FERNANDO SOR: Guitar Sonatas = Grande Sonata Op. 25; Sonata; Grand Solo; Grande Sonata – Ricardo Gallen, guitar – Eudora

FERNANDO SOR: Guitar Sonatas = Grande Sonata, Op. 25; Sonata, Op. 15; Grand Solo, Op. 14; Grande Sonata, Op. 22m – Ricardo Gallen, guitar – Eudora multichannel SACD EUD-SACD 1401, 74:58 [10/14/15] ****:

This is a lovely performance and recording of the guitar music of Fernando Sor. Sor, who died in 1839, was both a well known classical guitarist and a composer. He’s generally though of as strictly a composer for the guitar, but in fact, Sor wrote an opera, a ballet and compositions for strings and for full orchestras.

The works are performed by Ricardo Gallen. He studied guitar and ancient music at the Universities of Salzburg (Mozarteum) and Munich with the Masters Fisk, Eglhuber, Spiri, Gilbert, Huebscher and Clerch, graduating in 1999 in the Master Class (Konzertexam) at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich, Germany with Joaquín Clerch. He has given recitals and played in concerts with more than 25 orchestras under the direction of well-known conductors such as Sergiu Comisiona, Leo Brouwer, En Shao, Monica Huggett and Jordi Savall.

The performances on this disc is passionate and well-played. I suppose some would consider the disc background music, but I found it quite enjoyable and worth engaging more directly by listening intently and taking in the sonorous melodies and performance.

As a recording, it’s quite good and the production decisions work well with this type of music. The sound gives us a guitar in a large acoustic space. It doesn’t appear to have been closely miked. The 5.0 recording provides only a hint of ambiance for the surrounds, so as a result they keep the focus up front where the guitar is centered between the front speakers. I have no center channel in my listening room, but the phantom center is quite stable. I listened to the disc CD layer and found the high end just a bit subdued. I also listened to the DSD mix direct, and it sounded identical to the PCM version.

This disc is the inaugural release on the new Eudora Records label and it’s a worthwhile listen. Sor’s music’s always a delight and Gallen is a fine performer who honors the music with this fine high resolution addition to the catalog.

—Mel Martin

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