Album Title: The Andrés Segovia Album – Original Compositions
Performer: Agustin Maruri, guitar
Label: EMEC E-070
Running time: 44’31
Recorded: September 2006

To any classical guitar music lover, this album is definitely not to be missed. For unknown reasons, there aren’t too many recordings of the original compositions by Segovia (1893-1987). What is known is that Segovia being a modest man never took any interest in promoting his own works. Nevertheless, a few compositions performed by the maestro himself could be found in compilations like Andrés Segovia: The Complete 1949 London Recordings released by Testament. Other than that, not even the many Segovia recordings on the EMI catalog include any of his own works apart from a few transcriptions.

Whether or not Segovia the composer measured up to Segovia the guitarist no longer concerns us. We’re just curious to listen. Maruri not only satisfies our curiosity, he also used Segovia’s own instrument to perform, one of the maestro’s favorite, the 1962 Hermann Hauser II. Included in this album are 32 tracks which only take up 44 minutes of playing time. The shortest work is 30 seconds and the longest under 3 minutes. Most of the works are studies under the titles of Preludios, Estudios and Leccion.

Other salon style encores include Cinco Anecdotas, Macarena, Neblina, Impromptu and Tonadilla. Segovia was the icon for the classical guitarist, period. His musical aesthetics and personality were affectionately revered. His expressive and insightful reading flowed with the natural pulse of the music, casually masking thorny technicalities. In a way, Maruri’s playing is along the same vein. Intense, electrifying or explosive are adjectives one would rarely associated with his playing. For instance, I’ve heard many intensely passionate interpretations of Recuerdos de la Alhambra  but rarely one that matches Maruri’s unhurried lyricism [EMEC E-074] - except Segovia’s. But Maruri is not laid back. His tone painting is vividly evident in Macarena where he portraits a Sevillana dancer’s intricate steps and fast changing forms.

The mysterious aura in Neblina (Spanish for fog) is magical. The fast fingerings in Impromptu and Tres Preludios No.1 are executed with fluidity. Segovia’s creative juice is most luscious in the Cinco Anecdotas, which he jestingly called My Youthful Sins in contrary to Rossini’s Péchés de Vieillesse. The shortest anecdote of the five, “Molto tranquillo”, happens to be the most intriguing. Maruri’s casual yet expressive execution is so Segovia. The Liner notes are exceptionally interesting, featuring rare historical photographs, manuscripts and true anecdotes about Segovia the guitarist and composer. I particularly enjoyed the part when Segovia’s pianist wife Paquita Madriguera prompted him to pay more attention to harmony and composition. Oh yes, and Segovia’s signature that looks like a guitar! The recording won the Trujamán Recording Award in the 2007 International Guitar Festival, Valancia. And now, our Blue Moon Award.