Saturday, September 28, 2013

Andrés Segovia and Edith Weiss-Mann Play Bach

   Andrés Segovia who was first master of modern guitar, was also the teacher of virtually every virtuoso in second half of 20th century. And who was not one of his students, has to be student of one of Segovia’s pupils. His significance as the artist who established position of classical guitar as the concert instrument was absolutely crucial. He created for this instrument whole space of sound and interpretative possibilities. His attitude to traditional guitar techniques, to elements of folk guitar techniques and repertoire choices paved the way for the guitar in contemporary musical culture. Segovia was guitar virtuoso continuing tradition of Spanish guitar. Pieces of Fernando Sor and Francisco Tarrega were in his repertoire as much  as other works by Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Granados whose works he transcribed for guitar himself and original works for guitar by Federico Mompou, Joaquin Rodrigo, Federico Moreno Torroba. He was also author of many transcriptions for guitar of many other composers, especially works by Johann Sebastian Bach.
   Andrés Segovia Torres, 1st Marquis of Salobreña, distinguished master of classical guitar has played many Bach recitals with works he transcribed himself. The one published by Allegro Records (ALL 750) included fragments from Lute Sonata E Major BWV 996, Lute Sonata C Major BWV 999 and Lute Sonata G Major BWV 1000, Cello Sonata No. 6 BWV 1012. After Prelude from 3rd Violin Partita E Major BWV 1006 is culminate work Chaconne from 2nd Violin Partita D Major BWV 1004. Since premiere of Bach’s Chaconne in 1935 this transcription was one of most acclaimed pieces in Segovia’s repertoire. His performances of the work were always phenomenal in its emotional suspense, motoric and yet undecided, stable and quivering. Maybe it’s temperature of public performance, maybe esthetic choice of historic moment, whatever it was, these recordings are still worth to feel and understand.

Andres Segovia and Edith Weiss-Mann Play J. S. Bach (1964)

   The record label states both sides were recorded during public performance in 1964. This false information was contained on record label, but there are no signs of presence of the audience and considering other circumstances in 1964 this recording was not possible. Both labels and cover are reliable at the level of used car sale notice. Probably the date 1964 is the year recitals were published by Allegro Records. Because these two different recitals. As it was standard for smaller record companies in sixties, great name on front cover was only first side artist, and second side was filled with recording by any other artist. It was even justified since those times musical market was just creating standards for long playing records. And on this level of recorded music expansion ideas of taking advantages of technology were sometimes very naïve. This can be seen also as the continuation of rules for customary space on posters.
   On the second side of the record, there are two Bach’s Concertos played by Edith Weiss-Mann – Italian Concerto F Major BWV 971 and Concerto No. 3 in D Major after Benedetto Marcello BWV 974. Born in Hamburg in 1885, since 1939 she was living in New York where she debuted with recital in 1949. Two years later she died in Westfield, New Jersey. Understanding her achievements in early music and period musical instruments revival, considering this is rare chance to listen her interpretations, she should be featured as the main personality of the album, and if together with Segovia, only on an equal footing. It would be reasonable. As performing artist and as the teacher she was doing for the harpsichord the same work as Segovia did for guitar. Rarities on this album have considerable value although non-professional level of the edition makes them hard to reach. Great musical stuff but in bad edition deserves two and half star only.

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