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Andrés Segovia – 1950s American Recordings – Volume Six
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Lieder-Album fur die Jugend, Op. 79: No. 4. Fruhlingsgruss (arr. A. Segovia) [02:25]
Cesar FRANCK (1822-1890)
Twenty-Eight Short Pieces; L'organiste, M. 41 (arr. for A. Segovia)
Quasi lento [1:10]
Moderato [3:02]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Six Waltzes, Op. 39: No. 8 in B flat major (arr. A. Segovia) [1:40]
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Lyric Pieces, Book 4, Op. 47: No. 3. Melody (arr. A. Segovia) [3:30]
Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)
5 Preludes, Op. 16: No. 4 in E flat minor (arr. A. Segovia) [1:08]
Miguel LLOBET (1878-1938)
El mestre (The Master) [3:26]
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)
Homenaje, piece pour guitare ecrite pour Le Tombeau de Debussy (arr. A. Segovia) [2:38]
Carlos PEDRELL (1878-1941)
Guitarreo [1:24]
Juan MANEN (1883-1971)
Fantasia-Sonata [19:39]
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
Twelve Etudes: No. 7. Tres anime [3:49]
Five Preludes: No. 1 in E minor [4:19]
Five Preludes: No. 3 in A minor [5:09]
Twelve Etudes; No. 8. Modere [3:12]
Twelve Etudes; No. 1. Etudes de arpeges (Prelude): Anime [2:02]
Federico Moreno TORROBA (1891-1982)
Guitar Sonatina [11:25]
Madronos [2:51]
Nocturno [3:30]
Serenata burlesca [2:55]
Andrés Segovia (guitar)
rec. New York, 1952-56


Experience Classicsonline

Revisiting, as I have, so many of Segovia’s post-war American Deccas has been a decidedly enriching experience. This volume, which captures recordings made in 1952, 1954 and 1956, is no exception. The romantic transcriptions sound as natural in this context as do the Villa-Lobos Etudes – all part of Segovia’s alchemical powers to seduce and to move.

The Schumann Romanza for instance evokes deft colour and wit whilst the two Franck pieces make a good contrastive pair. The second, a Moderato, is the more interesting and to it the master guitarist brings a certain gravity. It’s when we reach the Grieg though that we can feel Segovia at his finest. The third of the Op.47 Lyric Pieces is marvellously sustained and etched with such evocative coloration that it seems bewitching.  The delicate cantabile at reduced dynamics of the Scriabin attests to other virtues as well – sensitive shaping of melodic lines.

But I suppose it’s the second half of the disc’s programme that moves us to altogether more authentically Segovian ground. The de Falla Debussy tribute is a study in mood and feeling. Then there is the biggest work here, the Fantasia-Sonata by the violinist Juan Manén. At not far short of twenty minutes this is quite a major statement. It has a slow introduction which in the slightly cavernous recording sounds ominous. There are contrastive sections, plenty of Flamenco strumming and lissom Iberian panache as well as some languid sun-drenched ones as well. It’s a good piece, dedicated ‘Por y para Andrés Segovia’ – lest anyone thinks this is any kind of transcription from a violin original – but it doesn’t quite sustain its length, enjoyable though it is.

There is a sequence of Villa-Lobos’s superb Etudes, recorded for Decca between 1952 and 1956. Despite the fact that this would seem superficially to be canonic Segovia repertoire the fact is that he came quite late to these etudes. No.3 in A  minor is tailor made for a Bachian such as Segovia, whilst No.1 in E minor  - the last of this sequence of five to be recorded – is an intensely concentrated affair. Torroba is represented of course. His Sonatina is strongly rhythmic and clean-limbed whilst the three character pieces by the same composer that end the disc are evidence of Torroba’s gift for characterisation. I’d especially recommend Nocturno.

Graham Wade contributes his usual expert commentary and the transfers do justice to the characteristically accomplished performances.

Jonathan Woolf

see also Review by Göran Forsling


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