The tracks on this double LP span the period 1952-1969 which means that Andres Segovia was as old as 76 when he made some of these recordings. Impressive.
Tuned-in fans of guitar music of all genres from the mid-twentieth century onwards will, I have little doubt, hear just how pervasive the man's influence is. For my part, I can hear echoes of Segovia in the works of Vini Reilly and Mark Kozelek.
There's also a timeless minimalism to these pieces. It is after all, just one man and a guitar (except for the last track) and many of the recordings are in mono (incidentally the quality of the remaster is second to none).
Every home should have at least one Segovia album and "The Art of Segovia" is, I suspect, an ideal starting point especially for those whose staple musical diet, like this reviewer's, does not regularly consist of classical music.
The discs arrived this morning and I have played them through twice already.
I have recordings by a number of guitarists, including Narciso Yepes, Bream, and John Williams being the most well known. Yepes is probably the most contemporary artist to Segovia and in many ways shares a similar style. But hearing these Segovia recordings for the first time the thing that is immediately apparent is not his technique, which is exemplary, but his phrasing. He just seems so at home with his guitar.
In the early 1960's I bought a cheap LP of some of his Bach transcriptions and the quality of the transfer left a lot to be desired and did him no favours, such that I was put off forever! Coming to these recordings now, some 50 years on, I can appreciate what I missed. But this is in no small measure due to the quality and mastering of the digital transfers from the original analogue tapes. The vast majority of the tracks are mono, with just seven being in stereo. But with a guitar I don't think this really matters. It naturally is a small scale instrument with a small sound source so good mono sound suits it fine.
Now, not to get carried away by the quality of the transfers, although good, they are not uniform across the two CD set, and one does have to make certain allowances for the age of the original recordings. Nevertheless, for the most part they never drop down below "good" except in the New York 1958 takes and which, for some reason, sound like he is in the bathroom. Not a nice sound at all. And this leads to my main problem with the CD's. Recordings that span 15 years, the earliest and to my mind, and surprisingly, the best sounding are the New York 1952 sessions, are interspersed across the CD's, and the change of recorded sound is obvious when listening to tracks in succession. Contrary to what you might expect with the technological advances made in tape recording, the actual recorded sound does not improve that much in later years, judged on the sound here. Actually, this is no bad thing as the sound changes from track to track are not violent. However, the first stereo track, no. 6, comes as a shock as the guitar is now as broad as the distance between the speakers!
With the sound caveats aside, and really they are not deal breakers, one can just sit back, relax and listen to some fantastic solo guitar by, probably, the most consummate classical guitarist of all time.
This is a fantastic collection of Segovia's "greatest hits" with the guitar. Goes way beyond Spanish guitar but also more "classical guitar". Highly recommended and worth the price considering you get two CDs at around 78 minutes each.
Wow.... what a great buy!! Its one of the best CDs I've ever bought!! I've always enjoyed classical music but classical music at a professional level has always been hard for me to distinguish, I mean they all sound absolutely great.
I only recently started getting into classical guitars but boy oh boy have I discovered something great in my life. So far, I've greatly enjoyed Julian Bream and John Williams and still do ... but Andres is definitely my favourite. It's the first classical music where I can compare the professionals and definitively say "this is my favourite ... I can feel the difference ... its a style of playing I enjoy immensely". Can't wait to get my next one.
We first saw and heard the great man many years ago. He was 92 and still a genius for delicate fingering. What;s not to like? He was also, as I'm sure fans know, the musician who regenerated Spanish Classical guitar compositions, so he wa not only a great artist but also a pioneer.
The quality of the recordings of Segovia not great due to recording technology but this double CD I believe to be the best collection of classical guitar music there is . Segovia will never be surpassed as a performer I believe