The rediscovery of the prolific output of music for guitar by Ferdinand Rebay (1880-1953), of which some outstanding examples appear on this album, has made a huge impact on the repertoire —a rare occurrence in the history of any musical instrument. His catalogue of over 400 works featuring the guitar, from solo pieces —including seven exceptional sonatas— to Lieder and choral works with guitar accompaniment, via a wide range of chamber music, has been revealed as a treasure-house of riches. The value of his legacy rests not only on its (probably unparalleled) size, but on the fact that it fills the gap in the repertoire that would otherwise have been left by Central European Romanticism.
Rebay’s style is highly sophisticated, indebted to a tradition that goes back to Schubert, Brahms and Wagner, and the polar opposite to that of his contemporaries of the Second Viennese School, whose work so dominates our perceptions of the music history of that period. While Schoenberg claimed he was ensuring «the hegemony of German music» by making a clean break with the past, Rebay was more than happy to draw on that existing tradition. Had he stayed within the bounds of convention, he might simply have become an inferior successor to Brahms —instead, however, he stands out for having established his own unique style, melding folk music and the Austro-