Andres Segovia - Segovia at Los Olivos Documentary



Today's post is about the most famous of all classical guitarists - Andres Segovia. I've been watching a few videos that are floating around on YouTube and despite his popularity and influence on almost all classical guitarists I discovered that I hadn't seen his documentary 'Segovia at Los Olivos'.

Segovia at Los Olivos [VHS]
By Andres Segovia

If you have a spare 50 minutes or so I strongly suggest that you sit yourself down and take the time to watch it. For a start you get to see the absolutely massive house that Segovia commissioned for himself and his wife to live in and you get to see a somewhat forlorn donkey meandering through an olive grove oh and you get to see & hear Segovia jamming a few tunes in the comfort of his own pad - that in itself is pretty awesome. For those of you that still have VHS players you can purchase a tape here instead of watching it on YouTube:

Watching this video triggered my memory of an Andres Segovia cassette tape that I would listen to many years ago.

The tape is long since gone but the memory of the extraordinary sound and musicianship lingers on. I do remember that the tape had the infamous Johann Sebastian Bach 'Chaconne in D-minor' on it. At that time I couldn't really appreciate the sheer domination of technique, memory, endurance, and musicality that anyone would need to possess to play this piece. 

The Outspoken One

I must admit to moving away from listening to Andres Segovia recordings after hearing John Williams express his opinions about Segovia's domineering personality many years ago in his documentary 'The Seville Concert'. Segovia's masterclasses also seemed to show an intolerance of alternative interpretations of his transcriptions. I remember him mercilessly chastising a wonderful guitarist for playing one of his transcriptions of Bach's Fugue in E minor for using his own fingerings rather than Segovia's.

However, I find that I have put this to the side and returned to just kicking back and listening to some of the most beautiful classical guitar music that you're ever likely to hear. Los Olivos seems to show a different side to the larger-than-life legend.

Watching him petting a dog, enjoying a cup of tea with his wife, and telling his story of how his relationship with the famous Ramirez guitar makers began was awesome. Amazingly it was Segovia's first summer in 35 years that he spent at home just chillaxing rather than being out on the world stage in some far away exotic land mesmerising people with his personality and his playing.

Anyway that's all from me today. Time to start on the Chaconne... after a cup of tea! Now it's time for you to go and check it out but before you do I should mention that the opening piece is 'La maya de Goya' and I'll have a tutorial and classical guitar tabs and classical guitar sheet music available on the website very soon!