Legendary Guitarist Andrés Segovia Plays J.S. Bach at the Alhambra, 1976

In 1976 the great clas­si­cal gui­tarist Andés Segovia returned to Grana­da, Spain, the city of his child­hood, to per­form a few pieces on film at the 14th cen­tu­ry Moor­ish palace, the Alham­bra.

In the scene above, the 84-year-old Segovia plays a pair of gavottes from his own tran­scrip­tion of Johann Sebas­t­ian Bach’s Suite for Solo Cel­lo No. 6 in D Major, BMV 1012. A gavotte is a kind of folk dance, orig­i­nal­ly from France, that was pop­u­lar dur­ing the Baroque peri­od. Bach often incor­po­rat­ed them into his suites and par­ti­tas. In this per­for­mance, Segovia tran­si­tions from the bright and live­ly Gavotte I to the more restrained Gavotte II at the 1:54 mark.

The scene is from the doc­u­men­tary Andrés Segovia: The Song of the Gui­tar, which is avail­able on a two-film DVD, Andrés Segovia: In Por­trait. For more on Segovia, includ­ing his per­for­mance of Isaac Albéniz’s “The Leg­end of Asturias” from the same film, see our 2011 post: “Andrés Segovia, Father of Clas­si­cal Gui­tar, at the Alham­bra.”

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Art of Mak­ing a Fla­men­co Gui­tar: 299 Hours of Blood, Sweat & Tears Expe­ri­enced in 3 Min­utes

The Genius of J.S. Bach’s “Crab Canon” Visu­al­ized on a Möbius Strip

Glenn Gould Explains the Genius of Johann Sebas­t­ian Bach (1962)

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