by Michael Lyons, Music Director
When talking about the great Andres Segovia, you are talking about legend, icon, pillar, teacher, musician extraordinaire, simply put, the grandfather of the 20th Century classical guitar. Besides all of that, Segovia is ranked 4th on Wayne and Garth’s Top Ten List of the Greatest Guitarists of All Time. In other words, you don’t need me or anyone else to speak to you about his greatness or to even suggest that any recordings by this giant sits in the “can’t miss” category. The list of great classical guitarists who are in eternal debt to the great Segovia is endless. And that is in large part because it was Segovia, and Segovia alone, who re-established the respect and reputation that the classical guitar had once held in previous centuries.
“The guitar was caught up in a viscious circle. It was impossible to study it at conservatories, with the result that there were no guitarists. And since there were no guitarists, there were no composers writing for the guitar. There was no music, and so no one learned the instrument. A vicious circle.”
And so Segovia made it his goal to liberate the guitar from “flamenco, wine and women” and bring the centuries-old instrument back into the concert halls.
This 2 CD set of re-issued material is a testament to all the great work did in returning the guitar to it’s rightful place of respect—all of the works on these discs were in fact inscribed to him. From Manuel Ponce to Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, works that are now classics and pillars of the classical guitar repertoire – and they exist because of Andres Segovia. So historically, this is a very important set —- enough said.
Then there is listening pleasure. Whether or not you care about the history of these pieces and the role Segovia played in having them created doesn’t necessarily matter, because what you have here regardless, is well over 2 hours of the most sublime and relaxing music played by one of the greatest performing artists who ever lived. How can you miss? With this CD in your library I am certain that one of your most frequently spoken phrases will surely become, “Bottle of red, bottle of white, let’s get mellow with Segovia tonight.” — and I am certain he would approve.
(DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHONE 4776050)