Ponce’s Secret Weiss – a list

While looking for information on Manuel Maria Ponce (1882-1948), I came across this illuminating article by Peter Kun Frary, Professor of Music at the University of Hawaii, Leeward. It charts the history of Ponce’s Baroque, Classical and Romantic pastiches written for Andres Segovia when he was in France.
Segovia would refer to these pieces as their little joke, and probably found a willing collaborator in Ponce who helped him fill out his concert programmes in a Kreisleresque manner.
One of the earliest pieces was attributed to Sylvius Leopold Weiss who was not very well known generally at the time, but conveniently shared a birth year with J.S.Bach who was Segovia’s first choice.
Apparently the harpsichordist Wanda Landowska heard the first performance and went backstage to say that Segovia’s attribution of the piece to Bach had been rumbled, at which point Segovia and Ponce admitted that it was by Weiss!

The inside story on this issue is available in print, in the words of Andres Segovia himself. See: Miguel Alcázar, (Ed.) The Segovia-Ponce Letters, translated by Peter Segal.

However, also see this discussion on the subject.

The pieces are certainly charming enough, and those which come clean – the Sonata Clasica and Sonata Romantica are substantial works.

Peter Kun Frary lists the following as Ponce’s “secret” compositions:
Balletto (Weiss)
Prelude (Weiss) (also for guitar and harpsichord)
Suite Antigua (A.Scarlatti)
Suite en La Mineur (Weiss)

This article is certainly worth a read and throws light on the different (some pirated) editions of Ponce’s pastiches as well as dates and circumstances of their composition.

Ponce’s numerous Baroque pastiches for orchestra, keyboards and guitar aptly illustrate his fascination with the music of the 18th century. Moreover, neoclassical influences are evident in his works in general: 18th century formal structures such as the variation form, sonata form, rondo form, suite and fugue are common in his works of the 1920s and 1930s. By 1940, these neoclassical leanings developed into an austere and modernistic style of neoclassicism. Unfortunately, Ponce composed very little for the guitar during these final years of his life.

Here is his Piano Trio “Romantico”

“Ferial” for orchestra from 1940

2 thoughts on “Ponce’s Secret Weiss – a list

  1. Excellent Gerald. I did not know this piano trio by Ponce. do you think you could let me know who the recording was done by and where to get it … and the music for it? Hope all is well; un abrazo Dana

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