Andrés Segovia, Father of Classical Guitar, at the Alhambra

Andrés Segovia first vis­it­ed the Alham­bra, the sto­ried 14th Cen­tu­ry Moor­ish palace in Grana­da, Spain, when he was ten years old. “It was here,” he said, “that I opened my eyes to the beau­ty of nature and art. To be here is to feel one­self to be near, very near, par­adise.”

Segovia is often called the father of clas­si­cal gui­tar. As a young boy he learned to play fla­men­co, the tra­di­tion­al music of his native Andalu­sia, but by the time he was a teenag­er he was tran­scrib­ing Bach and oth­er com­posers, adapt­ing music orig­i­nal­ly intend­ed for dif­fer­ent instru­ments. Over the course of his life­time, Segovia tran­scribed much of the clas­si­cal reper­toire, refined the stan­dard tech­nique, and estab­lished the gui­tar as a seri­ous instru­ment, bring­ing it out of the par­lors and into the con­cert halls.

In 1976, at the age of 84, Segovia returned to the Alham­bra to per­form for the doc­u­men­tary, Andrés Segovia: The Song of the Gui­tar. In the excerpt above, Segovia plays one of his favorite pieces, “The Leg­end of Asturias,” by Isaac Albéniz, who com­posed it for the piano as a pre­lude to his “Can­tos de España.” The com­plete doc­u­men­tary is avail­able on a two-film DVD, Andrés Segovia: In Por­trait.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Gui­tar Prodi­gy from Karachi

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Comments (6)
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  • Rafael says:

    I have just read that this post, right now, had “0 com­ments and 59 reac­tions”… 59 peo­ple “react­ed” to Andres Segovia but main­ly did­n’t have a word to say about it. That’s to say, peo­ple can vote, con­nect, twit, share… in this but­ton-packed web but… no thought about it. Too busy for that, I guess, when you just want to be echo of this post… all this made me won­der what kind of cul­ture have the read­ers of this blog.

  • KefAdcuh says:

    This guy was like a mes­sian­ic fig­ure to me when I was learn­ing
    to play and I was always amazed by the size of his fin­gers — they’re
    like tree trunks!

    I don’t think this is a great per­for­mance and I won­der how many mod­ern
    play­ers would ask for the idio­syn­crat­ic nois­es asso­ci­at­ed with this
    instru­ment to be edit­ed out?

  • Marilyn Kasback says:

    I would like to see some pro­files of the great female artists, Liona Boyd, and oth­ers here

  • Luis M. says:

    Andŕes Segovia and Alham­bra, two sides of art!

  • John De Berardinis says:

    What­ev­er peo­ple may say about Andres Segovia, he was the mas­ter of the clas­si­cal gui­tar, there will nev­er be anoth­er like him!

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