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Recuerdo (François de Fossa)

Date

1840

Text

‘What does M. Aguado represent, I will be asked . . .? Thirty years of experience in a country that is the classic heartland of the guitar; the discernment of one used to hearing the most skilful virtuosos . . . ; the art of making their different styles his own while avoiding servile imitation; the art of constantly producing a bright and smooth sound, yet one that varies in intensity, from an instrument that yields mere jangling in the hands of nineteen players out of twenty; in a word, the most extraordinary agility combined with the sustained notes of the almost inimitable Sor: that is what is said of M. Aguado by all those who have the pleasure of enjoying his talent, and we have no fear of being contradicted by any of those French persons whom the last war in Spain will have given the opportunity of hearing this justly famous guitarist.’ With this introduction to his French translation of Dionisio Aguado’s Méthode complète pour la guitare(c.1826), François de Fossa gives us a text that could serve just as well to present his Recuerdo, a piece for solo guitar that he dedicated to the Spanish pedagogue around 1840. This ‘recollection’ – the literal translation of the work’s title – immerses us in the Spanish guitar aesthetic of the early decades of the nineteenth century, so highly prized by the Paris of the late Restoration period: at that time, the French capital reaped the benefit of the exile of a certain number of Spanish musicians fleeing the last phase of the reign of Ferdinand VII and its repressions (the Década Ominosa). The sensibility of the work, a blend of melancholy and gentleness, does indeed call for interpreters who can do rather more than make their instruments jangle.

    Person - 1
  • FOSSA, François de (1775-1849)
  • Theme - 1
  • Strings – The guitar in the nineteenth century