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Sarah Beth Briggs
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Andrés SEGOVIA (1893-1987)
Estudios Diarios (Oración [1:45]; Remembranza
[2:08]; Estudio Sin Luz [2:43]; For Carl Sandburg [0:35];
Estudio En Mi Mayor [2:01]; Estudio-Vals [2:24]; Estudio
Para Deli [1:17] Macarena [0:48]; Neblina [1:22]; Leccion
11 [1:00]; Leccion 12 [0:58])
Tres Preludios en la mayor (I [0:38]; II [0:31];
Cinco Anecdotas (I Allegretto [1:33]; II Allegro moderato con grazia
[0:57]; III, Lento malinconico [2:15]; IV, Molto tranquillo [0:39]; V, Allegretto
Once Preludios (I, mi menor [0:43]; II, Fatiga,
mi menor [2:33]; III León, mi menor [1:07]; IV,do mayor [0:30];V,mi
menor [0:59]; VI, si menor [2:06]; VII Madrileño, mi menor
[2:56]; VIII Sobre un temo de Aparicio Méndez, mi mayor [1:28];
IX, Sine nomine, do mayor [0:37]; X, sol mayor [0:47]; XI,
Vara, si menor [1:03])
rec. 20-22 Sept. 2006, Madrid, Spain.
EMEC E-070 [46:44]
name Andrés Segovia is indelibly inscribed in the annals
of twentieth century classical guitar. By dint of concerted
missionary zeal, Segovia spread his gospel globally over
a period of more than five decades.
those activities for which he became legendary, original
composition for the guitar is not included. While Segovia
is purported to have written more than fifty guitar miniatures,
he appears to have attached little significance to his compositions:
he never included any in his concert programmes or discography.
At the time of his death a considerable number remained unpublished;
only under pressure from his publishers for new material
had Segovia presented some of these for publication. They
attest to his skills for combining didactic challenges with
musical beauty and several became favourites with students
and concert performers.
review disc features Agustin Maruri who plays thirty-two
of Segovia’s compositions on a 1962 Herman Hauser II guitar
owned by the composer. The accompanying notes by Angelo Gilardino
are most informative and contain a number of rare black and
programming places the best-known original works by Segovia
at the beginning of the recording. Oración (1), Remembranza (2)
and Estudio Sin Luz (3) were all published during
his lifetime and garnered favour among guitarists.
is ironic that, during a period of renaissance and when the
guitar experienced a paucity of repertory, most of these
miniatures from the pen of someone so famous would remain
in obscurity. Having reviewed the disc several times one
feels a sense of privilege in having at last heard them.
Maruri has an obvious empathy for this music and generally
plays it well but there is one Achilles’ heel: in many of
the rapid single note passages the standard of execution
is below that typically experienced, and indeed expected,
on recordings. Occasionally rapid passages of harmony are
also not played legato. This is most obvious in the following
works: (2), (3), (6), (21), (28), and often compounded by
a propensity to play the compositions beyond their recommended
speed or atypically fast.
Remembranza (2) is a case in point where Segovia did indicate a specific tempo.
David Russell, Spanish Legends Telarc CD-80633, plays
this piece in 2:48, and exhibits his usual technical perfection.
Alirio Diaz, Vanguard Classics 08
9194 72, provides a fine version in a time of 2:18. On the
review disc it is executed in 2:08 and the technical warts
Sin Luz (3) suffers a similar
fate: rapid single note passages are again compromised
and leave one with an uneasy feeling that the player was
on the edge of coming unstuck. This composition is also
included on the previously referenced recording by David
Russell on which occasion it is executed, again to perfection,
in a time of 3:21. Mr. Maruri may fare better by lowering
his tempo from that used on the review recording (2:43).
would disagree that Remembranza is both musically
and didactically a treasure, but for different reasons it
loses some of its intrinsic Spanish identity at the hand
of both David Russell and Agustin Maruri. Having never heard
Segovia play it I still feel confident in suggesting that
everything with which he imbued it is revealed in the rendition
(2:18) by Jose Luis Gonzalez, The Art of the Spanish Guitar CBS
review disc is a useful recording for students of the guitar
and essential for aficionados of Andrés Segovia. Of those
pieces which have been recorded on other occasions, renditions
by guitarists such as David Russell and Jose Luis Gonzalez
are technically and musically superior.
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