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Andrès Segovia and his Contemporaries - Volume 13 After Tárrega: The Guitar in Spain, Part 1 rec. 1927-30 DOREMI DHR-8079 [75:43]
So comprehensive has this series become that it is now sprouting sub-series. Thus, this is now volume 13 in the ‘Segovia and his contemporaries’ series but it also marks the first part of a new marque; ‘After Tárrega; the guitar in Spain, Part 1, 1927-30’. Once you have absorbed the implications and ramifications of all that you can proceed to the recordings of seven Spanish guitarists, of whom Segovia is obviously the most well-known. He is represented by four famous 78s made in 1927-28.
Some of the discs must be harder to source than others. The single disc that introduces Juan Nogués Pon, for example, is quite scuffy on both 78 sides - Bargallo and Sor – but it’s worth persisting because this is his only known recording, made for the Odeon company only a couple of years before his premature death. Similar damage afflicts Sor’s Estudio played by Alfredo Romea Catalina in 1929 but one can immediately hear how his technique outdistances that of the more rough and ready Pon. Catalina’s control of dynamics, articulation and sense of colour are all marvelously vivid, and he is a real communicator. He is also responsible for excavating the earliest music in this selection of 25 pieces, de Visée’s Minuetto-Danza – baroque lute music adapted for a twentieth-century guitarist of style and refinement and, as he shows in Arcas’ Aragonesa, wit as well.
The largest slice of recordings is won by Juan Parras del Moral. Like Segovia, whom he knew well in younger days, he was largely self-taught, and had a fine appreciation of the valuable proselytizing nature of the gramophone if this selection is a fair index. He made the first guitar recording of Granados’ Danza española and serves up a heavily accented but exciting Albéniz Preludio española and plays his own Falla-esque Motivos Españoles with infectious brio. Again, some of these sides are rather scuffy but they are, in compensation, forwardly recorded. His repertory on disc is consistently impressive.
There are four sides representing the art of Anselmo Ojembarrena, a little-known Basque player who, in addition to many performances in his native land, travelled as far as America to perform. Despite this, it appears that even his date of death is shrouded in silence. He had a contract with Columbia which must reflect his high standing at the time, and his popularity, and he recorded folkloric material which he does with extrovert elan, bringing the pieces to verdant life. He plays as he looks from the surviving photograph of him – big, open-hearted and generous. P. Lopez Arencibia made only a few discs which makes the one here, recorded for Odeon in Barcelona in 1930, that much more valuable. His own piece is pleasing though again the copy used chuffs all the way through but his Tárrega is not a patch on the stylish Parras del Moral’s playing of the composer.
Miguel Ángel Martinez is the youngest player in this selection, born in 1899, and has always been considered one of Tárrega’s best pupils. Happily, he plays a brace of his master’s pieces showing real acumen in touch and in the Gran Jota the fleetest of fingers; an important player. This leaves Segovia, whose four sides require no comment other to note that they are definitely ‘surfacey’ and hence a little noisy but the guitar spectrum is brought forward more than is the case in the EMI ‘Icon’ box devoted to the guitarist; a pretty good trade-off in my book.
Sometimes, in fact often in my experience, Doremi’s biographical notes are slim but here the company has gone to town with a sixteen page booklet, with fine photographs, full colour reproductions of record labels and an excellent essay on the performers allied to which there us a valuable lists of consulted books, newspapers and a reference to the Regal and Columbia catalogues; the project leader was Jack Silver.
Given the relative rarity of some of these sides I’d hope those intrigued by these performers listen through some of these defects to the individual, colourful and sometimes idiosyncratic performances contained in these shellac discs.
Contents Juan Nogués Pon (1875-1930)
Nocturno (Miguel Mas y Bargallo) (1927-28) [3:01]
Minuetto en re (Sor) (1927-28) [2:18] Alfredo Romea Catalina (1883-1955)
Estudio (Sor) (1929) [2:53]
Bolero (Coste) (1929) [3:30]
Minuetto-Danza (de Visée) (1929) [3:05]
Aragonesa (Arcas) (1929) [3:31] Juan Parras del Moral (1889-1973)
Danza Española (Granados) (1930) [3:33]
Granada (Albeniz) (1930) [3:38]
Preludio Española (Albeniz) (1930) [4:34]
Fandanguillo (Moreno Torroba) (1930) [1:48]
Motivos Españoles (Parras del Morral) (1930) [2:58]
Capricho Pavana (Tárrega) (1930) [1:43]
Minuetto (Sor) (1930) [2:26] Anselmo Ojembarrena (1890-?)
Poru-Salda (pot-pourri vasco) (c. 1930) [2:16]
El Aurresku (baile popular vasco) (c. 1930) [2:50]
Recuerdos de Burdeos (pasodoble) (1930s) [2:40]
Jota (1930s) [2:44] P. Lopez Arencibia (1892-1955)
Allegretto Cantabile (Arencibia) (1930) [3:29]
Preludio (Tárrega) (1930) [3:26] Andrès Segovia (1893-1987)
Thème varié (Sor) (1927) [3:26]
Gavotte en Rondeau (Bach) (1927) [2:45]
Fandanguillo (Turina) (1928) [3:53]
Tremolo Study (Tárrega) (1928) [3:19] Miguel Ángel Martinez (1899-?)
Danza Mora (Tárrega) (late 1920s) [2:52]
Gran Jota (Tárrega) (late 1920s) [2:54]