"So Wonderful, So Nice": Guitar Classics by Sor and Regondi
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For his third album, Nicholas Ciraldo chose to highlight some of the best, most iconic works by Fernando Sor (1778-1839) and Giulio Regondi (1823-1872). Ciraldo has always been a huge fan and longtime interpreter of Sor's music and is delighted to release more music by this composer. After a long period of listening to Romantic piano music by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, and Chopin, Nicholas Ciraldo was also inspired to record some of the best concert etudes by Regondi. In effect, this is Ciraldo's "19th century album."
This album was released not in a plastic "jewel case," wrapped in even more plastic. Instead, it comes in a cardboard "jacket" without wrapping. Another eco-minded touch was that the album used no additional paper for liner notes. Rather, everything is all here on this page. This format can provide much more comprehensive and interactive information about an album. Hopefully, it will inspire other recording artists to do the same.
Sonata in C Major, Opus 22, by Fernando Sor
5. Introduction and Variations on a Theme by Mozart, Opus 9, by Fernando Sor
Ten Etudes for Guitar, by Giulio Regondi
6. Etude No. 8 in G Major, Allegretto con moto
7. Etude No. 4 in E Major, Adagio
8. Etude No. 10 in A Major, Allegretto moderato
Twelve Etudes, Opus 6, by Fernando Sor
9. Etude No. 12 in A Major
"Sonata in C Major, Opus 22"
Of his over sixty compositions for guitar, Sor wrote only two full-scale sonatas, the Opus 22 being his first. In fact, this work is one of the only traditional, four-movement sonatas for guitar, by any composer, from that era. The Allegro shows excellent Classial balance, sonata-allegro form, and flair. The Adagio, one of the longest slow movements from that time, is emotional and evocative. The Minuetto (minuet and trio) offers a light response to the previous movement and sets up well the Rondo-Allegretto, which is full of humor and surprise.
"Introduction and Variations on a Theme by Mozart, Opus 9"
According to Brian Jeffrey, Fernando Sor may have composed his "Introduction and Variations on a Theme by Mozart, Opus 9" after hearing The Magic Flute in London. Meissonnier, Sor's main publisher in France, released this guitar masterpiece twice (in two versions) in the 1820s. The "Mozart Variations," as it is often called, has become one of the most popular, if not the most popular, theme and variations piece for guitarists. Not everyone, though, is familiar with the location of the exact operatic source of the theme: near the end of Act I of the famous German opera, Tamino, the hero, is about to be captured, until Papageno, Tamino's magical sidekick, enters and plays a hypnotizing tune on magical bells, successfully (and comically) lulling the enemy into a silly trance. Want to hear the original theme? Check out one such example, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvieQiDf2i8. It was this little melody that Sor used for his theme and variations. The title of the original song is "Das klinget so herrlich, das klinget so schön!" and, loosely translated, means, "That sounds so wonderful, that sounds so nice!" This is the inspiration for Ciraldo's album's title, "So Wonderful, So Nice."
Etudes 8, 4, and 10, from "10 Etudes for Guitar"
Giulio Regondi started his career auspiciously as a child prodigy of both the guitar and the concertina but struggled after his promoter/duo partner/adoptive father left him. "The Great Regondi" nonetheless managed to write some of the most beautiful Romantic works for guitar, and his ten concert etudes are no exception. No. 8 is a study in melodic lyricism amidst accompanying arpeggios, while No. 4 focuses on slowly-developing melodies that soar above block chords. No. 10 is a bit of a show-stopper, with virtuosic material that permeates almost the entire work.
"Etude No. 12 in A Major, Opus 6"
The last work on this album is a slow, quiet, and sublime work, which completes a dozen "early" etudes by Sor. Some may know this work as "Study No. 14," as Segovia actually renamed it as such in his famous (infamous?) publication of twenty Sor etudes. It is a sweet, reflective ending to a challenging, rewarding project.
Nicholas Ciraldo was honored and grateful to record in the sanctuary of Temple B'nai Israel of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It provided excellent acoustics and a warm environment.
For more information about TBI, go here.
Christopher Lowry of CDL Sound recorded, edited, mixed, and mastered all recordings for this project.
Oktava Mk-012 with cardioid capsules (matched pair)
Shure KSM27 (large-diaphragm cardioid condenser)
CAD M179 (large-diaphragm multi-pattern condenser, set
in figure-of-8 pattern)
Avenson Audio STO-2 (omnidirectional condenser, matched pair)
Rode NT5 with cardioid capsules (matched pair)
RME Fireface 802 interface
Focusrite Scarlett Octopre
[Headphones: Sennheiser HD280s]
2018 Mac Mini, 6-core i7 processor
Logic Pro X (DAW)
Izotope RX6 (Audio Editor)
Main pair: Mid-Side configuration using KSM27 as the mid and the M179 in figure-of-8 as the side - placed about 5-6 feet out from the stage area, 6 feet up and aimed at the center of the stage.
Spot mics: Oktava Mk-012s on stereo bar in XY configuration, on a floor stand about 3 feet up and 3 feet away, pointed at body of guitar, below the sound hole.
Rooms: ORTF configuration using NT5s on a four-mic stereo bar; about 7 feet out and 10 feet up, pointing down towards the stage area.
Ambients: Spaced pair of STO-2s on same four-mic bar as the NT5s (~7' out, 10' up), pointing straight ahead at the back wall.
Izotope RX6 used to reduce ambient room noise
Impulse responses were taken by recording clap sounds at various positions in the room; these were used to create a subtle reverb to use on the spot mics in order to match the tone of the room mics.
To contact Chris Lowry for recording or musical services, click here.
THE GUITAR (AND STRINGS)
Nicholas Ciraldo recorded this album with a guitar made in 2015 by American luthier Stephan Connor, #286, named, by Connor: "Desear." The strings: Savarez Alliance Hard Tension trebles and D'Addario Pro-Arte Regular Tension basses. This is Ciraldo's first album made with this guitar and is his main instrument.
For more information about Connor guitars, click here.
To Rachel, with all of my heart.