Ferdinand Rebay | Guitar Sonata in E No. 2 (1941)

Luiz Mantovani

Fibonacci Films, Hamburg
Video: Uli Holst
Audio: Christoph Binner
Guitar: Hermann Hauser III 2004

Recorded at the Kaisersaal of the Heiligenkreuz Abbey, Austria between 17 and 19 January 2022.

Project funded by the Hermann Hauser Guitar Foundation, Munich, Germany.

Ferdinand Rebay (1880-1953) was a pioneer among the non-guitarist composers who started to write for the guitar in the 1920s. A genuine composer of guitar sonatas, he was at the centre of the Viennese guitar movement that is associated with the advent of the Vienna Academy’s guitar programme, in 1923. Rebay’s music was performed by some of the most important Austrian guitarists of his time, like Luise Walker. However, it was his niece-guitarist, Gerta Hammerschmid (1906-1985), who championed and premiered most of his almost 400 guitar works.

Rebay composed seven solo guitar sonatas, and all of them remained unpublished until recently. The four-movement Sonata in E No. 2 was written in 1941 as a birthday gift to Hammerschmid. However, for reasons not yet clear, the piece was apparently never revised or performed by her. This video brings it to life after 80 years since its composition and is the result of a careful revision of the autograph, grounded on stylistic and technical criteria developed during Mantovani’s PhD research on Rebay’s guitar music. It was recorded at one of the most important sites for the composer, the Heiligenkreuz Abbey, thanks to a generous grant received from the Hermann Hauser Guitar Foundation.