Andrés Segovia (1893–1987) was more than just an unparalleled virtuoso player; he also commissioned or introduced so many gems that have remained cornerstones of the classical guitar repertoire. The Spanish master is much less-known as a composer himself, though he appears to have written around 60 pieces, seemingly for his own amusement or dedicated to friends, most of them quite short.
This album, by Los Angeles Guitar Quartet co-founder Scott Tennant (who participated in master classes with the maestro at USC in 1981 and 1986), presents 36 of Segovia’s works, including seven of his brief but surprisingly satisfying Preludios (four are under a minute, the longest is 1:30), four of his charming Easy Lessons, ten of his 23 Canciones Populares de Destinos Piases (concise miniatures that wonderfully evoke folk music themes of France, Ireland, Poland, Serbia, his native Catalonia, and more), and the real (literal) “find” of the album—the premiere recording of a “lost” piece, likely written in the 1940s, called Fandango de la Madrugada. At five-and-a-half minutes, it is by far the most ambitious work in the collection—brimming with rich Spanish flavors, perhaps a bit more flamenco in character than we usually associate with Segovia, but also with some lovely lyrical passages.
Tennant recorded the album using a wonderfully warm-sounding 1969 Ramirez guitar (made by luthier Antonio Martinez) that Segovia played often from 1969 and 1980, and his playing brilliantly captures the Iberian spirit of Segovia’s musings.
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2019 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.