Guitar Works Volume 4
Introduction & Allegretto
25 Études, Op.38
Études from Complete Method for Guitar by Fernando Sor:
Preludio ( No.11)
Andante ( No.14)
Estudio ( No.13)
Guitar Works Volume 5
La Ronde de Mai, Op.42
Douze Valses, Op.41
Marche Funèbre et Rondeau, Op.43
Marche Funèbre: Maestoso
Souvenir du Jura, Op.44
These two discs found their way to me in quick succession so it seems quite
appropriate to review them together, as they are both volumes in what appears
to be yet another "Complete Works" project by the super budget Naxos label.
It is perhaps unfair to say that Napoléon Coste (1805-1883) languished
because of his association with Fernando Sor (1778-1839) but he never really
caught the imagination of guitarists in the same way as his friend and teacher
did. This is possibly because by the time Coste (who was arguably the best
French guitarist of his day) was at the height of his composing and performing
powers the guitar mania that had flourished, particularly in Paris where
the Spanish guitarists Sor and Dionisio Aguado (1784-1849) and the Italian
Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841) resided, was on the wane.
It was common for guitarist/composers to publish among their works sets of
studies primarily as an aid to technique, but occasionally within this genre
a number found their way into concert programmes (Sor being a case in particular)
. So, in the main, this disc consists of Coste's 25 Études (Studies)
Op.38, works with a didactic purpose, but at the same time hopefully providing
entertainment for the non-guitarist listener.
Études No's 9 and 20 are very much in the vein of Sor and Aguado etc.
( not surprisingly given the background). Many of the others, such as No's
5 and 15, display more of a sense of the Romantic tinted with lyricism but
are no more than pleasant miniatures.
The Introduction and Allegretto is a more developed work using thirds and
sixth intervals with passing chromatic notes.
Generally there isn't a lot here to sustain the interest though Jeffrey Mcfadden,
a regular guitarist for Naxos, gives an authoritative and stylish performance.
Another most capable guitarist is Marc Teicholz who takes us through Guitar
Works Volume 5 of Napoléon Coste where it is "Feuilles D'Automne"
Op, 41 a set of twelve waltzes that at 31 minutes 52 seconds that is allotted
the lion's share of the disc. Again, as in Volume 4, the music seems to miss
that certain ingredient that would prevent it from falling into the mundane.
Some of the pieces ( Op, 45 for example) just over-stay their welcome; there
is little here to fire up any enthusiasm.
I enjoyed Richard Long's booklet notes, which are well researched and
informative, I found them more entertaining than the music.
N.B. To date I have found the best disc by far in this Napoléon Coste
series by Naxos is Volume 3, (8.554355) played by guitarist Pavel Steidl
whose pure artistry transcends the material to display musicianship of the
To confirm this opinion see Colin Cooper's review in Classical Guitar, page
45 November 2000, volume 19, No.3