Segovia’s pre-eminence the expert restoration of his Decca
sides is proving to be auspicious. Despite the fact that
we’ve never lacked for his discs this meticulous, superbly
annotated series – Graham Wade, of course – has traced
the tributary course of his New York sides with precision
and intelligence. This disc brings one anomaly – the most
substantial work here, Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Quintet was
recorded for Decca in Sienna. Otherwise all the tracks
were made in New York between 1954 and 1956.
same composer’s Capriccio diabolico
hints at its
provenance with the Paganinian title. The violinist was
also a noted guitarist and the tribute – the work is subtitled Omaggio
– quotes from La Campanella.
a virtuosic study, certainly, but its concentration on
texture and colour is as exciting as the formal demands
on technique, demanding though they are, not least the
fast scalar runs. The Tonadilla (on the name of Andrés
was composed in 1954 and recorded the following
year. Sensitive, limpid and reflective it explores the
expressive qualities of which Segovia was so august a master.
The Quintet is a big work, nearly twenty-three minutes
long in this performance. It dates from 1950. The composer
noted that it was “partly neo-classic and partly neo-romantic” and
that it was written in a “Schubertian vein.” That accounts
for the nature of the frolicsome sonata-allegro opening
movement, and for the deepening lyricism of the slow movement.
Perhaps the most vital music comes in the scherzo where
the badinage quotient is high along with a salon tinge.
The finale is festive and nourishing. Unassuming and playful
this is an engaging work. Segovia and the members of the
Quintetto Chigiano are well balanced and play with lightness
is evocative and doesn’t shy away from raps
on the body of the instrument. The work was only discovered
amongst Segovia’s pile of papers after his death and
published in 2003. It seems unsure as to whether he actually
ever performed it – Segovia’s unperformed slush pile
was a notoriously long one. Tansman contributes a five
movement Cavatina –
it was originally four but
Segovia asked for a lively finale to conclude things.
The fluid dance of the Preludio sets the tone for a ravishing
work, of which the beautiful Sarabande is the highlight.
The Scherzino is elfin but quixotic, adding just the
right measure of lemon twist – brilliantly fast passagework..
The suggested finale is suitably earthy and exciting.
Tansman was one of the first non-Spaniards to write for
Segovia and this is an inspired work.
have the bonus of Rodrigo’s very tricky 1920s piece Zarabanda
and the lithe athleticism of Lauro’s Venezuelan
. And to finish two pieces by the Swiss composer
Hans Haug. Alba
has some Renaissance cadences; refined
and noble, whilst Postlude
- Haug called it Preludio
but Segovia changed the title - is far more complex and
harmonically advanced – by far the most difficult music
in the disc.
chamber of delights then for the Segovia lover.
Reviews of other Segovia
recordings on Naxos Historical