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Andrés SEGOVIA (1893-1987)
Original Compositions
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]; III [0:41])
Impromptu [1:28]
Tondilla [2:40]
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 vivo [2:32])
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])
Agustin Maruri (guitar)
rec. 20-22 Sept. 2006, Madrid, Spain.
EMEC E-070 [46:44]



The 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.
 
Among 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 At the time of his death a considerable number remained unpublished; only under pressure from his publishers for new material had Segovia presented some of these for publication.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.
 
The 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 white photographs.
 
Intelligent 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.
 
It 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.
 
Agustin 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 are obvious.
 
Estudio 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).
 
Few 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 S 73656
 
The 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.
 
Zane Turner
 



 


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