Newly discovered Segovia concert recording

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woodenhand
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Newly discovered Segovia concert recording

Post by woodenhand » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:13 am

I just received a sale catalog from a certain Japanese company (I assume I cannot give its name here). They announce the sale of a CD made from a newly discovered recording of a performance given by Segovia in Tokyo on May 19, 1959. The recording is apparently in good condition. There are nine pieces including:

Bach: Gavotte I & II
Sor: Grand Solo
Villa Lobos: Prelude No. 3
Albeniz: Torre Bermeja

That's all the information given in the catalog. One assumes the CD includes details.

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David Norton
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Re: Newly discovered Segovia concert recording

Post by David Norton » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:28 am

I'd be interested in acquiring a copy of that one, particular as I was born less than a week after that date.

[EDIT: I just found the site and placed an order. Should arrive in a couple of weeks. Maybe!!]
David Norton
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woodenhand
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Re: Newly discovered Segovia concert recording

Post by woodenhand » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:44 am

The CD is titled "Andres Segovia Japan Concert 1959." Interested people should be able to find it with their favorite search engines.

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David Norton
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Re: Newly discovered Segovia concert recording

Post by David Norton » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:36 am

My copy arrived in today's mail, and here's quick review of it.

TRACK LISTING

1. Applause (0'31")
2. BACH: Gavottes I & II, BWV 1012 (4'23")
3. RAMEAU: Minuet (3'49")
4. SOR: Grand Solo, Op. 14 (7'02")
5. VILLA-LOBOS: Prelude #3 (4'59")
6. GRANADOS: Danza Española #10 (4'38")
7. ALARD-TARREGA: Estudio brillante (2'23")
8. ALBENIZ: Torre Bermeja (4'20")
9. GOMEZ CRESPO: Norteña (3'41")
10. VILLA-LOBOS: Etude #1 and ending statement in Japanese by Segovia (2'33)

First observation is, this is a very short programme. Total disc running time is 38'19", and that is somewhat misleading as every track has at least 15 seconds of dead air time and applause. So maybe 35 minutes of music itself. It's also a quirky programme, beginning with Bach rather than with vihuela or lute music. So I tend to think this is probably a case of "excerpted highlights" versus a complete concert presentation. The CD booklet is entirely in Japanese, so there may be an explanation written in there, which I cannot read.

The recording quality itself is quite good, his playing is picked up quite clearly and the harmonics in "Torre Bermeja" and "Norteña" come through crisply. He slightly changes a couple of the chords in the latter piece from what is on the LP version; whether this was intentional or a well-concealed error of the moment is impossible to know.

Segovia's playing is, well, Segovia. Obviously an unedited live concert, and a small few blemishes along the way. The use of dynamics and coloration is what you'd expect. Some of the fast arpeggios in the Sor or Albeniz works are slightly ragged, but this is from the vantage point of some 58 years later, and with ears which are accustomed to the flawless technical perfection of younger players. Suffice to say that, pedantry aside, the majority of the playing is impeccable and brilliantly executed.

Overall a very good CD, and nice to know that there are undiscovered Segovia performances out there still.
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Lovemyguitar
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Re: Newly discovered Segovia concert recording

Post by Lovemyguitar » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:39 am

This sounds like a very interesting CD. Thanks to woodenhand for the initial info, and thanks to David for taking the time to write the review. Cheers!

woodenhand
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Re: Newly discovered Segovia concert recording

Post by woodenhand » Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:43 am

"The CD booklet is entirely in Japanese, so there may be an explanation written in there, which I cannot read."

I subsequently ordered a copy, which has not arrived yet. If there is any important information in the explanation, I'll write about it here.

woodenhand
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Re: Newly discovered Segovia concert recording

Post by woodenhand » Sat Dec 16, 2017 5:59 am

The CD arrived today. The sound quality, though not stereo, is excellent. And although I had muted expectations about Segovia's performance, it is surprisingly good. Whatever you think of his style, there are many characteristic qualities to this performance. I was surprised by the very light touch in the fast runs of the Sor piece.

Unfortunately, the explanation about the performance and recording — which I eagerly read upon opening the CD — says nothing at all about the provenance of the recording, or about whether this was the entire performance or only excerpts. I intend to ask the CD publisher about this and will report any information I obtain.

Apparently Segovia's first visit to Japan was in 1929, so this one came exactly 30 years later when the Maestro was 65. On that occasion he spent 35 days in Japan and gave 12 performances.

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David Norton
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Re: Newly discovered Segovia concert recording

Post by David Norton » Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:41 pm

Thanks for the update WH.
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woodenhand
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Re: Newly discovered Segovia concert recording

Post by woodenhand » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:57 am

A few days ago I emailed the company which issued the CD, and today received a kind reply from them to a number of questions. Following is a distillation of the information (the email is in Japanese).

The tape's current owner wishes to remain anonymous. It's not clear how the current owner came into possession, but the company thinks (imagines) that it probably changed hands a number of times in the past.

The company became aware of the tape's existence 10-odd years ago, and one of its people tracked it down (no details on this; perhaps they are not at liberty to be specific). Because over 50 years had elapsed since the recording was made, the copyright "neighboring rights" had expired, so the company decided to make the CD and release it after obtaining the consent of Carlos Segovia (the Maestro's son).

Everything on the tape is on the CD. (Due to the short program, I had asked if these nine pieces had been excerpted from a longer recording). The company thinks this was the entire performance. The email reveals the documented fact that earlier that same day, Segovia had performed the Tedesco concerto with orchestra (the CD liner notes mention that Segovia performed the concerto twice during his stay in Japan). It's not clear, however, whether the concerto and the solo performance were the same program or separate programs. Be that as it may, they guess that the solo performance was short because it followed the concerto performance.

No one knows if the concerto performance was likewise recorded, though the email mentions that if such a recording were found, it would be a "really big discovery."

I hope this adds a bit of interesting information on the history of CG and Segovia.

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David Norton
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Re: Newly discovered Segovia concert recording

Post by David Norton » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:39 am

Thanks for the update, WH!
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woodenhand
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Re: Newly discovered Segovia concert recording

Post by woodenhand » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:12 am

I just took another look at the email I received, and noticed I forgot to include one fact: Apparently no one knows who recorded the performance, or why. I suppose there's a possibility that it was a bootleg recording, although that seems remote in view of the fact that in 1959 recording equipment was still quite large and hard to conceal. Also, it's evident by listening to the CD that the microphone was placed in close proximity to Segovia. Long-range gun microphones likely did not exist then. So I think it's virtually certain that the recording was made with Segovia's knowledge and consent. As to the who and why, we can only speculate until such time as more information comes to light.

MNClassical
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Re: Newly discovered Segovia concert recording

Post by MNClassical » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:32 pm

:casque: That would be a really great, big discovery to get a recording of Segovia doing the Tedesco in Japan. Let us know when it surfaces! :casque:

woodenhand
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Re: Newly discovered Segovia concert recording

Post by woodenhand » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:29 am

If any more information comes my way, I'll certainly post it here!

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