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Segoviana Musica poetica


SEGOVIANA, the music of Andrés Segovia

Tracks 2 -5-6-8-10 as MP3 available (fragment)

1 Granada, Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909)

2 , Padre Donostia (1886-1956)

3 Sérénade, Gustave Samazeuilh (1877-1967)

4 Segovia, Albert Roussel (1869-1937)

5 , Manuel M. Ponce (1882-1948)

6 '' Thema, 9 variaties en fuga, Manuel M. Ponce

7 Andantino uit de Sonatina, Federico Moreno Torroba (1892-1982)

8 Federico Moreno Torroba

9 Estudio sin luz, Andrés Segovia (1893-1987)

10 'Omaggio a Boccherini', (allegro con spirito - andantino, quasi canzone - tempo di minuetto - vivo ed energico), Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968)

The legendary Spanish guitarist Andrés Segovia was the 'ambassador' of the guitar as a solo concert instrument. In his autobiography he writes: "It would be unfair to limit the beauty of this instrument to the mere accompaniment of folksong and dances. The scope of the guitar has to be widened, music of greater significance should be played on it."
In Spain, this proved to be a hard task. A review in 1914 read: "Segovia, this romantic concert-giver, goes from city to city carrying, trapped in the magic strings of his guitar, the pure breezes of art and poetry that our insensitive public does not appreciate at their true value."
But after his first concert in Paris, on April 7th 1924, he started asking composers from all over the world to write original and innovating music for the guitar: "In relation to other instruments, the guitar is what the Lied is to the opera or a quartet to an orchestra." And many responded to the challenge. This CD tries to capture the period of roughly 1920-1940, when the young and ambitious Segovia reached many of his goals and won the hearts of the public worldwide.

Although the name of Segovia is still known, and will never be forgotten, his romantic sound is becoming rare. Virtuosity was not his focusing point, he saw music as "a swift weaver of deep feelings." On this CD Frans Brekelmans captures this sound, which a French guitarist characterized as "le son perdu", and pays tribute to the new, but romantic or 'neo-classical' music that Segovia helped create for the guitar.

Notes on the pieces played

Granada (1886) was originally written for piano by Albéniz, as part of the Suite Espagnole. Segovia made the arrangement for guitar. A French critic wrote in 1924: "By restoring the piano pieces of Albéniz to the guitar, transcription seems more like restitution." In the city of Granada Segovia gave his first public concert, in the Granada Arts Center in 1909.

Dolor is one of the Préludes Basques (1912-1916) for piano by Padre José Antonio de Donostia, and arranged for guitar later. Donostia wanted more than to capture the spirit of traditional folksongs: "I want to reproduce the soul of certain landscapes, certain persons and certain villages from my country." In 1925, Donostia wrote his first piece for guitar, Errimina, for Segovia, but it proved to be unsuitable for the instrument and he rearranged it for piano later.

About the Serenade (1925) by Samazeuilh La Revue Musicale said in 1926: "It evokes an imaginary Spain, both by its accompanimental figuration and its strongly articulated melody. From Debussy Samazeuilh absorbs the taste for subtlety, for reflective uncertainty, and moreover, he knows how to allow the strings their natural eloquence." Gustave Samazeuilh was a composer and critic of Catalan origin, pupil of Chausson and friend of Ravel.

Segovia (1925) was written after Segovia's debut at the Conservatoire in Paris on April 7, 1924. Roussel was in the audience, and subsequently composed this piece for him (1925).

Manuel Ponce met Segovia in 1923 in Mexico at a concert, and wrote an article about it: "To hear the notes of the guitar played by Andrés Segovia is to experience a feeling of intimacy and the well-being of the domestic hearth; it is to evoke remote and tender emotions, wrapped in the mysterious enchantment of things of the past; it is to open the spirit of dreams, and to live some delicious moments in the surroundings of pure art that the great Spanish artist knows how to create." The Chopinesque Mazurka (1932) is part of the Cuatro Piezas para Guitarra.

Segovia found the theme of Folia de España in 1930 in Berlin, and wrote to Manuel Ponce: "Do not deny me the pleasure of composing a grand variational work on this theme. In exchange ask for any sacrifice, but do not deny me this!" The result (1932) pleased him: "The variations are as beautiful as any in the Bach Chaconne", but Segovia had his favourites out of the 20 that Ponce composed. Frans Brekelmans made his own choice: after the theme he plays 9 variations: the original no. 2 (allegretto mosso), nr. 3 (lento), no. 8 (moderato), no.4 (un po agitato), no.5 (andantino), no. 6 (allegretto espressivo), no.9 (andantino affettuoso), no.7 (andante), no.19 (vivo e marcato), and then the fugue (moderato).

The first person to answer Segovia's call in the twenties to write new music for the guitar was Torroba, who must have composed the Sonatine (1923) thinking of the words that Segovia wrote in his autobiography: "The guitar is like an orchestra seen through a reversed pair of binoculars: small, and of lyrical intimacy. In it the orchestra is refined and condensed." The Andantino from the Sonatine is a good example of this lyrical intimacy.

Torroba's Nocturne (1926) is a true nocturnal piece with an Andalusian atmosphere.

Estudio sin luz (Etude without light) was written by Segovia himself in 1954, when he was gradually losing his eyesight and had to undergo an operation to prevent him from going blind.

Sonata opus 77 (1934): Castelnuovo-Tedesco was Italian, and in this elegant as well as ironic sonata one can hear World War II coming closer, especially in the fourth part. In 1939, Tedesco fled to Beverly Hills in the United States and kept in touch with Segovia until his death in 1968. The third part is reminiscent of a minuet by the
Italian composer Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805).

Recorded and produced at Chapel Studio, Tilburg, The Netherlands on May 13 & 14 2003 www.chapelstudio.nl
Producer/digital editing: Maarten Hartveldt, Balance engineer: Manuel Kooymans
Guitar by Antonio Marín Montero, Granada 1992, no. 626
Front cover: Photo Theo Uytenhaak Design: John van Alfen
Copyright © Frans Brekelmans, all rights reserved, www.fransbrekelmans.nl
This CD was made possible, in part, by the Voorzieningsfonds voor Kunstenaars, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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