Variations on "O Cara armonia" from The Magic Flute by Fernando Sor, adapted/arranged for flute and guitar by Alan Thomas (2013) for flute and guitar

duration: 8:30'

Commissioned by the Cavatina Duo

First Performance: Cavatina Duo, "Live on Stage" concert series, Kellogg, Idaho

Recordings: Cavatina Duo "Cavatina at the Opera" (Bridge Records)

To get the printed score/parts or download in PDF format, please go to my Gumroad shop page


Programme Note

Fernando Sor’s “Variations on a Theme by Mozart” is the prolific Spanish composer’s most well-known solo guitar work, played by every classical guitarist as a delightful display of some of the guitar’s best sounds and tricks. Surprisingly, the melody from “The Magic Flute” on which Sor’s piece is based is one of the least interesting and inspired melodies from the opera—a little tune sung near the end of Act I called “Das klinget so herrlich” which Sor  seems to have known by the Italian translation “O cara armonia”. Nonetheless, the tune’s melodic and harmonic simplicity have nonetheless proved attractive to a great many composers as the basis for virtuosic variation sets (scholars say that over 300 versions have been composed for all manner of instruments).

Given its connection to “The Magic Flute”, it seemed fitting to adapt Sor’s piece with the addition of a flute part. In doing so, I have had great fun not only dividing up Sor’s material between the two players, but also in adding various counter-melodies and virtuosic additions for the flute. The listener familiar with “The Magic Flute” may also notice a number of other quotations from Mozart’s opera, mainly related to the comical fife-playing birdcatcher Papageno.