“Few musicians have changed the course of their chosen instrument’s history as radically as Andres Segovia Torres. He was born on 21 February 1893 in Linares, Spain, and brought up in the Andalusian city of Granada by an uncle who had ambitions for his nephew to learn the violin. However it was the guitar’s subtle jewel-box of tonal colour to which the boy was really drawn. At that time it was considered primarily a folk instrument – slightly disreputable at that – and certainly not refined enough for the world’s concert platforms… During his long life Segovia’s pioneering spirit never faltered: he continued to give concerts until almost the end of his life, and passed on his mantle through teaching. When he died in 1987, aged 94, theRead more musical world was in unanimous agreement: here was a man who succeeded spectacularly in his quest to be “the apostle of the guitar”. Without him the modern classical instrument, its repertoire and following would have been much the poorer” – (from the album notes by Emma Baker – 2008)
Surely everyone needs a representative Segovia selection. This one is inexpensive, well produced and fully representative.
"It’s hardly surprising that there are a number of competing Segovia discs in the marketplace. Some range across time and place, some concentrate on the American Deccas (in the main) such as the extensive ongoing Naxos series and some, such as Doremi, couple Segovia with less well-known contemporaries of his. I’ve reviewed a number on this site. This EMI ‘Icon’ three disc box sets itself the task of collating London recordings made between 1927 and 1948. They don’t run chronologically though they are in rough chronological blocks as it were – by which I mean that the 1927 and ’28 sessions are bisected by one from 1935. Since these are all the semi-legendary Bach sessions that doesn’t really matter so much, at least in my book. Some people, I appreciate, would prefer a straight chronological run. Most would not care overmuch about the lack of matrix or issue numbers - but I do.
The retexturing, chordal playing, lavish portamenti and even more lavish rubati of his Bach are bewitching examples of the refashioning of material for a different medium. As Emma Baker notes in her booklet essay these devices don’t find favour nowadays – and so much the worse for these supposedly pluralist times. Franchising Bach to specialist practitioners is no good for anyone. The romanticised identification between Segovia and Bach is a profound and real one; matters of supposedly stylistic accuracy are surely secondary to the historical fact of his annexation of this body of work for his own instrument.
The Gavotte from the Partita No.3 is full of these teasing rubati and gracioso phrasing and almost emblematic of Segovia’s way with the composer. The Small Queen’s Hall sessions also produced successful takes of Ponce’s Suite in A minor, a graceful neo-Bachian exercise with an especially tremulously warm Gavotte. Sor’s Thème Varié Op.9 has long since become a staple of the guitarist’s repertoire but here is Segovia in May 1927, at his first session, revealing its virtuosity and charm for the first time. De Visée’s Minuet was new to me and a delight, the Mendelssohn an example of dextrous fingering in the extreme and the Malats truly elegant evidence of Segovia’s gift for legato phrasing. Tárrega’s Recuerdos De La Alhambra is not as slow as it was later to become.
Few players on any instrument, certainly few orchestras, could be as evocative or could cast so deep a spell in Albéniz as could Segovia. Try the two movements recorded from the Suite española in the guitarist’s own arrangement – as are, of course, so many of the pieces in this collection. In Granados’s Danzas españolas No.5 he gives Fritz Kreisler a run for his money rubato-wise but better still is the Canción from Ponce’s Third Sonata – an exquisite piece of colour shading. The same composer’s extensive Folies d'Espange lasts a good quarter of an hour and is in essence a series of variations on La Folia, of which the slow variation before the concluding Fugue is a highpoint.
The last disc is given over to the post-war recordings made in London in 1949, a decade after he last recorded there. More Bach inevitably followed as well as the expected Spanish composers. The Arada from Torroba’s Suite castellana is a languid romance and Crespo’s Norteña wears the potency of popular song with avid beauty, There’s even an original from Segovia himself – Estudio sin luz. Of the remainder Villa-Lobos’s First Etude goes like a bomb whilst the Tarantella of Castelnuovo-Tedesco is saturated in elegant rhythmic drive and élan. His neo-classical concerto is a delight as well – Boccherini coated with honey. Its evocative slow movement is the high point and Alec Sherman directs the winds with a succulent baton...
On whatever basis you choose – and in addition to these factors Segovia re-recorded much of his repertory - surely everyone needs a representative Segovia selection. This one is inexpensive, well produced and fully representative."
-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International Read less
Concerto for Guitar no 1 in D major, Op. 99by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Performer:
Andrés Segovia (Guitar)
New London Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1939; Florence, Italy
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