This 2-CD set produced by Deutche Grammmophon and first released in 2002 is one set of the hundreds that could have been or the dozens that actually have been made and sold successfully all over the world. The exceptional feature of this particular collection is not, of course, the performer. Quite to the contrary, the miraculous consistency of stylings and performance are amongst the most remarkable aspects of the man who was, arguably, the 20th Centry's virtuoso supreme of the classical guitar, Andres Segovia (1893-1987.) Rather, it is the collection itself - the pieces chosen to be produced on this one set - this, to steal a German word, gestalt. While his style did not remain constant throughout his long life and career, by the time he had developed his most masterful skills that included doing his own arrangements - the era represented on this particular set (1951-1960) - his playing had become completely his own - unchallenged and unmatched by even other clearly great guitarists with whom he shared this era.
There are a total of 31 pieces played on these CDs and while a playlist would be an unnecessary use of space here, a list of the composers represented is not. More than the specific pieces Segovia gives us here, the range of composers chosen by the compilers and editors - with each piece rearranged by Segovia himself, tells us a great deal about his interests, talents and musical range. These composers include:
Isaac Albeniz, Johann Sebastian Bach, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Frederic Chopin, Claude Debussy, John Dowland, Manuel de Falla, Cesar Franke, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Edvard Grieg, George Frederic Handel, Felix Mendelsohn, Frederico Moreno Torroba, Modest Mussorgsky, Nicolo Paganini, Felipe Pedrell, Manuel Ponce, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Joaquin Rodrigo, Albert Roussel, Domenico Scarlatti, Alexander Scriabin, Segovia's own composition of Estudio sin luz, Fernando Sor, Francisco Tarrega, Joaquin Turina and Heitor Villa-Lobos. A truly magnificent and broad ranging collection held together by Segovia's unique personal style, approach and sound.
Largely self-taught, Andres Segovia did things with a guitar that others only imagined. He didn't just play Bach, for example - music written for an entirely different type of instrument (keyboards.) He went a step further, and recorder Bach's keyboard lessons written for his students (the Two and Three Part Inventions) and made them sound as if they had been written for the guitar! His artistry is evident to even the casual listener and in this collection, any devote of classical guitar and/or of Segovia as an individual artist, will not be disappointed.
Perfect listening for anytime. Hypnotic and, simply, unsurpassed. A necessary addition to any serious classical guitar collection.