Andrés Segovia

The Art of Andrés Segovia, Vol. 6

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If one can overlook the less-than-modern recording technology on this album, then one will be rewarded by a selection of pieces by this guitar legend. Andrés Segovia recorded these works between 1944 and 1956, and they were remastered in 2010, resulting in a fairly high-quality sound. Segovia's careful phrasing and tender precision come across in the three pavanas by Milán that open this album, and the listener is taken on an auditory tour of a variety of composers and styles. In the Saltarello by an anonymous composer, one hears two different rhythms simultaneously: playing them is not a task for the fainthearted guitarist. Perhaps the least musically sensitive pieces on the album are the works by Handel and Gluck, for they are downright choppy. Though Handel's Sarabande has an interesting theme and variations, it sounds very vertical and chordal, and not legato. This is an odd musical choice on the part of Segovia, but he may have wanted to play each note to be clearly heard. This is in stark contrast with the Morena Torroba Sonatina, which is arguably the strongest work on the album. The music simply moves with beautiful fluidity, as does the stunning work by Esplá. The longest work on the album is by Manén, which begins with wonderful dissonances where each note of the chord is heard, but they are not harsh and broken up. Each note speaks and has importance, for Segovia's style is rather introspective. There is a quiet dignity to this interpretation that makes the listener want to drop everything and listen intently. This goes to show that a great artist can stand the test of time.

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