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Andrés Segovia - 1950s American Recordings: Volume 2
Fernando SOR (1778–1839)
Deuxième Grande Sonate, Op. 25:
1. II: Allegro non troppo [5:28]
2. IV: Minuet [2:47]
3. Variations on a Theme by Mozart, Op. 9 [7:07]
Grande Sonate, Op. 22:
4. III: Minuet [3:14]
Six Divertimentos for the Spanish Guitar, Op. 2:
5. No. 3: Andantino [3:14]
Deux Thèmes et Douze Menuets Pour la Guitare, Op. 11:
6. No. 5 in D major [2:08]
Sonata (Grand Solo), Op. 14:
7. Introduction and Allegro [8:55]
Folies d’Espagne and Minuet, Op. 15a:
8. Minuet in E major [1:46]
9. Minuet in A major, Op. 11 No. 6 [2:30]
10. Study in A major, Op. 6 No. 12 [5:17]
11. Study in G major, Op. 29 No. 11 [1:52]
12. Study in B minor, Op. 35 No. 22 [2:40]
13. Study in A major, Op. 6 No. 6 [1:47]
Mauro GIULIANI (1781–1829)
Sonata, Op. 15:
14. I: Allegro spiritoso [5:38]
Manuel PONCE (1882–1948)
15. Andantino variato on a theme by Paganini [7:39]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828)
Piano Sonata in G major, Op. 78, D894:
16. III: Menuetto [5:43]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809–1847)
Songs without Words, Op. 19:
17. No. 6 (Venetian Gondola Song) [2:58]
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810–1849)
18. Prelude in A major, Op. 28 No. 7 [0:59]
String Quartet No. 1 in E flat, Op. 12:
19. Canzonetta [4:35]
Andrés Segovia (guitar)
rec. New York 1952, 1954, 1955
NAXOS 8.111090 [76:18]

Practically every disc featuring Andrés Segovia is more or less self-recommending. Such was the standard of his playing, even towards the end of his very long career. Born in 1893 he gave his first public concert at the age of sixteen and continued to play for nearly 75 years. In these Decca recordings from the first half of the 1950s we hear a master who is around sixty but his technique and his vitality is that of a person half his age. The recordings are excellent and the digital restoration has produced a sound that is warm as well as analytical. It is mono of course but so immediate and so detailed is the sound picture – one can even be slightly annoyed about the inevitable noise from the strings against the fingerboard – that they could have been set down yesterday.
Intended purchasers, who are lucky enough to find a record store where this disc is in stock and where you are allowed to sample, should try the first two tracks, the second and fourth movements from Fernando Sor’s Second Grand Sonata. The Allegro non troppo is played with such tremendous drive that one is stunned. Without feeling in the least rushed Segovia is almost a minute faster than Adam Holzman on a highly recommendable Naxos disc (8.553340) and in the minuet he beats Holzman by another minute – and despite this everything remains completely controlled! The Mozart variations, on a theme from the first act of Die Zauberflöte: Könnte jeder braver Mann, is played with superb lightness and so is the rest. Not all the Sor pieces are musically on this level. The studies are fairly empty, but they are fine vehicles for a sixty year old wanting to display his technical brilliance.
The Giuliani sonata is a gem, the Schubert transcription ditto. The transcription was originally credited to Tarrega, but Segovia invariably made his own adjustments to whatever he played. He plays the Chopin prelude as beautifully as one can ever expect and the Mendelssohn Canzonetta is light and elegant, catching the airy atmosphere of the original string quartet.
Graham Wade’s notes are as always enormously informative and a good listening guide.
When the guru plays his followers should sit at his feet with ears wide open. Go get the disc and listen!
Göran Forsling

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