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HV Sonata IV

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Written between December of 1927 and]anuary of 1928, and dcdicated to Fernando Sor who
,~ ..Jr- was baptized by Fétis as "the Beethoven of the guitar", this work follows the formal features
~la and stvle of the Beethoven epoch, besides marking the start of the neo-classical period in the
guitar output of Ponce.
lp-tJ;a- The first movement is written in A minor and the first theme has, in the manner of a
.ruoal counter subject, an ostinato in the bass, a procedure that reminds us of the treatment that was
c~te given to the kettle drum in some of the symphonies of the classical periodo This rhythmic
~lde- figure of repeated notes, present in the whole allegro, serves as a transition for the second
')- therne and we find it again in the development where it gains major importance to take us
mali- back, by means of a dominant pedal, to the re-exposition where it reappears. The second
'n movement has the tonality of the relative major and Ponce recreates a contemplative
ercer Beethoven-like ambiance, having perhaps in mind the cornparison of Sor with Beethoven.
.1- The third movernent is also written in C major and remits us to the characteristic joy of some
.om- of the Sor minuets and in particular to the festive character of the minuet of the Grand Sonata
_o op, 22 written in the same key. The rondo takes us back to A major and has some kinship with
the rondo of this Sor sonata; the second theme is based on a motive of the first movement of
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this work by Sor, a procedure that is employed by Ponce to manifest his homage to the
~ creative genius of the great Catalonian composer.
uuer Only three pages of this sonata remain in the Ponce archive and they contain the first draft
~- of the first movement and no more than twelve measures of the second. In an undated letter
of the end of 1927 Segovia writes to Ponce:


Do not forget to scnd me the Sonata if you finish it before the Zóth, because in one day 1can
read it and take it later to Paris with the small changes that it rnight need. If the andante is
ready, send it. And if not, try to finish the complete work for the 26th, and so if the sea is not toa
rough, 1can study ir on the ship.

1forgot to tell you rhat perhaps it would not be bad to ha ve a minuer before the final rondo.
Take a look at the Sonata vou ha ve there, it has four moverncnts. And another one that he has
written in e majar, which you do not know, or perhaps you bave heard me play it once 01' twice:
it has also four movernents. Your Sor sonata must follow the sarne exarnple ...

And in another letter from New York, undated ancl of the foUowing month, he tells him:

1 have already played in public twicc, thc Tliemc variée et Finale tbat has been very much
liked. On the 29th 1have another recital in which your two sonaras wil! be included: Sor in the
first part (to which 1had to add the Sor rondo in e rnajor) and the III in thc last recital. The Sor
one 1 just announce it as by Sor, without adding first audition, or anything, so that the door
remains open to makc it in Europe as you prcfcr. It is beautiful. Ir sounds very well. However 1
wouldlike you to change thc bridge for rhe second thcme, the rentrée, and perhaps the coda. 1
also would like rhe development to be more extended. And finish the Rondo because 1 am
willing to work on it in order that the sonata can be cornpleted.
1add these lines to my letter. 1beg you to have thc rondo ready (01' my arrival. 1leave on the i
l óth on the Deutschland. (16 February of course). If you have a copy of rhe first movement of I
the Sonata, make a bridge to arrive at the second therne. Write also a gracious design on the
rentrée for the principal theme after the development and make rhis more extended, without I
touching at all whar is already written, which 1 like a lor. Perhaps another coda. 1do not want
any unbalance betwecn the first ternpo of the sonata and the last one, 1want them both to be
equally important. Besides, since 1have the fortune that an actual Sor with more talent than his
predecessor writes a sonata for the guitar, 1don't want this sonata to be less than any other by
Haydn for the piano. 1 beg you then earnestly to do as 1sayo

At the beginning of March in a letter written in Montreux he says:

The rondo is ready. Ir 1S gracious, witty and extraordinarily suited for the guitar. 1 thought
you would send the first movernent with the corrections. 1beg you -don't take too long to send
it since now that everything is studied, 1would like to play it in Italy.

And finally, on 17 March he tells him from Florence:

And the sonata? Send it for whatever you love most. .. From the 20th to the 23rd 1will be in
Rome at the Plaza Hotel. Do not send it without keeping a copy. Ir is safer.

sica y Segovia published the sonata in 1929 with B. Schott's Sóhne under the title of Sonata
Clásica but did not make.the recording until June of 1967 in Madrid.



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