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Andrès Segovia: Vol. 2 – The 1946 New York and 1949 London Recordings
Prelude in C minor, BWV 999 [1:15]; Cello Suite No.3, BWV 1009: Courante [2:45]; Lute Suite No.2, BWV 996: Sarabande [3:24]; Lute Suite No.2, BWV 996: Bourree [1:29]; Cello Suite No.6, BWV 1012: Gavotte [3:47]; Fugue in G minor, BWV 1000 (transcr. Segovia) [4:21]; Partita No.4 for Solo Violin, BWV 1004 Chaconne in D minor [2:13]; Lute Suite No.4 in E major, BWV 1006a Gavotte [2:52]
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
Etude No.8 in C sharp minor [2:43]; Etude No.l in E minor [1:57]
Federico Moreno TORROBA (1891-1982)
Suite Castellana: No.2 Arada [2:58]; No.1 Fandanguillo [1:48]
Joaquin TURINA (1882-1949)
Fandanguillo [3:53]
Tarantella in A minor Op.87a [3:50]

Manuel Maria PONCE (1886-1948)
Sonata Meridional: Campo (Allegretto) [3:54]; Copla (Andante) [2:07]; Fiesta (Allegro con brio) [2:31]

Guitar Concerto No. 1 in D major Op. 99: Allegro giusto [6:11]; Andantino alla romanza [6:32]; Ritmico e cavalleresco [6:15]

Andrès Segovia (guitar)

New London Orchestra/Alec Sherman (guitar concerto).

rec. 1946, New York; 1949, London. ADD

NAXOS 8.111088 [76.47]



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This new
Naxos disc includes tracks also issued on a Testament disc SBT1043 which was a release made up of all of Segovia’s London recordings of 1949. Naxos has taken these and added the master’s 1946 New York recordings.


The current Redmuze catalogue still lists the Testament disc, and this is the one I would go for unless the lower price of the Naxos disc features in your process of choice. The Naxos disc does of course include an extra 14 minutes or so of music. Comparing the two, side by side, the Naxos is cut at a much higher level than the Testament, and in addition, the Naxos sound quality is much more aggressive than its competitor.


When listening to this disc it is important to remember that when these were recorded in the late 1940s there was no Julian Bream, no John Williams nor any of their more recent competitors; Segovia more or less had the field to himself. The interpretation of these transcriptions was down to Segovia himself. His examples became the starting point for later guitarists and a reference on which to base their own versions. Hearing these again, I was struck by the fact that they sound so right that they disarm further criticism. There are one or two slips, but by and large this is a highly enjoyable programme. Solo pieces form the majority of this disc. They include many of the well known guitar transcriptions which are used as party pieces and make up much of current day guitar recital discs. Nevertheless there is always a case for listening to these pioneering recordings.


The recordings, whilst not sounding too primitive, do not have the clarity of more modern offerings. There are both benefits and shortcomings. One of the benefits is that we do not have to endure the finger noise, which often disfigures current recordings. Listening to these recordings carefully, one can discern that this feature is in fact present, but masked by the recording limitations. The major shortcoming is the restriction of the sound, but once you have heard one or two tracks, this factor recedes into the background.


The Castelnuovo-Tedesco concerto is the version which I first became familiar with from an EMI LP in the late 1950s. Hearing it again on Testament was like welcoming an old friend back into the fold. Sadly this Naxos disc is quite unpleasant to listen to, sounding both harsh and unmusical. Whilst it is marginally clearer than the Testament version, the change in the basic sound is such that I found it quite unpleasant to listen to. Today this concerto can be found coupled with the more popular Rodrigo Concierto d’Aranjez. It is unusual to have it coupled as it is here. I am sure that had Segovia recorded the Rodrigo in 1946 or 1949 it would have found its way into this anthology.


Surface noise varies from almost non-existent - the norm- to quite obtrusive, but this does not detract from the wonderful performances on offer here.


So, a qualified welcome back for these recordings historic both in terms of actual age and in the annals of guitar playing. The cautionary note is that if you insist on musically transcribed early recordings, the Testament issue is the one to go for.


One further point – the Testament issue claims that the contents are the complete 1949 London recordings. However the Naxos disc has tracks purporting to be from those sessions which are not included by Testament. Testament and Naxos cannot both be right. Such errors, whilst by no means serious, should be checked before release.


John Phillips

see also Reviews by Göran Forsling and Jonathan Woolf





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