[Read reviews here]


William Feasley, guitar

Catalog #S022587CD [DDD]

Fernando Ferandiere
Minuet, Allemanda, Rondo,
Contradanza de los Currutacos
Fernando Sor
Gran Solo op. 14
Enrique Granados
Intermezzo from the opera "Goyescas"
Tonadilla "La Maja de Goya"
from the opera "Goyescas"
Angelo Gilardino
Soledad (Omaggio a Francisco Goya)
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Caprichos de Goya op. 195 (Books 1 & 3)

Program Notes

Francisco de Goya is one of the greatest masters that Spain has ever produced and is considered the "Father of Modern Art". His works changed the way artists would interpret the world. His paintings and drawings spread on a span of 60 years covering from about the last half of the 18th century to the first quarter of the 19th century, and portray a celebration of life and a realistic view of the world. He set the pattern for the art of the 19th century, the century of wild romanticism and unsparing realism. His highly original and unfettered technique, which reached its zenith in the "Black Paintings", was taken up by Manet, the first of the Impressionists, and by his followers. Goya's choice of subject matter was unhampered by traditions. In fact, the right of the painter to record his innermost visions, even if they led him into the depths of nightmare, was claimed by Goya for the first time and its possibilities have not yet been exhausted. Goya was born in Fuendetodos in the province of Zaragoza, on March 30, 1746. His father was a painter and a gilder of altarpieces, and his mother was descended from a family of minor Aragonese nobility. Goya attended school in Saragossa at the Escuelas Pias. His formal artistic education commenced when, at the age of 14, he was apprenticed to a local master, José Luzan, a competent although little-known painter in whose studio Goya spent four years. In 1763, he travels to Madrid. After several failed attempts to enroll in the Royal Academy of San Fernando, Goya travels to Italy. His activity there is relatively obscure; he spent some months in Rome and entered a composition at the Parma Academy competition, in which he was successful. Returning to Spain in the decade of the 1770s, Goya paints frescoes in several churches of his native province. He finally enrolls in the Royal Academy and later is named the King Charles III's painter. He soon became well-known for his splendid portraits and served as director of painting at the Royal Academy from 1795 to 1797. By 1799, Goya becomes the official Chamber painter of King Charles IV. However, by this time, he had suffered an illness, which left him deaf, and his alienation from the pomposity of the Court began.

During the Napoleonic invasion and the Spanish war of independence from 1808 to 1814, Goya served as court painter to the French. He expressed his horror of armed conflict in The Disasters of War, a series of starkly realistic etchings on the atrocities of war. They were not published until 1863, long after Goya's death. Upon the restoration of the Spanish monarchy, Goya was pardoned for serving the French, but the new King of Spain, Ferdinand VII, did not favor his work. He was called before the Inquisition to explain his earlier portrait of The Naked Maja, one of the few nudes in Spanish art at that time. In 1816, he published his etchings on bullfighting, called the Tauromaquia. From 1819 to 1824, Goya lived in seclusion in a house outside Madrid. Free from court restrictions, he adopted an increasingly personal style. In the "Black Paintings", executed on the walls of his house, Goya gave expression to his darkest visions. The title "Black Paintings" in many ways describes the mood of the work more than the actual colors. "Black Paintings" have made a profound impact on the world. Some observers have been thoroughly offended by the paintings and have deemed them repulsive and even "satanic." Others have found them to be captivating and inspirational. A similar nightmarish quality haunts the satirical Disparates, a series of etchings also called Proverbios. In 1824, after the failure of an attempt to restore liberal government, Goya went into voluntary exile in France. He settled in Bordeaux, continuing to work until his death there on April 16, 1828. No one painter can claim such influence not just with generations of visual artists but with those in all the arts, including most especially composers, as Francisco Goya. We will try and see Goya through a musical journey with those who shared his footsteps from an obscure Spanish village to the absolute zenith of his profession as the most revered and popular painter in the court of the King of Spain, those who shared his patronage and perhaps also some of his inspiration and those who were inspired by his art to and let it speak in the musical language of their day.

Fernando Ferandiere (ca 1750 - 1816) was born in Zamora (not far from Goya's birthplace) and like Goya, moved to Madrid in search of patronage and a wider audience for his art. Whether he found it is not known but he left behind "Arte de Tocar La Guitarra Espanola por Musica" or the art of playing music on the Spanish guitar, from which four pieces were selected - Minuet, Allemanda, Rondo and Contradanza de los Currutacos. The last piece - The Contradance of the Dudes - is of particular interest as it mirrors Goya's ridicule of the European dandyism that was prevalent in Spanish society of the time.

Fernando Sor was born sometime in February of 1778. The exact date is not known, but it is known that he was baptized on February 14, 1778 in Barcelona, Spain as José Fernando Macarurio Sors. He was some thirty years younger than Goya but shared a patroness in the beautiful and enigmatic Duchess of Alba. The Duchess' husband was an enthusiastic aficionado of music and upon his death in 1784, she continued the patronage of various musicians and artists including Sor and Goya. The Duchess was rather different from other aristocrats who supported the arts. Instead of pressuring him to write exclusively for her, she gave Sor a study in her house and let him work on his own pieces at his own speed. In 1808 at the height of Napoleon's reign, the French army invaded Spain. After the Spanish armies were defeated, Sor accepted an administrative post with the new French government. A few years later, the Spanish army finally defeated the French and drove them out. Sor felt compelled to leave his home country, as did many other Spanish artists and aristocrats who had somehow befriended the French. He followed the French back to Paris where he composed the major portion of his guitar works; over one hundred are known to exist. In 1815, Sor went to England and by 1822, he became an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music. Sor's musical ambitions then took him to Russia, arriving in Moscow in November of 1823. His talents were soon appreciated and before long he was mixing with the highest level of Russian society, playing for the mother of Tsar Alexander I and the Royal family, and producing the premiere of his ballet Cendrillon. By 1827, Sor was again living in Paris. The guitar was enjoying a revival of popularity and other famous guitarist/composers such as Dionisio Aguado (1784-1849) and Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841) were in the French capital at this time. Sor struck up a friendship with Aguado that prompted many of Sor's duet pieces, which they frequently performed together. Fernando Sor's last years were not happy ones. Both his wife and daughter died suddenly, one very shortly before the other. He himself died on July 8 1839. Buried in the cemetery of Montmartre, Paris, in the tomb of a friend, with no inscription, the last resting-place of the greatest guitar composer of the nineteenth century was not identified until 1934.

Enrique Granados was born in Lérida, Spain in 1867. He studied the piano and composition in Barcelona and then in Paris, returning to Barcelona in 1889. Granados won distinction as a pianist and popularity in Spain with his contributions to the form of zarzuela (musical theater). Later, Granados dedicated himself almost exclusively to the piano, as Chopin had done before him. Indeed, Chopin was a great hero to Granados. Granados came to prominence with the publication of the six piano works that form his Goyescas (1911), inspired by the paintings and etchings of Goya. Later, Fernando Periquet wrote a libretto based on the scenes from Goya's paintings, and Granados used the music of his piano suite for an opera, Goyescas. Its premiere took place, in the presence of the composer, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, on January 28, 1916, with great success. Granados was asked to stay on and play for the President. He cancelled his return passage and arranged for later travel. After crossing the Atlantic, he boarded the S.S. Sussex for passage across the English Channel. En route, the Sussex was torpedoed by a German submarine. According to witnesses, Granados did make it onto a life raft, but saw his wife struggling in the water and leapt in to save her. He drowned in the attempt to save her. Granados' Intermezzo and other numbers from the opera "Goyescas", either in orchestral form, as a duet for cello and piano, or in arrangement for solo guitar have proved viable in the concert hall.

Angelo Gilardino was born in Vercelli, Italy in 1941. His career as a concert guitarist began in 1958. In 1981, Gilardino retired from the concert stage in order to dedicate himself to teaching and composition. As a composer, he has published a collection of sixty "Studies of Virtuosity and Transcendence"(five volumes), two sonatas, three cycles of variations, four concertos for guitar ensemble, a concerto for guitar and orchestra and a concerto for mandolin, guitar and orchestra. In 1996 he was awarded the "Composizione per Chitarra 1995" Prize at the Convegno Nazionale di Chitarra at Pesaro, Italy. Gilardino is a Professor at the Music Lyceum "G. B. Viotti" in Vercelli. He also teaches at the State Conservatory "Antonio Vivaldi" in Alessandria, Italy and the "Accademia Superiore Internazionale di Musica Lorenzo Perosi" in Biella, Italy. In 1997, Angelo Gilardino was entrusted with the artistic direction of the "Andrés Segovia" Foundation in Linares, Spain. He has expressed his guitar methodology in two published books about guitar technique "The Technique of the Guitar" and "The Grammar of the Guitar". He has devoted himself also to historical studies, publishing a handbook about modern and contemporary guitar history and a large number of articles and essays. Omaggio a Francisco Goya "Soledad" (c. 1972) by Angelo Gilardino echoes with the impenetrable bleakness of Goya's "Black Paintings" period.

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco was born in Florence, Italy in 1895. He studied at the Cherubini Institute with del Valle and Pizzetti. He began to compose at an early age and attained considerable eminence in Italy between the two wars, and his music was often heard at European festivals. Political events forced him to leave Italy. In 1939 he settled in the United States and in 1946 became a naturalized citizen. Like many other European composers in exile, he turned his hand to film music, but continued to write large amounts of orchestral and chamber music. When his contract with MGM expired, he did not renew it, but chose to become a free-lance composer. Castelnuovo-Tedesco was a very prolific composer. He made particularly useful additions to the solo guitar repertoire, notably in two concertos for solo guitar and one for two guitars, as well as a Capriccio diabolico, a tribute to the demon violinist Paganini. He died in Los Angeles in 1968. 24 Caprichos de Goya is one of the most original and monumental works for solo guitar. The 24 pieces were inspired by Los Caprichos, a series of 80 satirical prints in etching and acquaint by Franciso Goya. The 24 Caprichos were completed in 1967, a year before Tedesco's death.

The Caprichos of Goya, published in 1799, went a long way towards establishing him as the father of modern art. Renowned today for their ambiguity and deeply satirical tone, these eighty etchings with aquatint and burin remain among the most complex and intriguing works in the oeuvre of this remarkable artist. Goya had become very ill in 1792 and did the etchings as a way of advertising his regained prowess though the illness had left him almost totally deaf. It was the first series in which the artist was allowed to work in complete freedom, without the servitude of commissioned work, and in which his imagination was given free rein. The series took the form of two albums. The Sanlúcar Album or Album A was completed during his stay at the Duchess of Alba's estate in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The second is known as the Madrid Album or Album B. In these he produced drawings and made notes in ink and wash, which were later passed onto metal sheet. The prints were advertised for sale in the Gaceta de Madrid on February 6, 1799 as "a collection of prints of capricious matters, created and printed in the form of etchings by Don Francisco de Goya". In a long introductory text the author justified his work by affirming that painting could also be a vehicle for the censure of "human errors and vices" in the same way as poetry is. He also defended the creative capacity of the artist as an opponent of "servile copiers". Once they were published Goya feared that the source of his inspiration for the Caprichos might be discovered and lead him into trouble with the political as well as clerical powers to whom the very name of Rousseau and the Enlightenment were anathema. The Caprichos created such a stir that Goya was forced to suspend sales after twenty-seven copies had been bought. Eventually the King stepped in, ordered Goya to give him both the unsold copies and the plates, saying he had "commissioned them", thus sparing Goya from the political right and the Inquisition. Goya called his prints "capricious affairs, which attempted to ridicule, to upbraid prejudice, imposture and hypocrisy and other evils which have been hallowed by time". The first thirty-six prints are representations of love and prostitution, along with the bad manners of children, marriages of convenience, maternal cruelty, avarice, the greed of friars, smuggling, etc. The prints from 37 to 42 revolve around the theme of stupidity. From the 43rd print onwards there is an abundance of witches, goblins, friars, and devils. There are three commentaries, two of them in Goya's handwriting. In each one, there is a clarification of the message that Goya chose to represent in the form of footnotes. The Caprichos spread quickly and were soon known of outside Spain. They became the symbol of the Goyesque style, and demonstrated a new way of representing reality.


[About Sonora Productions] [Purchasing Information] [Artists]
[List of Recordings] [Sonora Catalog] [Sonora's Home Page]
[Return to Top]

Send questions and comments to sonora@sonoraproductions.com

Copyright © 1998 Sonora Producitons. All rights reserved