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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Andres Segovia - Golden Jubilee

(3-LP boxed set/booklet (Decca Gold Label DXJ 148 (USA), released in 1958))

Containing a wide cross-section of Segovia's artistry, this set is indispensable for classical guitar afficionados, winning for Segovia the 1958 Grammy Award. In researching this album on the internet, I found several comments on the inferior sound encountered when these performances were remastered for CD, which I can only ascribe to overzealous engineering of monaural recordings into stereo for the CD age. Here we have the original sound! Including works by De Murcia (Prelude and Allegro), Sor (Study No. 1 in C; Study No. 9 in A minor; Study No. 20 in G major; Two Minuets), Castelnuevo-Tedesco (Sonata "Homage to Boccherini"), Rodrigo (Fandango; Fantasia para un gentilhombre), Roncalli (Passacaglia; Gigua; Gavotta), Granados (Spanish Dance No. 10 in G), Granados-Llobet (Tonadilla), S. L. Weiss-Ponce (Prelude), Torroba (Pieces caracteristiques - 6 movements), Espla (Antano), Ponce (Allegro in A major; Concierto del Sur), Moussorgsky-Segovia ("The Old Castle" from Pictures at an Exhibition), Roussel ("Segovia"), Segovia (Study),and Tansman (Three Pieces for Guitar). On Rodrigo's Fantasia para un gentilhombre and Ponce's Concierto del Sur , Segovia is accompanied by Symphony of the Air, Enrique Jorda conducting, these two selections taking up the whole of Disc 3. The present album is from my own personal record collection, which I have since mostly replaced with the CD versions. Hence the sale of these much-loved albums.

The 15 page booklet includes a beautiful portrait of Segovia, a poem "The Guitar - for Andres Segovia" by Carl Sandberg and a wonderful essay entitled "The Guitar, that beautiful and mysterious instrument" by Mario Castelnuevo-Tedesco, as well as copious excerpts from Segovia's autobiography, then a work in progress. This is a real collector's item.

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