Fernando Sor set in motion the quest that continues today, to raise the guitar to the greatest musical level possible. Sor was one of the most prolific composers for, and promoters of, the guitar as a "concert" instrument, in the last two hundred years.
Fernando Sor was born into a fairly well off and respected family, 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 `Jose Fernando Macarurio Sors' (Jeffery Sor).
Based on his family's social standing Sor was expected to follow a military career and he did, but he also fell in love with music when his father introduced him to Italian opera. This was to be a great influence on his later musical compositions (Jeffery Composer and Guitarist 13).
Sor's father was also the one to introduce him to the guitar. By the time Sor was eight he was already an accomplished guitarist and musician. His talent was so prevalent at such a young age, it earned him acceptance into the monastery at Montserrat when the new Abbot heard of his musicianship.
Sor was sent to study music and courses to further his military career at the monastery of Montserrat. His parents did not expect him to pursue music as career, but to enter the military or attain an administrative post (Jeffery Composer and Guitarist 14-15).
After his father died, when he was about eighteen, his mother could no longer afford to continue his studies at Montserrat and she withdrew him. Sor returned to Barcelona where he received a commission in the `corps de Villa franca' from General Vives (Jeffery Composer and Guitarist 15). This post must have been rather fortunate for Sor since it provided him with the opportunity and the time to write an opera and some early guitar music. Jeffery points out that Sor most likely received his promotion to full lieutenant as a result of his performance on the piano and guitar. This leads to the assumption that the Spanish army fully supported and encouraged music (15). Sometime around the turn of the century, after spending four years at the military school, Sor left and moved to Madrid. Here he found his first patron, the famous Duchess of Alba who was also the patron of the famous Spanish painter 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.
Estudios Nos. 15, 17, & 22 "A" by Ferdinand Sor arranged for four mallet marimba by Rick Elliott. These six etudes are some of the most idiomatic from this famous collection. These pieces were originally written for guitar but translate nicely to marimba.