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The Guitar and Myself - by Andres Segovia

This autobiographical sketch which I am undertaking, limited by time and space, cannot be a river of sweeping and continuous current. Rather, it must be more like a chain of small lakes reflecting the past episodes of a life. I ask the reader’s indulgence for the frequent and sudden changes of personalities, subjects and scenes. In spite of the rambling character of this narrative, two figures will travel through it constantly: the guitar and myself...

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Some remarks of Angelo Gilardino

The eminent Spanish (Catalan) composer Jaime (Jaume in Catalan language)
Pahissa (1880-1969) was likely the first Spanish musician (non guitarist) to
write a piece for Andrés Segovia. In 1919, he composed "Canco en el mar" (A
Song On The Sea), dedicated to the guitarist, when this had yet to achieve
his fame. Written optionally for piano, the piece has never been mentioned
by Segovia, in spite of the very respectful words he dedicated in his
autobiography to Pahissa. It has just been published in the series "The
Andrés Segovia Archive".

On 1938, one year after leaving Spain as an exiled artist, Pahissa wrote in
Buenos Aires a delightful set of guitar pieces entitled "Tres temas de
recuerdos" (Three Themes of Recollection), again for Segovia, but he never
delivered them to the maestro. It was Pahissa's widow, ten years after the
death of the composer, who sent them to Segovia with a touching letter, on
1979. Too late for having the great guitarist to absorb such a demanding

The manuscripts (there are two, both in fair copies, and needing for a
strong editorial approach) have been found in the Segovia archive at
Linares, not by myself, but by one of my cooperators, the young Italian
guitarist Luigi Attademo, one month ago. They were - so as to say - out of
place: Segovia did not store them with his manuscript music, but among the
pages of a publication, where nobody had been lead to search manuscripts.
Another first rank Spanish composer - so far not related to the guitar - has
been added to the list of those authors who, in the first half of the 20th
century, gave their powerful contribution to the repertoire of the
instrument. Which seems really an endless mine...

The distinguished composer from Colombia, Guillermo Uribe Holguin,
(1880-1971) one of the founders of the national musical life in his country,
had written a Suite in three movements for Andrés Segovia on 1946.

It was in the Segovia museum, it has been found one month ago by the Italian
guitarist Luigi Attademo - a close cooperator of mine in the recovery of the
hidden Segovia's repertoire - and it will be published in "The Andrés
Segovia Archive" as soon as possible.

The scholar of Colombian music, who wrote also the catalogue of Uribe
Holguin works, Dr. Ellie Anne Duque, will write the introductory essay.

As usual, the publication will offer a text edited by the team
Gilardino-Biscaldi and the facsimile reproduction of the original

A remarkable piece indeed, and a powerful addition the the Latin-American
guitar repertoire, outside the folkish music.


When going back to Spain, and settling in Madrid, Segovia was
finally able to get back from the person who had watched his papers during
his absence, his books and his music. Well, simply and brutally said:
Segovia never had time to look at those music papers again, and he did not
know exactly what he had and what he had missed. It was easier for him -
when somebody asked him about a paper of those years - to tell that "they
had been missed in the Civil War", because after all and in a way, it was
not untrue.  A common friend (who perhaps reads this message) told me
recently that, on the occasion of his last visit to Segovia's studio in
Madrid, the maestro - with indicating a dusty pile of papers, told him: "Who
knows what there is in that mine! Somebody will take care of them one day,
you may rest assured".


MAY 13 2004

Three years ago during these days (May 9th, 2001) I announced in this NG as
well as in other sources of informations about the classical guitar that I
had been allowed to open the sealed cases containing the music manuscripts
of maestro Andrés Segovia. On that occasion, I took on myself the
responsibility of the publication of all the works written for him by
distinguished composers - mainly works which had been left unpublished and
which Segovia had not performed. At the distance of three years, I think I
can remark the fact that I have filled my duties: the new series "The Andrés
Segovia Archive" - which has been completed - has made available during
these time 25 books with pieces whose relevance in the history of the guitar
and within the frame of its repertoire go beyond any discussion. Here the
list of the published works:

Vicente Arregui

Piezas liricas

Lennox Berkeley

Quatre Pièces pour la guitare

Pierre de Breville


Gaspar Cassadó

Works for Guitar

Henri Collet


Ettore Desderi

Sonata in mi

Pierre-Octave Ferroud


Aloÿs Fornerod

Prélude op. 13

Vito Frazzi

Due pezzi

Hans Haug

Works for guitar

Raoul Laparra


Henri Martelli

Quatre Pièces

Federico Mompou

Canción y Danza

Suite Compostelana

Federico Moreno-Torroba


Jaume Pahissa

Canço en el mar

Tres temas de recuerdos

Raymond Petit


Fernande Peyrot

Thème et Variations

Ida Presti


Pedro Sanjuan

Una leyenda

Padre José Antonio de San Sebastián (Donostia)


Cyril Scott


Alexandre Tansman

Posthumous Works for Guitar

Guillermo Uribe Holguin

Pequeña Suite

To these 25 books, at the end of the program of publication, I have added
one, with a piece written for Segovia, but not during the years of his
glory. Here, with the permission of the publisher, I reproduce the foreword
introducing the 26th book of the series. Given or taken two or three
possible - but not certain - additions to the series, I have finished my
work with the Segovia heritage. My shoulders are now lighter and my mind
free. I thank God, destiny, life, maestro Segovia and his heirs doña Emilia
and dr. Carlos Andrés  for having choosen my person for such a tremendous
task: I have worked as never in my life, and in my life I always worked very

Angelo Gilardino


A note from the composer

The collection The Andrés Segovia Archive was created with the aim of making
available to all readers the works written for Andrés Segovia during his
glorious life and career that were unpublished during his life and whose
manuscripts were found (by myself) among the papers of the maestro in the
Segovia Museum at Linares. Through the courtesy of their owner, Mrs. Emilia
Segovia de Salobreña, and through the legal arrangements with the heirs of
the composers concerned, a significant number of important works for guitar
have been rescued from silence and added to the guitar repertoire of the
20th century - mainly the first half of the century.

Although I was neither a student nor a follower of Andrés Segovia during his
life, the task and responsibility of supervising the publication of this
wealth of music fell to me as one of the duties connected with my
appointment (in 1997) as the Artistic Director of the Andrés Segovia
Foundation (which is the Museum created at Linares by the Segovia family and
by the Spanish authorities to commemorate the great artist). I accepted this
responsibility fully aware of how difficult it might be to fulfil, with
respect both to Segovia's memory and to the expectations of all those who
were passionate about or interested in his artistic heritage.

During my years in this post I have worked hard to perform my duties both as
an artistic director of the Foundation and as the general editor of the
works published in The Andrés Segovia Archive. These duties called on my
skills and background as a composer only in connection with the editorial
work of publishing the newly found works. As a composer in my own right, I
have only once composed a piece related directly to the activities of the
Foundation, when, following a suggestion by the Segovia estate, I wrote a
piece for string orchestra as part of the ceremonies for the return of the
maestro's mortal remains to Linares, in June 2002. For that event I did not
feel I could write a piece of my own to celebrate Segovia's memory, because
my respect for his art encompassed an awareness of how distant I was as a
composer from his beautiful world. Thus, I created a suite for string
orchestra (Retrato de Andrés Segovia) by orchestrating four pieces for solo
guitar which had been composed for him by authors whom he loved (Manuel
Ponce, Hans Haug, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco).

It was on the occasion of the premiere of the Retrato at Linares that I was
asked by a friend, the distinguished Italian guitarist Frédéric Zigante, to
write a solo guitar piece as a memorial to Andrés Segovia. He told me he
believed I could do it, and I was somewhat surprised because I did not
believe I could at all. But in the following months, during the summer of
2002, whilst teaching in my Summer School at Muzzano (a beautiful village in
Northern Italy, close to the Alps), I thought of the affection Segovia had
shown for the composers of my country, from Girolamo Frescobaldi, Domenico
Scarlatti and Luigi Boccherini to Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and I thought
that I could attempt to become one of them, by composing a piece as my part
in a dialogue with Segovia, in the musical language which he liked. The fact
that such a dialogue could no longer take place in this world was not to me
an obstacle: telling something to somebody sub specie aeternitatis instead
of talking in the real world is far from being alien to my way of being,
especially if this "something" is told in music.

When Segovia was in this world, I did not seek his friendship - though our
mutual respect was complete and sincere. I did not ask him for his
assistance in the form of testimonials about my skills as a musician (which,
such as they are, are revealed by my own works), or scholarships to enable
me to attend his courses (which I never attended), or recommendations to
influential music organizers (whose attentions were never among my aims).
This is why I take the liberty of offering to Segovia a musical homage: I
was and I am free of obligations to him; and this is why I maintain also
that a piece written for Segovia after his death is not out of place in a
series which hosts the works written for him when he was alive, young and
powerful. It is an offering whose reward I will receive in the only terms I
appreciate: and for describing them, I have no words.

Angelo Gilardino

Vercelli, October 2003.


Your question has caught me unprepared. There were 12 cases to open, so it
is easy to conclude that my selection was a very strict one. But consider:
1) Segovia did not separate manuscripts from printed music - so his archive
was a jam of the most commonly available publications (which he used to buy
as a common customer and were only in a minor part sent to him
complimentarily), of less known publications, of photocopies (yes, though
sent to him by composers: some of them used to send him not one, but two,
three, four copies, and a piece is represented by 12 photocopies), and of
manuscripts. 2) Discriminating as he was in picking up his repertoire and
programs, as a librarian he had no basket, and he guarded everything,
absolutely everything, even the most amateurish piece dedicated to him by an
unknown guitarist-composer. I asked his wife Doña Emilia about a composer
who is largely represented in the archive with a bunch of works, and she
told me of the horror Segovia felt when approached by that man, who used to
give him a new piece each time he had a chance to attend a concert of the
maestro: even so, all his dreadful works are there. 3) A lot of manuscripts
of pieces which are published and known are there, just to give thoughts to
a reader who compares the printed versions with the original ones. So, I
would say that I have sorted out of that pool a glass of water. But I am
sure that nothing deserving care and diffusion has been uncarefully left
buried. I did not trust myself to have been able to explore all the
documents, so I proposed an ex-student of mine, a very good guitarist and a
cultivated musician, dr. Luigi Attademo, to furtherly examine all the
material independently from me. He did. At this point, to guess that a
significan piece can be there in the shadow is impossible. The works whose
existence we know of, but which haven't been found, are lost once forever:
Medtner, Joaquin Nin, Allende (surely), Kodaly (perhaps), the 6th Villa
Lobos Prelude (if it ever existed), etc., I feel hopeless about rescuing


Segovia wrote a partial autobiography (published in English by MacMillan)and several autobiographic articles, published by Guitar Review. In the Segovia Museum at Linares there are many letters written to him by different senders and copies of letters he wrote to various recipients.


By clicking on these ads you support this website. (We do not endorse these offerings).

Music Downloads: iTunes, etc.
Contact Email: (info {at} rezamusic {dot} com)

This banner is purely a private undertaking of this site's owner meant only to share the above two sites and is not sponsored by Eisai, Arena, or any other entities.