PeteJ wrote: ↑
Thu May 17, 2018 11:03 am
Darn it. I just don't get Segovia. Is this really a good performance? The rhythm is lost and there's no flow. Where's the elegance? Is this just me or do others struggle with Segovia's approach? It feels almost heretical to be critical but I cannot enjoy this performance.
Well the important thing is that it is an amazing historical resource to be able to see and hear this - were we able to see and hear Tarrega, Sor, Dowland ... just think! And of course there is no way of knowing how we would feel about their performances if we heard them.
This is different in the sense that its a player recording a piece well over a century after the composer's decease, so its a record of the artist's take on a particular piece, on that day in that place, for that purpose. So for instance the fact that its all over in some three 1/2 minutes, with no repeats, perhaps that is all the programme makers gave him if we were to see it in context. One would need to hear it on LP to see what he does there.
But certainly, I for one have always massively struggled to sit through a performance such as this. Of course, the command of the instrument is magisterial (OK, its not actually that hard a piece in the big scheme of things), but yes all the Segovia traits are present, the lingering, the rushing, the personalisation of the material. Aside from the technical command, an anonymous player just playing like that e.g. at a competition or masterclass would get very seriously dealt with - and rightly so. It may or may not have been musically 'right' back when this recording was made, but probably literally anyone today who works at a decent level in the profession (aside from anybody who avowedly tries to imitate Segovia's exact style, which would be an extremely minority interest) would regard those liberties as orders of magnitude too great - and I would certainly agree with them. Of course, Segovia had long ago earned the right to do what he liked with what he played - and of course that is exactly what he did.
But no, it is not heretical to say you cannot enjoy this performance, Pete. I expect some players in the wider world and perhaps some 'Campers will say they love it that way and hate it if its played according to more normal habits of musical interpretation. And we can all respect the achievements of Segovia and all he did for us, without been required, more than half a century later, to enjoy how he played a particular piece.