Putting It All Together
After a number of years of experience in this field, I have found that certain
pieces have a magic quality to them that draws people to the guitar. Some are difficult,
such as the tremolo study mentioned above, or the Asturias of Albéniz that is the
goal of many players; but some are more approachable, providing they are systematically
studied and practiced, and still have a magic quality when they are played well.
Some years ago I was in Alicante, in Southern Spain, enjoying an excellent flamenco
performance in an old castle. During a break, the guitarist came over to meet our
group and I was introduced as a classical player. Immediately he asked if I could
show him a certain piece that he was obsessed with learning. He was a wonderful
player, but didn’t read music at all. He played his impression of the first measure,
and I recognized a study by Fernando Sor. The session went on until about 4 A.M.,
and at every break the guitarist came over to learn and memorize another few measures.
The purpose of telling this story is twofold—first, that it is terribly frustrating
to be a good guitarist with no reading skills, and second, that Sor’s Study in B
Minor, op. 35, no. 22, is a knockout piece worth studying at any level.