Andres Segovia

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Andres Segovia

Post by farhad » Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:55 pm

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.



Post by cn90 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:22 pm

Actually, CG is looked down by other musicians (violinists, pianists) but not by CGists.

Segovia pros and cons:

1. Elevate the guitar from a "gypsy" instrument to an instrument of near equal footing with more "prestigous" instruments like violin, piano etc.
2. Created more literature through:
- transcription of known music from composers such as JS Bach, Granados, Albeniz etc.
- new compostions for guitar such as from Ponce, Rodrigo etc.
3. Tireless concertizing even before his death.

1. His ego is big
2. He did not see other people's way of playing as good as his.

After all, Segovia's playing, although at times choppy, is basically romantic and magic because of the way he "painted" the picture. His playing is full of colors and palettes, very much like an artist paints a painting: it is all about mixing colors and create a masterpiece.

The way Segovia mixed his portamento, glissandos, vibratos, rubatos are basically unique and not reproducable, even if you try to imitate it. Christopher Parkening tried very hard to copy Segovia's playing but it is simply not the same.


Post by farhad » Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:13 pm

I completely agree with you about his dedications to classical guitar.
But to me Julian Bream,John Williams,Fisk,Dyens and many other guitar players sound better than him.Sometimes I meet some people who has started playing CG for a very short time and they say Segovia is the best ever.I think it's become like a stereotype.It's like people saying French language is beautiful or Bach or Mozart is the greatest composer ever.
My opinions are usually unconventional and it's the case here as well.
Or sometimes I reckon I can't appreciate what the others can.


Music is like wine!!!

Post by cn90 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:07 pm

1. It is a matter of taste.

2. Some love Californian red and others love French red wine.
etc. and etc.

If you listen carefully to Segovia recordings, his sound is:
- most of the time the phrasing is excellent and very polyphonic.
- nicely placed of vibratos and rubatos.
- powerful and full of 'confidence'

- I am not a big fan of his JS Bach interpretation, but his best is actually in Spanish music....where his roots are:

Listen to his rendering of:
a. Rodrigo's Fandango...amazing rubato and colors
b. Granados' Spanish Dance #10....absolutely beautiful, unsurpassable
c. Granados' La Maja de Goya...simply beautiful, unsurpassable
d. Villa-Lobos Etude #1....simply magical.

When you listen to Segovia's recordings, you simply have to 'pick and choose', and find out where his strength is....:)


Post by farhad » Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:29 pm

It's true.His performance on Rodrigo's works are excellent.But for Villa-lobos Etude No.1 I definitely prefer Bream's performance.And I really agree with you.Some of the Bach he plays I just don't like.He also made the best transcription of Leyenda(even better than Tarrega in my opinion),but I prefer John Williams playing it.
And I go and have a listen to his performances of Granados.

Guitar Slim

Post by Guitar Slim » Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:52 pm

A couple of things to keep in mind.

1. Technique, practice and general knowledge have improved greatly since Segovia's day. No question that players of later generations are going to be more technically proficient.

2. Most of the recordings you hear of Segovia were made when he was in his 60s and 70s. And he was tragically prone to loss of physical dexterity as he grew older. We are hearing him at far from his best when we hear these recordings.

3. There is a 2-cd collection by EMI called "Andres Segovia 1927-1939 Recordings." If you want to hear Segovia at the height of his powers, you need to listen to these CDs. His playing is bold, brash, incredibly powerful and technically quite amazing. He was a virtuoso by any definition of the word. When you listen to these older recordings, you will hear a very different Segovia. And when you realize that virtually no one in the general public had heard the classical guitar before they heard Segovia, you will better understand why he made the impact that he did.


Post by farhad » Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:05 pm

I absolutely agree that everything about CG improved after him.
And I don't have his old recordings.I'll tray find them and have a listen.
Now I'm quite curious :?:
And thx for the information you gave me.


Post by BbMinor » Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:22 pm

farhad wrote:Fisk
I am no super-big fan of Segovia, but I like what he did and I like his way of playing and the things he achieved for guitar, but...

Fisk is, in my opinion, one of the worst "top guitarists" ever. :?


Post by musicalhair » Tue Jun 26, 2007 11:11 pm

Piggy backing on what others have said, I'd like to add whats already been stated implictly, that: you can't compare guys that came after Segovia to him because he had such an influence on most of them. The early Segovia recordings are killer. I like the way he handled Ponce's music very much also. I can't speak for all his stuff as I haven't heard it all, but I agree that what he is good at he sets the standard.

The other thing to realize is: he played well for a seriously long time. I have suffered wickedly from tendinitis over the years and I'm only 43; Segovia was the Lou Gehrig or "Iron Horse" of guitar.


Segovia recordings.........

Post by cn90 » Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:10 am

I suggest that....

1. This is a must-have, simply beautiful set bought from Barnes Noble for about US$39 (sometimes Barnes Noble has sales 3 for 2 etc.). It is simply inexpensive for a set of 4 CDs... ... 3024&itm=5

This is a beautiful recompilation of Segovia works, recorded in the 1950-60 period, simply at Segovia best.
- recording technology was better (stereo) than in 1920-30 (mono)
- nylon (not gut) strings
- his 1937 Hauser rather than the 1912 Ramirez 1A

In this set:
Track 10 is his famous Fandango
Track 37 is Spanish Dance #10
Track 38 is La Maja de Goya

This set of CDs was reviewed by Peter Kun Frary, Professor of Music • University of Hawaii, Leeward, worth reading through: ... review.htm

2. The "early" recordings, here if you want to explore: ... 928&itm=14

I have Segovia's early recording alsot but do not like it much because:
- his virtuosity was still good in the 1950-60's (see above)
- the period of gut strings, even for the violinists (yes......gut strings which have been universally replaced by nylon strings)
- recording technology was mono

I still prefer his recordings from 1950-60s, it showed more "maturity" as the artist grew older...:) :) :)


Post by cn90 » Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:18 am

Nartak wrote:
farhad wrote:Fisk
I am no super-big fan of Segovia, but I like what he did and I like his way of playing and the things he achieved for guitar, but...

Fisk is, in my opinion, one of the worst "top guitarists" ever. :?
I have all of Eliot Fisk recordings....

Oh Oh, this one I have to take issue with!!!! Fisk to me is one of the worst classical guitarists, sloppy and riding on his old reputation. His playing is weird, unconvetional, maybe he wants to prove that he is "special" by doing unconventional things.

The only CD worth listening to is his 24 Capprici, otherwise his other CDs are not much to admire.


Post by farhad » Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:45 am

Well,I'm very surprised to hear about your opinion about Fisk. :shock:
I think he's got complete control over guitar.Although I accept the fact that sometimes he plays different or as you said tries to be different.
And for Segovia,I already mentioned that I know what he did for guitar and how he influenced all other guitar players.But that's not what I'm talking about.What I say that he is not the best CG player as many people say.And I think even in his time or before him they were guitar players who had higher skills but Segovia got famous because of many other reasons that there's no need to mention.


Post by wolfgang » Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:13 am

For me there is no "best" or something. All the players are so individual that for me it doesn't make sense to compare them. Some pieces I love from Segovia, some from Bream, some from Williams etc. etc. Some are technical masters, others have an breathtaking palette of sound colour. I love all of them.

What I don't like (speaking of professional musicians) is when the playing is sloppy, or when I don't seem to see love for the instrument and the music in their playing.

However, I'm talking about my listening experience from recordings. There are people out there who have seen those masters live. That must have been a different experience alltogether. I've still been in my swaddling-clothes when Segovia was performing, and I didn't show too much interest in guitar. Therefore I'm very happy now that all those recordings exist.



Post by AndrewD » Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:14 pm

wollfang wrote:For me there is no "best" or something. All the players are so individual that for me it doesn't make sense to compare them. Some pieces I love from Segovia, some from Bream, some from Williams etc. etc. Some are technical masters, others have an breathtaking palette of sound colour. I love all of them.
That is very much my way of thinking too. Segovia did a fantastic and difficult job in raising the profile of the modern classical guitar. Other players have since built on that work and extended in other areas. John Williams is a fantastic technician but some say his playing sounds too clinical; Bream takes more liberties with the timings of many pieces than does Williams. David Russell sounds different again. There are as many different interpretations of a piece as there are people playing it. Segovia is a part of the overall spectrum, as are we all.


Post by williz50 » Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:12 pm

Personally, Segovia is my utmost favorite, and i know its sterotypical, but I just love his tone, I dont know how to explain it, maybe it's also something to do with the old recordings of his i have, but theres just so much emotion in it.

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