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Vincenzo GALILEI (c1530-1591)

Six Pieces
Robert de VISÉE (c1650-1725)

Six Pieces from the Suites No.9 in D minor / No.12 in E minor
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Fugue in A minor (orig. G minor), BWV1000
Gavotte en Rondeau from the Suite in E Major, BWV1006a
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

Menuetto from the Piano Sonata in G Major, D894
Alexandre TANSMAN (1897-1986)

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)

Prelude No.1 in E minor
Prelude No.3 in A minor

Tonadilla on the name of Segovia, Op.170/5
Tarantella, Op.87/1
Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)

Danzas Espanolas, Op.37,
Melancolica (Danza triste) in G Major
Andrès Segovia (guitar)
Recorded live: Edinburgh Festival, Freemason’s Hall on 28th August 1955
BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4108-2 [70:57]


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These were recorded live when Segovia was sixty-three years of age, and was most probably at the height of his powers (his longevity would see him grace the concert platforms across the world for almost a further thirty years). All the trademark ingredients are present, the luxurious tones, from a transparent tasto to a biting but never brittle ponticello, the perfectly weighted creamy vibrato and the full range of dynamics that are possible on the guitar plus that unmistakable phrasing. I suspect the instrument used here is the famous guitar made by Hermann Hauser. Idiosyncratic, possibly but was it not that which gave Segovia his allure and undisputable charm? Also, one must remember that all great artists are products of their time and place. This is hopefully with a view to shaping their art for future generations, as Segovia obviously did, but their work is nevertheless still of their own time. Segovia was no exception. This is why this recording is such an excellent document of his playing when to all intents and purposes he was the only classical guitarist with a truly international status in the world.

For those who ever attended a Segovia concert the programme follows a familiar pattern. He starts with "Six pieces" from Vincenzo Galilei. These were a favourite opener of the maestro’s, even up to the 1980s. His playing begins quietly, almost hesitantly, but this is a tactic he employed to ensure total silence and attention from his audience. When this is established he soon gives full rein to the guitar’s sonorities, the confident technical execution and musical awareness of the material are there for all to hear. The second half of the recital includes some of the works written specially for Segovia by Alexandre Tansman and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. These pieces come to life in Segovia’s hands, in a way that guitarists have rarely managed to achieve since.

Given its age, the recorded sound on this disc is very good with only a small amount of background noise. The audience reaction is enthusiastic, if a little eager. Often the last note of a piece is still resonating when the applause bursts forth.

This disc is a must for the devotees of Segovia. It captures a moment in time - the legend weaving his spell.

Andy Daly


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