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Andrés Segovia plays
J.S. BACH/transc. Segovia
Fugue; Siciliano (both from Violin Sonata No.1 in G minor BWV 1001)

HAYDN/transc. Segovia
Minuet and Trio in D
FRESCOBALDI/transc. Segovia
Aria and Corrente
RAMEAU/transc. Segovia
Cavatina – Suite (Preludio; Sarabande; Scherzino; Barcarola); Danza pomposa
Alba (Legenda); Postlude
Study No.8; Study No.1
Venezuelan Dance No.3: Natalia – Vals Criollo
Zarabanda lejana
Sardana chigiana
Lo Mestre (Catalonian Folk Song)
Andrés Segovia (guitar)
rec. 1952-56
ALTO ALC1050 [72:25] 


Experience Classicsonline

I am not a guitar specialist as will be all too painfully obvious. However I felt I had to rescue this disc from Len's unloved-unclaimed list.

Segovia was born in Andalusia in 1893 and died in Madrid in 1987. He brought about the rebirth of the acoustic guitar in classical circles. Such great names as Julian Bream and John Williams owe to him the platform from which their careers bloomed. 

Peace suffuses the Bach Siciliano which radiates steady contentment. As so often in these tracks the Haydn is lent a sappy zither-like tone. The Tansman suite is in four movements with Bachian titles. The Polish-French composer wrote this elegantly nuanced suite and dedicated it to Segovia in the early 1950s. If the scherzo recalls a certain piece by Tarrega this detracts hardly a jot from its pleasing effect. 

Segovia's playing is clean with some sound off the strings. It is amazingly precise yet life-imbued. The Alto sound is never less than immediate but in the case of the Alba by Hans Haug there is a lot of cross-talk and rustle in the surfaces from which the track was taken down. Haug was born in Basel and studied composition in Munich. He wrote operas and was active in conducting Europe's radio orchestras. He took guitar lessons for these pieces which were written for Segovia. They include the very beautiful Postlude. Segovia's own stately-sentimental transcription of the Scriabin Prelude in E Minor is one of a set of five that the guitarist transcribed. More staid and dignified is the Villa-Lobos Study No. 8. It's followed by Study No. 1 with its strumming-trembling backdrop which is here supplemented by the bristle of analogue disc surfaces. Lauro's Vals Criollo is and liltingly busy. The very deliberate Zarabanda Lejana by Rodrigo chirps and drowses. The Cassado piece sounds at times like Chinoiserie. This is the Catalan dance that is the Sardana Chigiana. The last track is Llobet's Lo Mestre – dignified, romantic slow-gaited. It's a gem but it also illustrates again Alto's approach: a startling clear signal yet with the groove-deep surface wear in the form of subdued fluffs, rustles and low key pops. 

The luxuriously extended and detailed notes are by Peter Avis and are no mere makeweight. 

A nice collection presented in sound that could hardly be more candid and straight-talking.

Rob Barnett


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