Andrés Segovia has an immovable standing as the daddy of recent classical guitar, he put the foundations for all that got here later. With out him this modest instrument at the moment could be relegated solely to in style and people music.

That stated, there’s additionally many individuals who criticize his attitudes and even his taking part in method, he’s no extra untouchable for the brand new era of guitarists.

One factor that many individuals contemplate notable about Segovia is his relationship with guitar composer Agustin Barrios Mangore, whose identify at the moment is current virtually at all times within the repertoire of classical guitarists and is usually thought-about one of many most interesting composers for the instrument (as a Chopin of the guitar, quoting John Williams).

Regardless of the popularity Barrios receives at the moment, he was comparatively unknown on the planet of classical guitar throughout his lifetime. He did not tour Europe or america, he performed live shows in Latin America, with success, however the small market did not allow him make an excellent sum of money. He did not grow to be a world determine, not like his counterpart Segovia, who stuffed prestigious theaters in an important cities on the planet.

Though Barrios got here from a rustic comparatively remoted from the musical world, we will not say that he did not have the possibility to burst his profession. He spent a great deal of time in one in every of world’s cultural facilities of the time: Buenos Aires. He did not benefit from this favorable setting, he devoted to play live shows and make information constant of largely in style tunes, and stayed away from the rising classical guitar group in Buenos Aires. Llobet, Segovia and different notable guitarists frequently traveled to play live shows on this metropolis with an excellent and welcoming public.

Barrios directed himself extra in direction of the favored music public, this was resulting from a number of causes mentioned elsewhere. Later, he had one other large alternative to additional his profession, when assembly Gino Marinuzzi, the world well-known conductor of La Scala Opera of Milan in Rio de Janeiro. He performed a personal live performance for the notable musician and a few of his mates and have been warmly congratulated. If he had maintained contact with Marinuzzi, he may have made some contacts with impresarios in Europe and prepare some live shows.

Different, and doubtless the most effective alternative he had (though this time it did not rely a lot of him) was when assembly Andres Segovia. The Maestro Segovia, on the time they met, nonetheless wasn’t the world authority of guitar that he would grow to be in later years, however was however in a significantly better place than Barrios, he was taking part in live shows in South America and Europe.

Segovia had heard about Barrios earlier than they met in 1921. Miguel Herrera Klinger (an Uruguayan biographer) declared that in sure event he overheard a dialog in a guitar retailer in Buenos Aires between Andrés Segovia, Regino Sáinz de la Maza and Domingo Prat relating to Barrios. They have been discussing concerning the steel strings the Paraguayan used. Sáinz de la Maza was the one one who didn’t reject metal strings, so long as it was Barrios who performed on them. To what Segovia stated: “Nicely, so far as I am involved, I would not know what to do with that wire fence”. This occurred round 1912, when Barrios nonetheless wasn’t a mature guitarist and Segovia was simply beginning his profession.

They met lastly in 1921, in Buenos Aires. Segovia was gaining increasingly recognition at the moment, he was in a significantly better place that Barrios, that decided the best way that the encounter occurred: Barrios attending a live performance by Segovia. After the live performance they the place launched by a buddy of each. They talked politely and Barrios promised to go to him.

This go to occurred a while later in Segovia’s residence (Barrios was the one who needed to go after Segovia). Klinger declared about this encounter: “Barrios performed a cascade of musical gems for the good Segovia who was shocked…higher but: he was floored. Practically 2 hours later he was congratulated by the Maestro. One explicit work he appreciated very a lot and indicated he would play in his live shows. Barrios gave him an unique copy with a dedication. The work that Segovia stated he wish to program in his live shows he by no means performed. And logically so: if he had performed it, with the extraordinary skills he possessed he would have elevated Barrios to inaccessible heights, thus detracting from his personal creative status.”

The work that Klinger is speaking about right here is La Catedral, one in every of Barrios masterpieces. There may be the likelihood that Barrios by no means received to present a replica to Segovia, as he hadn’t any with him, he needed to ask a buddy to ship it from Uruguay. We do not know for positive if the copy arrived at time, earlier than Segovia left Buenos Aires. But when Segovia had been honest he would have helped Barrios to rearrange live shows in Europe and america. A few years later, Barrios would understand that Segovia wasn’t his buddy and say about him that he was “deaf within the coronary heart”. Barrios acknowledged that Segovia was an excellent technician however he did not see himself as being in any approach “much less of a technician”. Barrios was happy with his identification as a composer, which concerned expertise and abilities fairly past the “mere” acquirement of bodily virtuosity.

That is the generally accepted model, that Segovia had some envy and concern of being changed by Barrios as a guitar authority, and due to that he ignored him. There have been additionally different causes for that rejections that weren’t associated to competitors. These are technical and musical causes.

Segovia was well-known as a harsh critic, he by no means doubted of criticizing necessary musical figures like Narciso Yepes and his 10-string guitar, Paco de Lucía and Abel Carlevaro. He had a transparent imaginative and prescient of what classical guitar must be and did not settle for anybody who was heading in one other course. Barrios was one in every of them. Barrios performed utilizing steel strings, a very good motive for Segovia to reject him. Additionally it might be that he did not just like the music of Barrios, because it had typically a Latin American folklore character. He despised something that associated the guitar to people music.

It’s well-known the citation of Segovia saying that Barrios “is not a superb composer for the guitar”. David Norton, the coed that requested Segovia about Barrios in a masterclass made the next put up within the on-line discussion board at

Everybody right here is aware of the quote: “In public, I heard Segovia say that ‘Barrios was not a superb composer for the guitar.'” Richard Stover has repeated this assertion for years, as a mantra of types.

However that is not the entire story. This put up is. You see, as destiny would have it, I used to be the coed who requested Segovia about Barrios that afternoon, and this excerpted quote is his response to me.

The context is that this. Segovia had accomplished a masterclass at California State College – Northridge (CSUN). I am considering this was April 1981 or 1982. Not necessary. The category was concluded and I, together with 20 or 30 others, was up in entrance hovering. Circumstances have been such that Segovia was answering just a few questions from the scholars. I discovered myself not 4 toes from him, with Stover (my instructor on the time) proper subsequent to me.

I requested, “Maestro, what’s your opinion of the music of Barrios which has grow to be so in style not too long ago?” His spouse requested me to repeat it, as a result of naturally they have been not likely listening. I did, she translated.

Segovia paused, and it was clear that he was struggling for the proper phrases. “Barrios …. he was not …. he didn’t write …. all small items (he gestured together with his arms, thumb and forefinger indicating smallness) …. not like Ponce, who wrote giant. No, compared to Ponce or Castelnuovo, Barrios shouldn’t be good composer for la guitarra.”

Stover solely actually heard the final bit. He was a number of shades past livid with me for asking: “You HAD to ask HIM, in entrance of God and everybody!! And he simply dismissed my complete life’s work. Thanks very a lot!!.” And he stomped off. Every week later, he apologized for over-reacting, and stated “So what? He is an outdated man, who cares what he thinks? Individuals with any brains know higher about Barrios.”

And nobody who wasn’t there that afternoon would ever have recognized of this dialog, if Stover himself hadn’t spent the next years restating it again and again, after which attacking it.

So there you may have it, at the very least in addition to I recall the incident from 23-24 years in the past. In context, a 90-year-old man, who was clearly very fatigued from 3 hours of instructing, talking in English (which was by no means his robust level), and his precise assertion shouldn’t be almost as damning because the sound-bite Stover has printed through the years.

Make of it as you’ll.

There was one other encounter between the 2 masters, a few years later, on the finish of Barrios’ life. In March of 1944 Segovia visited San Salvador to play a live performance. The 2 masters met and spent a number of hours chatting in Segovia’s resort room. Not even a word was performed, as Barrios was in unhealthy bodily form and Segovia felt a specific amount of pity for his “foe”, as he was forgotten and poor in a comparatively remoted nation and Segovia knew the celebrity and recognition that his expertise merited.

They’d a well mannered and cordial assembly, the place Segovia left Barrios a set of intestine strings as a present.

This story sheds mild to his opinion relating to Barrios’ music. Segovia admired Barrios as a musicianship however did not wish to popularize his music with a people character, his objective was to indicate to the world that the guitar might be thought-about an instrument of artwork music. This may be combined, however I doubt it, with jealously.

We will blame Segovia for not displaying Barrios to the world, however Barrios by no means did a lot to grow to be what he ought to. He wasn’t curious about it. His music was for the folks he knew. This may be understood in his biography under.

We won’t know for positive the explanations for Segovia rejecting Barrios, we are able to solely speculate. What we all know is {that a} large alternative was wasted each by Barrios and Segovia to make classical guitar even higher.


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