Manuel Ponce



Manuel María Ponce (1882-1948), was born in Zacatecas, Mexico. He spent his early career composing, conducting, teaching, and writing music criticism in Mexico. He moved to Paris in the 1920s and after studying with the French composer Paul Dukas , Ponce abandoned the genteel salon-music style then prevalent in Mexico, and began applying an impressionistic idiom to works with concise structures and skilled counterpoint. Later on, he developed a nationalistic style in which he expressed his Mexican origins. Ponce was a very close friend of guitarist Andres Segovia, for whom he wrote almost all of his guitar music. His guitar works in this style became standards in the modern guitar repertoire. His other compositions include orchestral, chamber, and piano music and songs, the most famous of which is Estrellita (1914).

The Suite in A for guitar is an exception to Ponce's style because of his motives in writing it. An imitation of the Baroque suite, it was originally recorded by Andres Segovia as Suite by Sylvius Leopold Weiss, a German lutenist-composer and contemporary of J.S. Bach. The title was intended to deceive the audience as to the original composer of the piece. When Fritz Kreisler asked Segovia where he had obtained this piece, Segovia replied: " from the same place as yours", probably referring to compositions which Kreisler himself had attributed to someone else. Although the form of the piece resembles a Baroque suite, the harmonies certainly are more modern, giving it perhaps a neo-Baroque flavor; the last movement, the Gigue, has an Italian tarantella character.


Recordings: Suite in A for guitar, Javier Calderon, guitarist