The Art of Guitar

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Guitar players and fans of John Williams and Andrés Segovia will undoubtedly like this album, but others should note that these are historical recordings, with many of the audio problems that term implies. One may listen past the limited sound quality on Williams' mid-'60s analog recordings and still enjoy his interpretations of Bach's Suite No. 1 in G major and the Suite No. 3 in C major, even though the guitar's timbres are not especially bright, rich, or resonant. Segovia's recordings, however, are more challenging, because his performances are distorted by the boxy and occasionally warbly reproduction. Recorded between 1929 and 1937, and transferred from wax masters, the seven selections have few surface noises, and Segovia seems quite close in the boosted remix. However, some warping is evident in places -- not to be confused with Segovia's wide vibrato -- and his pitches on the high strings are sometimes a little pinched. With the exception of the Chaconne in D minor, which has been skillfully assembled to run its full length, the selections are quite short and a little frustrating for being mere excerpts from Bach's suites and partitas. But if these deficiencies seem surmountable, then by all means give this disc a try -- the expressive music repays attentive listening.

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