A. T. Huerta plagiarizing Sor

Published by Robert Coldwell on

After the publication of the book “A. T. Huerta Life and Works” in 2006 by Javier Suárez-Pajares and myself, we continued researching Huerta references and music. Recently I discovered an edition in Harvard Library with an unusual twist.

I have been searching for a few editions by Huerta which I’m certain were published in the US. All my searches have been unsuccessful. However, during one of these searches I ran across an edition I had never seen referenced. It showed up in a volume in the Harvard Theatre Collection which must have been recently acquired or cataloged since it had not shown up in previous searches. This volume is titled “Annie B. Lawrence volume of American music for the guitar, circa 1827-1845” and it contains 29 pieces of music all published in the US. The dating in the catalog is very rough and not always correct.

The first piece in the volume is by Huerta:

Adieu a son ami / Fantasie / for the / guitar / Composed & Dedicated to his Excellency / J.M. Salazar, / Minister of the Republic of Colombia to the U.S. of America / by / A. T. Huerta / op. 12. / Price $–25 / Published for the Author by G. Willig, Philadelphia.

Huerta was in the US from April 1824 through at least January 1826 (he was giving concerts in Liverpool by May 1826). The date in the Harvard catalog of 1845 for this publication is definitely inaccurate as Huerta was never known to have published in a location where he wasn’t currently living. Another confirmation is José María Salazar held his post as Columbian Ambassador from 1823 to 1828. This edition then would have been published 1824-1825. In the number of Willig catalogs from around this period I have found none of them mention any Huerta editions.

While an unknown edition is intriguing in itself, even more so for this particular case is the fact that the music is not by Huerta at all! It is Sor’s Les Adieux Op.21. It is unknown exactly when Sor composed op. 21, but it was published in Spain in the first half of 1824 (edition from Boije Collection) and by A. Meissonnier in autumn 1824 (edition from Spencer Collection). The Royal Academy of Music has also posted two other editions of op. 21: Heugel and another copy of A. Meissonnier. Erik Stenstadvold has pointed out that the Huerta edition more closely resembles the Meissonnier edition.

It seems that with Huerta unexpected clues keep showing up which usually create more questions than answers.

Note: Post updated Nov 30, 2020 with clarifications on the publication dates of Sor’s op. 21 provided by Erik Stenstadvold on Facebook. Boijie “La Despedida” edition link added.

Note: post updated on June 2, 2021 with links to Sor op. 21 editions posted to archive.org by the Royal Academy of Music.

Categories: Europe


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