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CD: Crotchet
Download: Classicsonline


Andrés Segovia – 1950s American Recordings - Vol. 6
Robert SCHUMANN (1810 – 1856)
1. Romanza (from Lieder-Album für die Jugend, Op. 79 No. 4 „Frühlingsgruss“) [2:25]
César FRANCK (1822 – 1890)
29 Short Pieces:
2. Quasi lento [1:10]
3. Moderato [3:02]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833 – 1897)
Waltzes, Op. 39:
4. No. 8 in B flat major [1:40]
Edvard GRIEG (1843 – 1907)
Lyric Pieces, Op. 47:
5. No. 3: Melody [3:30]
Alexander SCRIABIN (1872 – 1915)
Preludes, Op. 16:
6. No. 4 in B minor [1:08]
Miguel LLOBET (1878 – 1938)
7. El Mestre [3:26]
Manuel de FALLA (1876 – 1946)
8. Homenaje, ’Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy [2:38]
Carlos PEDRELL (1878 – 1941)
9. Guitarreo [1:24]
Joan MANÉN (1883 – 1971)
10. Fantasía-Sonata [19:39]
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887 – 1959)
Douze Etudes:
11. No. 7 in E major [3:49]
12. No. 1 in E minor [4:19]
13. No. 3 in A minor [5:09]
Douze Etudes:
14. No. 8 in C sharp minor [3:12]
15. No. 1 in E minor [2:02]
Federico Moreno TORROBA (1891 – 1982)
Sonatina (16. Allegretto [3:43]; 17. Andante [4:09]; 18. Allegro [3:36])
19. Madrońos [2:51]
20. Nocturno [3:30]
21. Serenata burlesca [2:55]
Andrés Segovia (guitar)
rec. New York 1952, 1954, 1956


Experience Classicsonline

This sixth and last volume in the series of Andrés Segovia’s 1950s American recordings is divided between his transcriptions of 19th century Romantic composers and original works by some of his Spanish and South American contemporaries. None of the transcriptions is particularly well known but none the worse for that. Schumann’s Romanza is a really lovely song and Segovia plays it in an improvisatory manner with some well judged rubatos. Who would have thought that César Franck’s rather compact music could be successfully adopted for guitar? These two short pieces, originally for piano, are but they are also far removed from his usual style. Brahms’s waltz is a more natural choice and so is Grieg’s gently rocking Melody. All the transcriptions are expertly done.

Miguel Llobet was an important influence on the young Segovia, who learnt El Mestre directly from the composer. It is a delicate little song, the lyrics telling the story of the teacher who falls in love with his pupil and wants to marry her. Manuel de Falla’s Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy was his only composition for guitar and one of his most important works, which he later arranged for piano and also orchestrated. Uruguayan Carlos Pedrell’s light-hearted Guitarreo is in sharp contrast to the elegiac mood of the de Falla and gives the guitarist ample opportunities to display his technique.

The most extended work here, Joan Manén’s Fantasia-Sonata is a deeply satisfying composition with shifting moods. It only reveals its many depths after several sittings and returning to it proved very rewarding. Villa-Lobos wrote an amazing amount of music and not everything is a masterpiece. Etude No. 7 probably is, at least it is a tour-de-force of technical brilliance as played here but there is also great warmth in the lyrical middle section. As for Prelude No. 3 – the one that Segovia initially dismissed in 1940 – I can fully understand his reaction, since it doesn’t seem to get anywhere. Etude No. 1, on the other hand, is a fine piece.

Federico Moreno Torroba has long been a favourite of mine. A year ago I reviewed two recitals devoted to his guitar music, one of them a reissue of a Telarc disc from the 1990s with David Russell – a wholly delightful cross-section of Torroba’s guitar oeuvre, which was a Bargain of the Month (see review). Some of the works on that disc also appear here with Segovia, who had a very close relationship with the composer. It says a lot of Russell’s accomplishment that he is more than a match for the old master, but it is extremely valuable to have this music with the dedicatee – there is no doubt about the authenticity of the playing. Comparing their respective versions of the wonderful Sonatina – one of Torroba’s foremost compositions – it is interesting to note that Segovia is slightly faster in the outer movements while he is more expansive in the central Andante. Interpretatively they are both masterly. For both Madrońos and Nocturno they choose identical tempos and Segovia rounds off the disc, and the series, with the fresh and vital Serenata burlesca. This was published in 1928, two years after Nocturno, which was one of the first pieces Torroba wrote for him.

The sound is good for its age and Segovia scholar Graham Wade contributes well written and exhaustive notes. A self-recommending issue – but for playing of similar excellence and superb sound: don’t miss David Russell!

Göran Forsling



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