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Composer, theorist and guitarist Gaspar Sanz was born in Calanda in Aragón in 1640, and in 1674, in Zaragoza, he published the first edition of his Instrucción de música sobre la guitarra española (Musical Instruction for the Spanish Guitar), containing numerous compositions. Sanz’s music reveals him to have been a key figure in bridging two different musical traditions – the Spanish and the Italian. We know from his own testimony that music from outside Spain was being performed in Zaragoza in his lifetime, and the cultural influence of Austria, with its leanings for the Italian style, would also have been felt in the city at that time.
His book, at once a collection of music and a method, was addressed to both aficionados and beginners, as well as professional musicians. It contains practical and innovative advice on harmony, counterpoint and continuo practice for accompanying soloists and dancers, his vast musical knowledge and creativity demonstrated in numerous original compositions and national and foreign songs. While the origins of the latter lie in the folk tradition, by the time Sanz published the Instrucción de música, these had already long been part of the art music from which Sanz drew his inspiration. Having travelled the continent extensively, much of his musical education took place in Italy, and he would have encountered these songs and dances there in instrumental versions.
Italian classical guitarist Alberto Mesirca was hailed as ‘prodigiously talented’ in Classical Guitar Magazine, and Kenneth Keaton of American Record Guide praised his album Scarlatti Sonatas as ‘the best Scarlatti I’ve heard on solo guitar’. He is a two-time winner of the “Golden Guitar” Award: for Best Recording in 2007 and as Best Upcoming Artist of the Year in 2009.
With this two-CD set, he has recorded all of Sanz’s punteado (plucked) music for guitar, together with the corresponding rasgueado (strummed) parts or dances. He includes his own arrangements of the dances ‘La tarantela’ and ‘Baile de Mantua’, which Sanz published in strummed versions only.
Gaspar Sanz (1640-1710) was born in Calanda, Aragón in Spain. As a young student he went to Italy to learn his craft and art, and studied with the masters in Rome and Naples. His most important publication was published in 1674: “Instrucción de música sobre la guitarra española” (Musical instruction for the Spanish Guitar).
This publication contains theoretical information, instructions on technical aspects of the instrument and its way of playing, and a great number of compositions. The publication had far reaching influence on generations of guitar players to come. This new recording presents the compositions from the manuscript, a wide variety of fugues and mainly dances: the Passacalle, Coriente, Zarabanda, Jiga and other popular dances, with roots in the rich folk music of both Spain and Italy.
Master guitarist Alberto Mesirca is twice winner of the Golden Guitar, for the best recording of the Year. He recorded the complete guitar music by Regondi and “Voces de Sefarad” , four centuries of Sephardic Songs.