. I have definitely fallen in love with Sor's music. I played very little of him until this past year, but now I'm addicted!

      Op 6 No 6 is very difficult! All those thirds going up and down at high speed! I would love to hear you work on it.

  • I find so interesting the stories behind our music...they add defined intentions and emotions that we can add in our playing....

  • Measures 44-54 (December 30, 2021)

    Like the opening measures, this section is marked by sharp dynamic contrasts (f-p-f-p etc.). Nothing too challenging here, although the voicing of the high C major in measures 51 and 52 is a bit of a stretch.

  • Measures 55-68 (December 30, 2021)

    This section is more challenging for me. In the left hand, the voicing of the B7 (first inversion) in measures 56 and 60 is pretty difficult. I was tempted to simplify it by removing the F#, but I resisted!

    The bigger challenge for me was the right hand and getting the repeated dotted-rhythm figure to sound smooth and consistent. I tried several different fingerings, and to my surprise, I settled on playing the repeated figure by alternating a-m. This is not exactly my strongest alternation, but ended up working much better than other possibilities.

  • Measures 1-68 (January 25, 2022)

    I took a bit of a break from this piece while doing the Transcription Challenge. But now that is wrapping up, so I want to come back to this. Here is a recap of the sections I have worked on thus far. I messed up the right hand fingering on the last bit, but so be it.

    Now, on to the most challenging part of this long piece (Un Poco Mosso, measures 69-121).

  • Measures 87-98 request for input (January 26, 2022)

    I'm working on the last section of this piece, and I was wondering if anyone has some thoughts on my fingering in a few measures that I am struggling with. It's not too hard to play it slowly, but when I speed it up, I'm having a hard time executing it cleanly. If anyone can see something I could be doing differently, please let me know.

    • Eric Phillips looks like the most straight forward way to play it. I don't know what is the full speed of this, you could have an hard time with repeated p-i but for what can see there not much easier way to play this.

    • Eric Phillips At speed I would probably change at least one fingering, I found it myself easier to play. Mesure 96 on second beat I would use 2 for C, coming from the previous chord, and use 3 and 4 for the other notes, then use 2 for the next chord again.

      Like 1
    • Blaise Laflamme You are completely right! I can't believe I did not see that.

    • Eric Phillips since it's mostly a position shift sequence we're sometimes hypnotized by it 馃樀. I would also focus on the 2 left hand required fingers on each beat (shift in this case) to ease the transition of the shift instead of the 芦barr茅禄 itself, at least it helps me to emphase on musical harmony and phrase instead of shifting 芦blocks禄.

  • January 27, 2022

    Other than the initial run through, this is my first recording of the whole piece, beginning to end. I'd prefer measures 69 onward to go a bit quicker, but this is what I can do right now.

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    • Eric Phillips Ok then it looks like the fingerings are good enough 馃憤馃憢

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    • Blaise Laflamme Thanks so much for taking the time to look at it, Blaise. I highly value your opinion on all things guitar, especially technique. At higher speed, it's just a lot of hopping around. Musically, it's not the most interesting section of the piece, so I guess if I just get through it without a train wreck I'll be okay. 馃檪

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    • Eric Phillips thank you for your kind comments... well you're right, musically it's definitely not the most interesting part. The two things I can see upfront, to make emphasis on, would be making the top line more detached and legato, but in the overall context it doesn't make it. Then I would probably try to emphasis on the dotted rythme and think the 芦melody禄 being more what you play with i (at the same time than p).

      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Phillips That's really nice Eric. Looks like you have it solidly under you fingers. Now the fun part begins - digging into it. You have such a clear grasp of the classical style, and Sor's music in. particular,  you will have it down in short order. Great job.

      BTW, I think you need some work on your coat and shirt collar, if you really want to master Sor.

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