Segovia's Remembranza

A "classroom" environment for exchanging Technical Questions & Answers, How-To's, music theory concepts, etc.
Fretful
Posts: 69
Joined: Wed May 11, 2016 2:00 pm

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by Fretful » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:25 pm

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:46 pm
Segovia himself shirked it releasing both the bottom F and the A , essentially executing the accompaniment as a quarter-note.
Thank you for your comment. As there is - as far we know - no audio or video recording of Segovia playing this study, I am curious to know how you found out that Segovia shirks it. Did you have the good fortune to see him play this piece live ? Elsewhere on this forum, I have related memories of some of his London concerts. If you have some, I'd love to read your impressions. Many thanks.

John Stone
Posts: 346
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:32 am
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by John Stone » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:51 pm

Fretful wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 12:02 pm
John Stone wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:36 am
Can anyone find a Segovia performance of this online? I'll bet he does the same thing.
Yes, here is the maestro himself playing it (audio only) :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLnc9CNzkew
That's not Segovia (as I guess you later realized). I made the same mistake. Would be nice if people on YouTube marked their videos more accurately!
2001 Manuel Velazquez
1977 Ramirez 1a
2014 Cordoba C10
They said, "You have a blue guitar, You do not play things as they are." The man replied, "Things as they are / Are changed upon the blue guitar."

Fretful
Posts: 69
Joined: Wed May 11, 2016 2:00 pm

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by Fretful » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:56 pm

John Stone wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:51 pm
That's not Segovia (as I guess you later realized). I made the same mistake. Would be nice if people on YouTube marked their videos more accurately!
Yes, I did realise, but only thanks to you ... and I was flabbergasted. I had always associated Diaz with this kind of playing : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXpe1XxxJhY ... at best : harsh, staccato, facile, almost slovenly ... it bears no resemblance WHATSOEVER to his alleged youtube rendition of Remembranza which is delicate, exquisite, legatissimo. In fact, that slide in the "bar in question" bears all the hallmarks of Segovia's vibrato immediately following a portemento, bringing to bear - for a fleeting instant only - what almost sounds like a different guitar. Those were always moments of sudden magic which he unexpectedly spun two or three time in every recital.
By the way, how did you manage to edit that youtube video so that it would start when it did ? A useful skill!

John Stone
Posts: 346
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:32 am
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by John Stone » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:59 pm

Fretful wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:56 pm
By the way, how did you manage to edit that youtube video so that it would start when it did ? A useful skill!
If you right-click on a YouTube video, you get some drop-down options, including "Copy video URL at current time." Useful indeed!
2001 Manuel Velazquez
1977 Ramirez 1a
2014 Cordoba C10
They said, "You have a blue guitar, You do not play things as they are." The man replied, "Things as they are / Are changed upon the blue guitar."

Fretful
Posts: 69
Joined: Wed May 11, 2016 2:00 pm

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by Fretful » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:11 pm

John Stone wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:59 pm
If you right-click on a YouTube video, you get some drop-down options, including "Copy video URL at current time." Useful indeed!
Really good to know! Thank you.

User avatar
Mark Clifton-Gaultier
Posts: 1042
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:03 pm
Location: England

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:46 pm

Fretful wrote:
Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:Segovia himself shirked it releasing both the bottom F and the A , essentially executing the accompaniment as a quarter-note.
Thank you for your comment. As there is - as far we know - no audio or video recording of Segovia playing this study, I am curious to know how you found out that Segovia shirks it.
Fretful wrote:The Master himself : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLnc9CNzkew
Sorry for the slow response "Fretful" - just saw this. I took you at your word and fell into the same trap, assuming that the clip was of Segovia. My comment was based on what I observed there i.e. the two notes can clearly be heard to end early (though we now all know that it's Diaz).
Fretful wrote:Did you have the good fortune to see him play this piece live ?
No. Though I did see Segovia on several occasions (met him on a couple) he never performed this. I will add though that I watched his hands intently and saw him avoid or ignore some of the more "hopeful" of his published fingerings many, many times.

As a young player his edition of the Torroba "Sonatina" had driven me mad with frustration in places. I didn't have a recording at that time as I always preferred to learn new (to me) works without being influenced by anyone else's interpretation. It was only watching his live performance that eventually revealed the "misdirection" - also investing me with a liberal amount of scepticism when it comes to editors.

Armed with the score, I confronted him with discrepancies in both the "Sonatina" and "Suite Castellana". He just shrugged, dismissed the sheets with a flap of the hand, gestured at the guitar and said something along the lines of:

"The mistress, we must do what she asks."

That seems reasonable but, to this day, I don't see why he didn't publish what he actually played.

Fretful
Posts: 69
Joined: Wed May 11, 2016 2:00 pm

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by Fretful » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:45 pm

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:46 pm
Armed with the score, I confronted him with discrepancies in both the "Sonatina" and "Suite Castellana". He just shrugged, dismissed the sheets with a flap of the hand, gestured at the guitar and said something along the lines of:"The mistress, we must do what she asks."
You are a brave man!
Always a pleasure to read aneccdotes relating to the old maestro. All ex-students of his say that "they just sit there and do what he says, and that's the end of it". If you wanted to play a G at the eighth fret but he'd decided that it should be at the third, that was that, you played it at the third. I understand it can be a bit similar with JB who sometimes thinks he is JC. Well, he had a vision, and sometimes his cross to bear.
I saw and heard Segovia many times, including his last ever concert in London when I met him, but didn't actually speak to him. They had arranged a long table backstage at the RFH, he was on one side with his wife, there was a throng on the other side. He was in such a foul mood that I didn't go too close.
The first time I heard him was at some girls' school where he did a dry run of a RFH concert arranged by Ibbs and Tillett ; the run may have been dry, but there wasn't a dry eye in the house. I wonder now what guitar he was playing. It could have been the Hauser ...
Last edited by Fretful on Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Mark Clifton-Gaultier
Posts: 1042
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:03 pm
Location: England

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:12 pm

Fretful wrote:You are a brave man!
Ha ha. Actually a foolhardy youth.

mainterm
Posts: 220
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:36 pm

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by mainterm » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:23 pm

Presumably Segovia, Diaz, Parkening and many others possessed the skill to hold the F-A for the full notated duration and chose not to.

This doesn't mean unequivocally that one shouldn't hold the F-A. Go for it - just don't sacrifice musical considerations in doing so.

Notating music in a more and more (and more) accurate, practical manner is a slippery slope - the more details added the greater the risk that performers will slavishly adhere to them, when in fact the composer and/or editor intend that performers place their own stamp (for better or worse).

Rasputin
Posts: 533
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by Rasputin » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:21 pm

What musical reason could there be for not holding it, I wonder. It is Segovia's own composition... if he wanted them to be quarter notes, he would have written them as quarter notes. I can see that you can convey the idea that something is really a half note without playing it as such, but that is not a reason not to play it as such if you can... so if he writes them as half notes but plays them as quarter notes, it's because he is not confident he is going to be able to execute the passage as well (or at all) if he tries to play them as half notes. That's a technical limitation in my book.

I will never understand this hero worship.

mainterm
Posts: 220
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:36 pm

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by mainterm » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:29 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:21 pm
What musical reason could there be for not holding it, I wonder.
plausible musical reason: one wants to isolate the sound of the portamento to E. It sounds nice and draws attention to the sighing melody line.

Notating that precisely is a mess. You drop the F-A somewhere in middle first half of beat 4.

Rasputin wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:21 pm
if he wanted them to be quarter notes, he would have written them as quarter notes
I'd say that if he wanted them to be half notes, he would have played them as half notes.

Rasputin
Posts: 533
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by Rasputin » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:00 pm

Well I'm at a slight disadvantage because I don't know the piece, but I can't see that the F-A is really going to detract from the slide when it is just staying where it is, is in the bass, and will have decayed a good bit anyway, and when the slide is in the treble and is the only thing moving at that point. I'm not convinced the notation would be that messy either. If you really did want to do it exactly you would just make the F-A dotted quarters, surely, and if you are into looking at the musical intention behind the notation (I am all for that in principle) then quarter notes would get it across at least as well as half notes. That said, I think one of your points above was that this is supposed to be a technical exercise, and this seems to me to imply that we should take the notation literally.
mainterm wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:29 pm
Rasputin wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:21 pm
if he wanted them to be quarter notes, he would have written them as quarter notes
I'd say that if he wanted them to be half notes, he would have played them as half notes.
Except that we can write whatever we like, but we can't always play whatever we like - so where there is a discrepancy between what someone writes and what that same person plays, the most plausible explanation is that they can't quite play what they have written and have to find a workaround - especially where what they have written is really difficult to play!

Naturally, I'm a bit jealous of anyone who can actually play this as written... so in a way I don't want Segovia to have been able to do that.

mainterm
Posts: 220
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:36 pm

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by mainterm » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:54 pm

I liked playing this piece a long time ago - I am familiar with it, if only in a kind of nostalgic way. Apt considering the title. Executing the portamento from D-E whilst holding just the the F in the bass is easy. Holding the F and the A presents some additional difficulty, but is still doable - awkward at best, but doable.

If you really want to execute a *fast*, nuanced and smooth portamento/gliss. to the E, holding the F-A for a half or even dotted quarter becomes nearly impossible.

So, the payoff here is not in reasonable proportion to the sudden increase in difficulty. Especially when an obvious alternative is provided.
Rasputin wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:00 pm
... we can write whatever we like, but we can't always play whatever we like - so where there is a discrepancy between what someone writes and what that same person plays, the most plausible explanation is that they can't quite play what they have written and have to find a workaround - especially where what they have written is really difficult to play!
I agree that is a plausible explanation, but I don't think it's the only one.

Let's assume that Segovia's intention was to notate it precisely as he played it... just a thought experiment.

Here's the problem: notating with a quarter note cuts the F-A off prematurely. Notating the F-A as a dotted quarter actually doesn't help with the slide from D - It only isolates the E. So, to capture the F-A release after the D and before the E requires some craziness notation-wise. (and would I'm sure, draw out all kinds of ire on forums like this one many years later)

If however you explicitly indicate the 4-4 slide from D to E, knowing full well the limitations of the left hand and that this is an intermediate level study, a composer / editor / engraver could choose the half note knowing full well that it will not be played precisely as written (and that there may be some interesting and various takes on it).

Rasputin
Posts: 533
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by Rasputin » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:15 am

Well we're not so far apart if you think that the reason for letting go of the F-A is that it's the only way to get a fast, nuanced and smooth gliss. If you are saying that given the technical ability to hold those notes down while still getting a good gliss, that would be preferable, but that in practice you have to choose, I agree entirely. In theory the F and A are half notes, and the listener may even process them as such, but playing always involves compromises and it may be that the best compromise here is to cut them a bit short so as to get the slide just right. That is not what I had understood you to be saying in previous posts though - I thought you were saying that Segovia could have done it just fine either way but chose the easier way for musical reasons.

Fretful
Posts: 69
Joined: Wed May 11, 2016 2:00 pm

Re: Segovia's Remembranza

Post by Fretful » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:51 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:21 pm
What musical reason could there be for not holding it, I wonder. It is Segovia's own composition... if he wanted them to be quarter notes, he would have written them as quarter notes.
mainterm wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:23 pm
Presumably Segovia, Diaz, Parkening and many others possessed the skill to hold the F-A for the full notated duration and chose not to.
This strikes at a fundamental debate regarding what a sudy is, or is not. Therein lies in my view a serious weakness in guitar pedagogy which - it had once been promised - would have been remedied by Segovia, but never was or, if it was, was never released.
One picks up studies by Coste, Carcassi, Sor, Aguado, and half the time one has no idea what they really are supposed to be doing to your technique ; there is never a word added. A great exception to this is the Villa-Lobos canon of the Twelve ; there is no ambiguity there because he targets particular formulae which he repeats ad infinitum, thus drumming in a specific aspects of development.
With Remembranza, the only reason we know it is a study is because Segovia says so, although there is quite a bit of LH lateral spread :
REMEMBRANZA - p 5 - line 3.jpg
these bars also offer an excellent opportunity to work on LH shifts which are not too big and can be practiced WITHOUT looking at the LH while developing the ability to keep one's eyes on the score thus facilitating sight-reading. There is also a lot of thumb agility (playing consecutive notes on the higher strings) :
REMEMBRANZA - p 4 - line 1.jpg
AND the speed which, at the prescribed 120, becomes very taxing and is certainly not, as has been suggested in one of the posts, an intermediate study.
Then, there is the much debated :
REMEMBRANZA.jpg
the 'A' could easily have been written as a crotchet, allowing for 2 to be lifted and "free" 4 for the flight to E! But it is NOT marked as a crotchet, but as a minim. If Remembranza were a piece, one might well be lenient. But as it is a study, it would seem to be a great loss of opportunity not to work on that stretch and develop finger independance, ESPECIALLY where the little finger is concerned.
If one forgoes the chance, if one shirks this hurdle, where do you stop this syndrome ? Do you then also shirk all the finger 4 difficulties in Villa-Lobos Etude No 10 ?
VILLA-LOBOS - Etude N0 10.jpg
At that rate, you'l never develop fully! ... It is true that it gets very hard but the benefits, eventually, will be enormous. The crucial reconfiguring of the LH of a guitarist is evident in this X-ray of a guitarist's hands :
GUITARIST'S HANDS - X-RAY.jpg
GUITARIST'S HAND - marked.jpg
This physiological development of the little finger, by the way, became apparent after some eighteen months' work on the HVL Twelve Etudes. The fact that the most "stretch" occurred to the middle phallanx of the pinkie is intriguing).The difference made by this elongation of the hand was amazing and was in line with a remark once made by John Willilams (perhaps the quintessential technician) and which will be related in a post in the Classical Guitar Technique section ("Stretching Exercises Given ...").
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Return to “Classical Guitar Classes”