Andres Segovia

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Doog

Re: Andres Segovia

Post by Doog » Sat Oct 20, 2007 5:55 pm

When I was a student I used to fall asleep [once my evening studies were complete] every night listening to Segovia. There are certainly a lot of accomplished guitarists out there now and some of them may have sweeter personalities than Segovia, but he was a master at his trade.

Back in the 1950s I attended one of his concerts at the Schubert Theater in Detroit, Michigan. It was quite an experience, his playing was masterful and enchanting. Following his formal program he returned to the stage repeatedly to play a total of NINE encores. His encore performance was almost as long as his program. It was a truly beautiful evening filled with beautiful music and it was an unforgettable experience!

That pretty much sums up how I feel about Segovia and and what I think of him. He was not flawless, but he was a mountain of a man who contributed monumentally to the instrument and the music that we love so much.

Doog

tremolo_jones

Re: Andres Segovia

Post by tremolo_jones » Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:14 am

farhad wrote:I've always had this question in my head,but I always thought if I mention it to other classical guitar players they would beat me.
Why it is said that Segovia is one of the best guitar players ever.
Don't get me wrong, his dedications to classical guitar and also raising guitar's status among other classical music instruments are priceless.As we know guitar is looked down by many classical and even Jazz musicians for being easy and pretentious.
What I mean is that I don't see any extraordinary abilities in Segovia's guitar playing.
I really want to hear other members opinions about it.
My wife is not a guitarist. She is very musically literate and plays Brahms wonderfully on the piano.

I had a video of Segovia giving a Masterclass. She watched him demonstrate one little phrase to the student. Nothing that could be classified as technically impressive at all; just a simple little phrase. Her response was "He's a MASTER isn't he."

The people who appreciate Segovia the least tend to be guitarists. We guitarists get so wrapped up in the technique of the instrument that we lose sight of the music. There is also a modern trend to be totally cerebral in our approach to interpretation. This also can easily lead to a well-studied musical mediocrity.

Segovia's playing was pure magic. He was able to achieve what he did by concentrating less on guitar playing and more on music. Rather than hang around with other guitarists he rubbed shoulders with some of the great musicians of his age. That's how he was able to get so many composers to write for the guitar--he knew them.

So these days of making everything into a sports contest (American Idol, countless violin, piano, guitar, etc. competitions) there are guitarists who play faster and cleaner. None that play better however.

I turned on the radio in my car one day and heard something familiar. The middle the first movement of Ponce's "Sonata Romantica" I had no idea who the guitarist was but so much of the music was getting ignored. It was dangerously close to becoming sewing-machine noise. When it was over they announced the performer as someone who is a big name, a contest winner and hugely respected in the classical guitar world.

Imagine if the world of acting/drama was treated this way. Imagine if the greatest actors were considered to be those with the cleanest diction and who could speak their lines the fastest. Nobody would want to go to a play or movie except for other actors.

Before Segovia it was mostly guitarists playing for each other (as in the photos of Tarrega or Llobet surrounded by other guitarists watching and listening). By transcending the instrument and playing music that could touch the very soul of the listener Segovia built an audience of non-guitarists for the guitar. Sadly much of the classical guitar world has reverted to guitarists playing for each other.

cheers,

t_j

tremolo_jones

Re: Andres Segovia

Post by tremolo_jones » Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:41 am

MikFik wrote:And those stubby little fingers of Segovia's made me confident that I could learn to play well even though I also have stubby little fingers. The only real problem I have with Segovia's teaching method concerns the angle of his right wrist when playing. For me it just isn't comfortable and hampers my enjoyment when I try to imitate his style. It sure sounds good though and since I haven't figured a better way I certainly won't critisize it. Maybe it's just my wrist but for me, straight wrists (both left and right) enables me to play much longer with less strain and increases my enjoyment while playing.
Two points. (1) Segovia did not have "stubby little fingers." He had huge hands and long fingers--like carrots. They were rather thick in the base segment ("like sausages") but tapered down at the tip so they didn't get in each others way on the fingerboard. They were ideal fingers for guitar playing.

(2) Segovia's "wrist position" was seldom used by Segovia. If you watch him actually playing the guitar his wrist is rather straight much of the time. He had a very flexible approach to right-wrist position and adapted it to the musical and technical needs of the moment. When he posed for a picture, however, he tended to relax the wrist (it's not playing so let it rest) and that's why there are so many still photos of Segovia posing with his right hand angled down.

cheers,

t_j

tremolo_jones

Re: Andres Segovia

Post by tremolo_jones » Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:56 am

Ruark wrote: Welllllllllllllll.... yes. Segovia had utterly nothing to do with my own interest in CG. Ironically, in fact, I was strongly drawn to classical by some of Atkins' later nylon-string music. His work on the album "This is Chet Atkins" is simply gorgeous, not only in its complexity, but in the breathtaking perfection with which he plays EVERY SINGLE note. His performance of "Both Sides Now" is a beautiful example. But beyond that, Atkins was a true gentleman, kind and polite to everyone he met, no matter who they were or what they played, without a hint of ego or piety, and certainly without the rude arrogance of Andres Segovia. When he deemed Atkins as not even worth speaking to, whatever little respect I had for Segovia went down the toilet.

Here's a good YouTube clip of Atkins, although it's steel string. Keep in mind he's pushing 80 here; this was shortly before he died.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsePsTEgiqU

Ruark
I strongly suspect that Atkins's interest in playing his "later nylon-string music" was influenced either directly or indirectly by Segovia. As John Williams said in a Guitar Review article,"Segovia made the highways, we may travel the side roads but Segovia made the highways."

How many serious classical accordian players can you name? They exist, you know. That's kinda how classical guitar was before Segovia. Llobet played small soirees in drawing rooms. But it was Segovia who became a household name playing in the concert halls worldwide. It was Segovia that made a huge audience of non-classical-guitarists aware that classical guitar playing even existed. Go back to the '50s and you could find Segovia records in an average record shop (vinyl days). That was about the only classical guitar stuff around. Then Bream and Williams appeared. But would they have even had careers without a ready-made, world-wide audience for classical guitar playing?

I'm sure there are many extremely good classical accordian players out there. I, personally, can't name one though.

cheers,

t_j

David_Raleigh_Arnold

Re: Andres Segovia

Post by David_Raleigh_Arnold » Sun Oct 21, 2007 1:32 pm

farhad wrote:I've always had this question in my head,but I always thought if I mention it to other classical guitar players they would beat me.
Why it is said that Segovia is one of the best guitar players ever.
Don't get me wrong, his dedications to classical guitar and also raising guitar's status among other classical music instruments are priceless.As we know guitar is looked down by many classical and even Jazz musicians for being easy and pretentious.
What I mean is that I don't see any extraordinary abilities in Segovia's guitar playing.
I really want to hear other members opinions about it.
Find the performance you like best of any particular piece, and to whatever extent floats your boat, imitate it.

Your own personality will come through. Never worry about sounding too much like him, whoever he is. "*because you can't*" Guess who I'm quoting directly? Segovia, that's who.

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Re: Andres Segovia

Post by Larry McDonald » Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:40 pm

Great quote. Thanks Dave. Did you hear him say this in a master-class?

Larry McDonald

David_Raleigh_Arnold

Re: Andres Segovia

Post by David_Raleigh_Arnold » Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:29 am

Lare wrote:Great quote. Thanks Dave. Did you hear him say this in a master-class?

Larry McDonald
Yes. It is something that needlessly bothers a lot of people.

Francisco
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Re:

Post by Francisco » Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:14 am

brian wrote:llobet--1878-1938
segovia1893-1987

difference of 49 years at a time which saw tremendous
changes in recording, media, availability to the
general public, travel, etc..........

i stand by the fact that llobet would have
given segovia a run for his money. :shock:

**llobet made the first guitar recording*****

edited to clarify dates :idea:
By the early 1920s, when Segovia was in his late 20s and Llobet in his mid 40s, Segovia was already a much more complete and succesful player than Llobet. The thing is that Llobet just didn't have one half of the energy and working capacity that Segovia had. That's a fact. In simpler words, Llobet was rather lazy by Segovia standards (and Segovia said as much) while Segovia was comparatively tireless, totally and obsessively dedicated to the instrument, especially in his youth, and of course he was also hugely talented, how else do you explain he could have done what he did being almost completely self-taught? The reason people filled concert halls to hear him is that they loved the way he played. Not just people ignorant of music. He impressed all the knowledgeable people around with his playing. Before his first concert in Madrid in 1912, aged 18 or 19, he went to the Manuel Ramirez shop intending to *rent" one of his guitars just for the concert (he could not yet afford to buy one). He played for a long time in the shop. Ramirez was so impressed by the way he played that he just gave him the guitar, which Segovia used for over 20 years. Yes, Segovia could be a total a-hole at times, extremely arrogant as the years went by. Sometimes he had justification to be that way, sometimes not. But saying that Llobet would have "given him a run for his money" if he had lived to 94 instead of 60 years of age, is just plain silly.
Last edited by Francisco on Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Contreras
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Re: Andres Segovia

Post by Contreras » Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:32 am

How nice to be given a Contreras like that ...
I wonder where that guitar is now? And I wonder what other guitars Segovia went through in his lifetime?
Put down the bagpipes ...
... and no one gets hurt.

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David_Norton
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Re: Re:

Post by David_Norton » Mon Apr 17, 2017 12:52 am

Francisco wrote:Before his first concert in Madrid in 1912, aged 18 or 19, he went to the Manuel Contreras shop intending to *rent" one of his guitars just for the concert (he could not yet afford to buy one). He played for a long time in the shop. Contreras was so impressed by the way he played that he just gave him the guitar, which Segovia used for over 20 years.
This was Manuel RAMIREZ, not Contreras.
David Norton
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Rick Beauregard
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Re: Re:

Post by Rick Beauregard » Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:02 am

David_Norton wrote:
Francisco wrote:Before his first concert in Madrid in 1912, aged 18 or 19, he went to the Manuel Contreras shop intending to *rent" one of his guitars just for the concert (he could not yet afford to buy one). He played for a long time in the shop. Contreras was so impressed by the way he played that he just gave him the guitar, which Segovia used for over 20 years.
This was Manuel RAMIREZ, not Contreras.
Correct. I heard him tell this famous story myself at the 1982 USC Master Class. "'Take the guitar, it is yours. Pay me without money, "' he quoted Manuel.
All this time I thought I was making music; it was making me.
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Re: Re:

Post by Francisco » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:40 am

Rick Beauregard wrote:
David_Norton wrote:
Francisco wrote:Before his first concert in Madrid in 1912, aged 18 or 19, he went to the Manuel Contreras shop intending to *rent" one of his guitars just for the concert (he could not yet afford to buy one). He played for a long time in the shop. Contreras was so impressed by the way he played that he just gave him the guitar, which Segovia used for over 20 years.
This was Manuel RAMIREZ, not Contreras.
Correct. I heard him tell this famous story myself at the 1982 USC Master Class. "'Take the guitar, it is yours. Pay me without money, "' he quoted Manuel.
Yes, of course, you are right, sorry about this slip. Funny thing is I mentioned this anecdote only about a week ago in another post, and I wrote Ramirez, and this time for some mysterious reason his name got switched in my mind with Contreras. I'll see if I can still correct it.

The story is described in detail in the book "Segovia - an autobiography of the years 1893-1920" published in 1976, which I got from the library and read recently. It is in chapter 7 (pp 49-52).

Francisco
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Re: Andres Segovia

Post by Francisco » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:01 am

David_Raleigh_Arnold wrote:
farhad wrote:I've always had this question in my head,but I always thought if I mention it to other classical guitar players they would beat me.
Why it is said that Segovia is one of the best guitar players ever.
Don't get me wrong, his dedications to classical guitar and also raising guitar's status among other classical music instruments are priceless.As we know guitar is looked down by many classical and even Jazz musicians for being easy and pretentious.
What I mean is that I don't see any extraordinary abilities in Segovia's guitar playing.
I really want to hear other members opinions about it.
Find the performance you like best of any particular piece, and to whatever extent floats your boat, imitate it.

Your own personality will come through. Never worry about sounding too much like him, whoever he is. "*because you can't*" Guess who I'm quoting directly? Segovia, that's who.
There is a conversation/interview with David Russell by Manuel Barrueco, where Barrueco tells Russell that he hears Segovia in some of Russell's playing. They discuss Segovia's "sensuality" (Barrueco's word) and Russell goes on to explain how, yes, he indeed tried to imitate Segovia a lot in his youth. Barrueco says that Segovia these days is often unjustly criticized, and Russell ends up saying that there is some value (as an exercise) in trying to imitate someone as closely as you can, that you can learn from it. I quote:
DR: "You know, sometimes it's worthwhile consciously copying exactly what somebody else has done in their phrases. When you copy really consciously you actually have the physical experience of making the same sounds and the same phrases and the same mixture of sounds and the same balance. It's very difficult! Not just make a caricature, but really get as close to what they've done to find out how they did it. I think you can learn from that."
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