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Andrès Segovia and his Contemporaries - Vol. 4: Segovia and Maria Luisa Anido
Isaak ALBÉNIZ (1860 - 1909) Asturias; Granada; Francisco TÁRREGA (1854 - 1909) Recuerdos de la Alhambra; Variaciones sobre la Jota Aragonesa (Gran Jota); Sueño; Enrique GRANADOS (1867 - 1916) Danza No. 5; Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829 - 1894) Romance Op. 26 No. 1; Isaak ALBENIZ Cadiz; Luis MILAN (c. 1500 – c. 1561) Pavana VI; Pavana IV; Gaspar SANZ (1640 - 1710) Pavana; Anon. Canzone; Saltarello; Federico Moreno TORROBA (1891 - 1982) Burgalesa; Albada; Arada; Anon. El Noi de la Mare; El Testamente de Amelia; Francesco TARREGA Danza Mora; Minuet; Robert de VISEE (1660 – 1720) Entrada; Giga; Bourree; Minuet
Maria Luisa Anido (guitar)(1–8), Andrès Segovia (guitar)(9–24)
Recorded early 1930s (7-8), the Soviet Union 1956?(1–6), New York January 1944 (9–24)
DOREMI DHR-7719 [65:22]

In the history of the modern guitar Andrès Segovia’s unique position as the "apostle" has tended to overshadow many of his approximate contemporaries. Doremi has seen it as their task to correct this picture by reissuing some earlier guitar recordings to contrast with Segovia’s. It is an honourable task and it is only to be hoped that the discs will sell in sufficient quantities to encourage them to carry on with their work.

The present disc is the fourth volume and alongside Segovia we meet Isabel Maria Luisa Anido Gonzales, to give her full name. She was born in Buenos Aires in1907 and her father was "an aficionado and amateur player who founded a review, ‘La Guitarra.’", Jack Silver writes in his informative note. Little "Mimita" (her nickname) took some introductory lessons from her aunt but used to sneak into the room and hide under a bureau, when Domingo Prat, a pupil of Llobet’s, gave lessons to her father. Her father caught her one day but when he realized that the girl had picked up everything she had heard and could play it by ear, he bought her a little guitar and started to teach her himself. Only three months later she was ahead of her father and began to study with Prat. She also took some lessons with Llobet and Josefina Robledo, who was a student of Tarrega’s. She started giving recitals at an early age and made a great impression on Llobet, with whom she often performed and also recorded some duets, which will appear on a future Doremi volume. After a long break following her father’s death in 1933, she resumed her concert activities in 1950 and toured widely in South America, Europe, the Soviet Union and Japan, recording quite extensively. As late as 1989 she made a live recording in Cuba and in the 1990s moved to Barcelona where she taught. She passed away on June 4, 1996.

On this disc we hear her two Victrola sides recorded in the early 1930s: the Rubinstein Romance and Albeniz’s Cadiz. The guitar was rather grateful to reproduce even in those days, sounding much better than contemporaneous piano recordings. Jacob Harnoy who made the remastering has removed most of the surface noise from the old 78s, which seem to give a truthful picture of what she sounded like all those years ago. The sound is in fact more open and less dim than the Russian Melodiya recordings that constitute the rest of her contribution to this disc, and they were made more than twenty years later.

There is no doubt that her technical prowess was well up to the demands of this repertoire and compared to many later players she conveys an improvisatory feeling with often wide rubatos and a rhythmically free phrasing. But listen to Tarrega’s Variaciones sobre la Jota Aragonesa (track 4) and there is no lack of rhythmic incisiveness and precision. The whole piece is a formidable tour de force with percussive effects and fluent playing – but again she is very generous with rubato. It is also interesting to note that she plays Albeniz’s Granada and Asturias as well as Granados’s Danza No. 5 in her own transcriptions, not in the commonly heard ones by Llobet and Segovia.

Maria Luisa Anido first met Segovia when she was 10 or 11, while Segovia was somewhat past twenty at the beginning of his career. Through the years they often met, each being vouchsafed long and active lives. Segovia’s part of the disc was recorded by Decca in 1944 but not released until 1949. Here we find music spanning five centuries, from Milan’s Renaissance Pavanes via de Visée’s Baroque dances to Moreno Torroba’s pieces written specifically for Segovia. Most of this music is not in the first place virtuoso music, it rather stresses the lyrical side of Segovia’s art, like the beautiful El Noi de la Mare (Night by the Sea), a song that Frederic Mompou also memorably used in his collection Cançons i danses for piano, where it is Cançó No. 3. But Tarrega’s Danza Mora is of course a virtuoso piece and it is played with Segovia’s customary elegance and flair.

All in all this is a fascinating disc, first of all for the opportunity to hear Anido and then to have several portraits of her. There is more to come.

Göran Forsling

see also review by Jonathan Woolf



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