LABELS: BBC Legends
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Andrés Segovia
WORKS: Works by Bach, Villa-Lobos, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Granados,
PERFORMER: Andrés Segovia (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: BBCL 4108-2 ADD mono
This recording enshrines the complete programme of a recital the great guitarist gave, at the peak of his career, during the 1955 Edinburgh Festival, when he was in his sixties. The remastered sound is everything one might hope, the audience is accommodatingly quiet, the playing is near-divine and the wide-ranging selection of pieces shows off Segovia’s artistry in many different lights.
There’s intimate and magisterial Bach, of course, and Villa-Lobos – two of the Études played with an almost reckless quality of improvisation, as if conjuring up the music from note to note, that’s very thrilling. But also Renaissance pieces attributed to Vincenzo Galilei (father of Galileo); movements from the suites of Robert de Visée, most elegantly done; Segovia’s own rather effective arrangement of a minuet from a Schubert piano sonata; and interesting pieces by his friends and contemporaries, Tansman and Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Tansman’s works, after a long period of obscurity, are currently experiencing something of a rebirth on CD, and his Cavatina (misleading title: it’s a substantial suite in Baroque and Classical forms) is in fact the longest item on the disc, thrown off so stylishly one can see exactly why Segovia esteemed its composer. It goes without saying that collectors of guitar music will want this disc, but anyone with the faintest interest in the instrument or this repertoire will find it immensely enjoyable.