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Sonata J - Manuel M. Ponce Sor Guitar Sonata | Written by the middle of 1923, at a request of Andrés Segovia, this work marks the beginning of the production, during this century, of guitar sonatas. In it, Ponce employs in his four movements a style close to impressionism. This is not strange since Ponce already knew Debussy's music, as proved by his Scherzino written for piano in 1912 within the Debussy style and dedicated to him. And even his piano pupils, Carlos Chavez among them, played a complete recital in June of that year with works of the French composer. The only surviving manuscript of this first guitar sonata was copied by Segovia himself in blue ink and bears his own fingering for the left hand. Ponce’s original manuscript was destroyed in Barcelona in 1936 during the Civil Spanish War The sonata begins with an Allegro moderato, written in A major and in 2/4, with the indication of humoristico under the first bar and instead of beginning on the A major chord, begins with a minor seventh constructed on B. Ponce uses his musical dexterity for not arriving at the A major chord until bar 131, twelve measures before the ending of this first movement that has a subtle and delicious tonal vagueness that will prevail during the whole work. The first theme is based on a very simple motif, in eighth notes, that appears during the first two measures which is quite similar to the theme of the villancico from Guanajuato Salve, niio hermoso. In the second theme Ponce employs a hemiola resulting in a syncopation before the strong beat and the development is based, entirely on the first theme, being rather short and reminding us of the developments written by Debussy in his last sonatas. In the re-exposition, that follows the procedures of the sonata form, I have omitted the harmonics used by Segovia in his manuscript for the second theme, considering that they do not agree 01 gundo tema, pot considerar que no van de acuerdo con el caracter del mismo, suposicién que me fue confirmada recientemente al ofr la grabacién de esta obra hecha por Segovia en Ma- did en julio de 1962, yon la cual él mismo no los toca; tampoco aparecen en el manuscrito los rasgueados que atiade en la grabac Enel segundo movimiento, Andantino affectuoso, esctito en Re mayor y en 5/8, ota inno- vaci6n en la literatura guitarristica, aparece un acorde equivocado en el primer tiempo del se- gundo compas, segtin la edicién publicada en 1967 por Peer International Corporation, edita- da por Carlos Vacque? y revisada y digitata por Manuel L pez Ramos. Después de haber plati- cada con él, y de que me asegurara que él no habia hecho cambios para la edicién y respetando incluso, dentro de 1o posible, la digitacion de Segovia, Hegueé a la conclusion de que esto se de- bid, probablemente, a un error del copista, ya que en el manuscrito aparecen dos sostenidos juntos, para el Fayel La, mismos que el copista debe haber subido por error al La yel Si, resul- tando un interesante acorde basado en la escala por tonos, pero que no corresponde a lo escri- to por Ponce. En su grabacisn, Segovia también hace cambios en los compases 2 y 3, simplifi- cando elacorde equivocado de la edicién de Peer, pero agreganco el Si sostenido, bajando una octava el acorde inicial del rercer compas, asf como el Sol sostenido que le sigue e ignorando también los sonidos armadnicos de su propio manusctito, que si aparecen en la edicion de 1967. En este movimiento Ponce hace gala nuevamente de su habilidad arménica, usando una esca- Ia cromética ascendente y descendente en el bajo, donde el acorde-de Re mayor no aparece hasta el final, después de un silencio de todo un compas que hace las veces de cadencia silen- ciosa, y que Segovia omite cn su grabacién, puc: que cambia todo cl final, amén de otros cambios, cuya enumeracién resultaria prokija Eltercer movimiento, Allegretto, quasi serenata, fue la primera pieza escrita por Ponce para la guitarra y resultado de su primera entrevista con Segovia, quien al saber que Ponce era com- positor le pidié que esctibiera algo paca su instrumento. El resultado fue este pequetio trozo que, despues de contar con la aprobacion de Segovia, fue seguido de los otros movimientos que integran la sonata. Escrito en 3/8 yen La menor, viene a rener un cierto parentesco con critos en 3/8, con un movimiento conti- Lat sérémacle iwerrompue de Debussy. Ambos estén e tuo en dobles corcheas, tienen una linea cantubile en octavos, un ambiente de serenata y una atmésfera arménica similar; excepto que Ponce, al final, en lugar de interrumpir la serenata, hace una cita de Vamos a tomar atole, que es un fragmento del Jarabe Tapatio, como propician do de manera simmbélica el inicio de la amistad con Segovia. El manuscrito que he empleado para este movimiento es el original de Ponce, el cual difiere, en mas de un aspecto, como po- dr4 verse, del manuscrito de Segovia usado para la publicacion de Peer. En el taltimo movimiento, Allegretto un poco vivace, Ponce regresa a la tonalidad de La ma- 02 with its character, a suspicion that was confirmed recently when [heard the recording of this sonata, made by Segovia in July of 1962, and in which he does not play them; also the easgueados that he plays in that recording do not appear in his manuscrip: In the second movement Andantino affectuoso, writien in 5/8, another innovation in the guitar literature, and in D major, a wrong chord appears on the first heat of the second measure in the edition published in 1967 by Peer Intemational Corporation and edited by Carlos Vazquez with the revision and fingesing of Manuel Lope: Ramos. After consulting with Lépez Ramos, he assured me that he made no changes for the edition and that he even respected, whenever possible, Segovia’ fingering. Consequently, I came to the conch ion that the mistalee was probably due to the engraver since in the manuscript two sharps appear together for F and A, sharps that he might have copied wrongly for A and B resulting in an interesting chord based on the whole tone scale but not corresponding to what Ponce wrote. Segovia also made changes in his recording of measures 2 and 3, simplifying the wrong chord of the Peer edition but adding the B sharp; and also transposing down an octave the initial chord of the 3rd measure as well as the G sharp thar follows, ignoring. the harmonics of his own manuscript that did appear in the 1967 edition. In this movement Ponce shows again his harmonic ability using an ascending and descending chromatic scale in the bass, the D major chord not appearing imtil the end, after a rest of a whole measure that serves as a sort ofssilent cadence. This rest was ignored by Segovia inh recording, since he changed all the ending, amongst other things that would require too much space to enumerate hete. The third movement Allegretto, quasi serenata was the first piece written by Ponce for the guitar and the result of his first meeting with Segovia, who knowing that Ponce was a composer asked hin to write something for his instrument. The outcome was this little piece thar after heing approved by Segovia was followed by the other movements that comprise the sonata. Written in 3/8 and in A minor itis related to La sérénade interrompue by Debussy. Both are written in 3/8, with a continuous movement in sixteenth notes, both have a cantabile in eighth notes, both have a serenade ambiance and a similar harmonic atmosphere, except that Ponce at the end, instead of interrupting the serenade makes a quotation of Vamos a tomar atole,a fragment of the Jarabe Tapatio, as a sort of symbolic propitiation for the beginning of his friendship with Segovia. The manuscript that I used for this thitd movement is Ponce’s original, which is different, as can be scen, from the Segovia manuscript that was used for the Peer publication. In the last movement Allegretto un poco vivace, within the rondo form, Ponce goes back to the A major key and employs for the principal theme a motif derived from the first theme of the opening movement, although this time it appears in A major. Afterwards, in the second 03 yor, sitviéndose de la form rand, y en el tema principal emplea un motivo derivado del pri- mer tema del primer movimiento, aungue esta ve? sf lo inicia con el acorde de La mayor. Pos- reriormente, en el segundo episodio, hace una cita textual de este tema, lo que viene a darle un carfeter cfclico a esta obra. La coda est construida con una serie de acordes paralelos, so- “bre un pedal de dominante, procedimiento empleado por Ponce en algunas de sus obras poste- riores, como el final del desarrollo del primer tiempo de la Sonatina o el final del Homenaje a ‘Térrega, En este tiltimo movimiento he suprimido los sonidos arménicos puestos pot Segovia elt en la reaparicién del ema principal, asf como las indicaciones del rasgueado, que también fue- ron omitidas por Manuel Lépez Ramos en Ia edicién de 1967. Resulta curioso que en la década de los afios setenta, de acuerdo a varios programas publi- cados en el segundo volumen del interesante libro de Graham Wade y Gerard Gamo A New Look at Segovia. His Life & His Music (Pacific, MO: Mel Bay Publications, 1997) Segovia estu- vo tocando esta sonata, pero exchuyendo el tercer movimiento y dandole tétulos programati- cos—practica muy de su agrado—a los tres tiempos restantes. Asi, el primer tiempo fue bau- tizado: Bailecito del rebozo; el segundo: Lo que sueria el ahwehusete; y el cuarto: Ritmos y cantos az- tecas Segovia qued6 satisfecho con este print opus guitarsistico de Ponce, y su estreno tuvo lu- gar en Madrid el mismo atio de su composicidn, de acuerdo a una carta sin fecha y sélo con la anotacién 1923, en la que Segovia todavia le hablaba de usted « Ponce Ademas me complazco en aprovechar la ecasién de haber tocado recientemente en Madrid su bella Sonata, con aplauso del ptiblico, asentimiznto de la critica y admiracién cfusiva de los miisicas. Le mando a Usted prueba de las tres cosas: el ptiblico me la ha pedido de nuevo, los erie kicos la han alabado sin pedanterie ni restricciones, y como ejemplo del gusto de los musices le citaré el de Falla, ante el cual toqué el andauite y el final, sin precederlos del nombre del autor, y estaba verdaderamente encantado, Su contento no distainuyé cuasido supo que era de Usted y cuando le afiadi que Usted sentia por él grande y justa admiracion. Elmotivo de no haberla in cluido en mis programas antes, (ya que ha pesado no me importa decfrselo) ha sido porgue en: uno de mis viajes perdf una malera llena de mitsica y libros y no la he recuperado hasta hace cins Ni guardé copia de la Sonata, ya digitada, ni querfa fiar de mi memoria. habiendo desaparecido los manuscritos. Afortunadamente todo esté ya subsanedo, ya partir de esta primera auidicién madrilefia, seguir siendo una de las obras preferidas del repertoria, Pero no cren Usted que solicitar mas cosas, quiero limitarme-a la Sonata ya la ingeniosa Velensina. Vuelvoa Usted par porque todas son necesatias pata mis numerosos conciertos y en todos quiero ver su nombre 04 episode, he makes a textual quotation of this theme giving this sonata a cyclical form. The coda is built on a series of parallel chords on a dominant pedal, a procedure employed by Ponce in some of his later works, like the end of the development of the first movement of the Sonatina or the ending of the Homenaje a Térrega. In this last movement, | have suppressed the harmonics added by Segovia for the re-exposition of the principal theme, as well as the rasgueado that was also left out by Manuel Lépez Ramos in the 1967 edition. Iris peculiar that in the 70s, according to several programs published in the second volume of the interesting book by Graham Wade and Gerard Garno, A New Look at Segovia His Life @ His Music (Pacific MO: Mel Bay Publication, 1997) Segovia was playing this sonata but excluding the third movement and giving programmatic titles to the other three. So the first movement was baptized: Bailecito del Reboxo; the second: Lo Que Sueria el Ahuehuete; and the fourth: Ritmos y Cantos Aztecas. Segovia was pleased with this first guitar opus by Ponce and it was premiered in Madrid the same year of its composition, according to an undated letter of 1923 in which Segovia still addressed Ponce in the formal way: Besides I am happy to use the occasion of having played recently in Madrid your beautiful sonata with the public's applause, the critics’ assent and the warm admiration of the musicians. [ am sending you a proof of all these three: the public has asked for it again, the critics have praised it without restriction and as an example of the musicians’ liking I will quote Falla, for whom I played the andante and the finale without telling him the name of the composer and he was truly enchanted. His contentment 1 snot diminished when he knew it had been written by you and when I added that you felt towards him great and just admiration, The reason for not having included it before in my programs (since now it has passed I do not mind telling you) has been that in one of my journeys I lost a suitcase full of music and books and it was not recovered until a few days ago. Thad not kept a copy of the fingered sonata and I did not want to trust my memory after the manuscripts’ disappearance, Fortunately everything is arranged and after this Madrid audition it will be one of the preferred works of my repertoire. 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