This recording presents the creative side of Andrés Segovia, the most important guitarist of the 20th century. Segovia helped to bring the guitar to the concert halls of the world, giving it equal status to the piano and the violin. He was the prime mover behind the enrichment of the guitar repertoire in the first half of the last century, commissioning many composers and having countless more works dedicated to him.
However, his acknowledged status as a performer, his work as a composer has been largely ignored. Segovia wrote almost 50 individual works, most of them intimate miniatures, many of which are masterpieces just waiting to be discovered and enter the guitar repertoire. He was self-taught as both a guitarist and a composer. His study and transcriptions of music from Purcell to Granados evidently left their mark.
The titles – Preludes, Studies, Variations and so forth – suggest that Segovia intended his music to be of practical use in teaching, and they do explore systematic areas of guitar technique. However, the character of these pieces is often intimate and is not tied to the trademark virtuosity of his playing; his poetic world was lyrical and introspective, occasionally tinged with an ironic or humorous touch. His style is close to that of the composers he loved most, such as the contemporaries, Ponce and Federico Moreno-Torroba above all, who wrote for him. However, there are also echoes of the Romantic guitar composers of the 19th century, including Tárrega, Llobet and traditional folk tunes from the Iberian peninsula.
The selection made by Alberto Rocca includes the Oración, Remembranza and Estudio sin luz, which have become repertoire items for many guitarists. However, the album concludes with the much less commonly heard 23 Canciones populares de distintos países: harmonizations of folk songs from European countries, small and exquisite sketches.
Andres Segovia is without doubt one of the most important guitarists of the 20th century. He helped to bring the guitar to the concert hall, giving it equal status of instruments like the piano or the violin; he also enriched the 20th century guitar repertoire, commissioning and receiving works by many composers of his time. He has influenced generations of guitarists to date. Despite his fame as a performer his work as a composer has been largely ignored. Segovia was the author of a substantial number of compositions (nearly fifty) of high musical quality, most of which are actually true masterpieces just waiting to be discovered and enter the guitar repertoire.
Segovia’s works are poetic, lyrical and introspective. His inspiration came from fellow Spanish composers like Ponce and Moreno-Torroba, but there are also echos of 19-th century masters like Tarrega and Llobet, the background always being the rich Spanish folklore and popular culture. Beautifully played by Alberto la Rocca, clearly a labour of love and respect, a homage to one of the great masters of the guitar.