Barrios Vs Segovia – Pals, Foes, Or Just Unique?

Barrios Vs Segovia – Pals, Foes, Or Just Unique?

Andrés Segovia has an immovable position as the father of modern classical guitar, he place the foundations for all that came later on. With out him this modest instrument currently would be relegated only to well-liked and folks new music.

That mentioned, there is also several folks who criticize his attitudes and even his actively playing strategy, he is no much more untouchable for the new generation of guitarists.

One detail that a lot of folks take into consideration noteworthy about Segovia is his romantic relationship with guitar composer Agustin Barrios Mangore, whose name today is current just about often in the repertoire of classical guitarists and is normally deemed a person of the very best composers for the instrument (as a Chopin of the guitar, quoting John Williams).

Regardless of the recognition Barrios receives nowadays, he was relatively unfamiliar in the globe of classical guitar in the course of his life span. He failed to tour Europe or the United States, he played concerts in Latin America, with achievements, but the small market place didn’t allow him make a great amount of revenue. He didn’t become a planet determine, unlike his counterpart Segovia, who loaded prestigious theaters in the most vital towns in the earth.

Whilst Barrios came from a country fairly isolated from the musical environment, we won’t be able to say that he didn’t have the opportunity to burst his vocation. He put in a excellent offer of time in a single of world’s cultural centers of the time: Buenos Aires. He did not get gain of this favorable atmosphere, he focused to perform concerts and make documents regular of generally popular tunes, and stayed away from the increasing classical guitar local community in Buenos Aires. Llobet, Segovia and other notable guitarists frequently traveled to participate in concert events in this town with a terrific and welcoming community.

Barrios directed himself far more toward the well-known new music community, this was because of to various explanations talked over in other places. Afterwards, he experienced one more big prospect to further more his vocation, when conference Gino Marinuzzi, the world well-known conductor of La Scala Opera of Milan in Rio de Janeiro. He played a private live performance for the notable musician and some of his buddies and were warmly congratulated. If he experienced preserved contact with Marinuzzi, he could have created some contacts with impresarios in Europe and arrange some concert events.

Other, and most likely the best prospect he had (although this time it failed to count a lot of him) was when conference Andres Segovia. The Maestro Segovia, at the time they satisfied, however wasn’t the globe authority of guitar that he would grow to be in later on several years, but was nonetheless in a a great deal superior place than Barrios, he was participating in live shows in South America and Europe.

Segovia had read about Barrios prior to they fulfilled in 1921. Miguel Herrera Klinger (an Uruguayan biographer) declared that in particular event he overheard a conversation in a guitar retail store in Buenos Aires concerning Andrés Segovia, Regino Sáinz de la Maza and Domingo Prat pertaining to Barrios. They were discussing about the steel strings the Paraguayan used. Sáinz de la Maza was the only just one who did not reject steel strings, as lengthy as it was Barrios who performed on them. To what Segovia explained: “Perfectly, as far as I am concerned, I wouldn’t know what to do with that wire fence”. This happened close to 1912, when Barrios still was not a mature guitarist and Segovia was just setting up his profession.

They satisfied last but not least in 1921, in Buenos Aires. Segovia was getting much more and much more recognition at this time, he was in a significantly much better placement that Barrios, that established the way that the come across took place: Barrios attending a concert by Segovia. Right after the live performance they wherever released by a friend of both equally. They talked politely and Barrios promised to check out him.

This visit happened some time later on in Segovia’s property (Barrios was the 1 who experienced to go soon after Segovia). Klinger declared about this come across: “Barrios performed a cascade of musical gems for the great Segovia who was stunned…superior nevertheless: he was floored. Nearly 2 several hours later on he was congratulated by the Maestro. Just one individual operate he favored pretty a lot and indicated he would enjoy in his concert events. Barrios gave him an primary duplicate with a devotion. The get the job done that Segovia said he would like to application in his live shows he hardly ever performed. And logically so: if he had performed it, with the amazing skills he possessed he would have elevated Barrios to inaccessible heights, so detracting from his personal artistic prestige.”

The operate that Klinger is chatting about here is La Catedral, a single of Barrios masterpieces. There is the likelihood that Barrios under no circumstances got to give a copy to Segovia, as he hadn’t any with him, he had to question a pal to send out it from Uruguay. We do not know for confident if the duplicate arrived at time, just before Segovia remaining Buenos Aires. But if Segovia had been honest he would have aided Barrios to arrange concert events in Europe and the United States. Lots of a long time later on, Barrios would notice that Segovia wasn’t his close friend and say about him that he was “deaf in the coronary heart”. Barrios acknowledged that Segovia was an remarkable technician but he failed to see himself as currently being in any way “a lot less of a technician”. Barrios was proud of his identification as a composer, which involved capabilities and talents very further than the “mere” acquirement of physical virtuosity.

This is the commonly recognized edition, that Segovia had some envy and dread of becoming replaced by Barrios as a guitar authority, and since of that he dismissed him. There have been also other reasons for that rejections that weren’t associated to competition. These are complex and musical explanations.

Segovia was renowned as a severe critic, he in no way doubted of criticizing significant musical figures like Narciso Yepes and his 10-string guitar, Paco de Lucía and Abel Carlevaro. He had a very clear vision of what classical guitar ought to be and didn’t accept anybody who was heading in yet another course. Barrios was a person of them. Barrios performed making use of metal strings, a genuinely great motive for Segovia to reject him. Also it could be that he failed to like the music of Barrios, as it had often a Latin American folklore character. He despised anything at all that associated the guitar to people music.

It is well known the quotation of Segovia indicating that Barrios “isn’t a great composer for the guitar”. David Norton, the university student that requested Segovia about Barrios in a masterclass manufactured the adhering to article in the on the web forum at

Everyone in this article is aware of the estimate: “In general public, I read Segovia say that ‘Barrios was not a fantastic composer for the guitar.'” Richard Stover has recurring this assertion for several years, as a mantra of sorts.

But which is not the entire tale. This publish is. You see, as destiny would have it, I was the college student who questioned Segovia about Barrios that afternoon, and this excerpted quote is his response to me.

The context is this. Segovia experienced done a masterclass at California Condition College – Northridge (CSUN). I’m contemplating this was April 1981 or 1982. Not important. The course was concluded and I, alongside with 20 or 30 other folks, was up in front hovering. Situation had been these types of that Segovia was answering a couple of queries from the college students. I located myself not 4 ft from him, with Stover (my trainer at the time) correct following to me.

I questioned, “Maestro, what is your viewpoint of the songs of Barrios which has develop into so common a short while ago?” His spouse requested me to repeat it, because the natural way they were being not genuinely listening. I did, she translated.

Segovia paused, and it was distinct that he was struggling for the ideal words. “Barrios …. he was not …. he did not generate …. all tiny pieces (he gestured with his hands, thumb and forefinger indicating smallness) …. not like Ponce, who wrote big. No, in comparison to Ponce or Castelnuovo, Barrios is not excellent composer for la guitarra.”

Stover only truly heard the previous bit. He was numerous shades over and above furious with me for asking: “You Had to ask HIM, in entrance of God and everybody!! And he just dismissed my complete life’s function. Thank you very a great deal!!.” And he stomped off. A 7 days later on, he apologized for about-reacting, and explained “So what? He’s an outdated gentleman, who cares what he thinks? Men and women with any brains know far better about Barrios.”

And no one particular who wasn’t there that afternoon would at any time have regarded of this conversation, if Stover himself hadn’t spent the next decades restating it more than and about, and then attacking it.

So there you have it, at the very least as very well as I remember the incident from 23-24 decades back. In context, a 90-year-previous male, who was certainly pretty fatigued from 3 hrs of teaching, talking in English (which was under no circumstances his strong place), and his true statement is not just about as damning as the sound-bite Stover has printed about the a long time.

Make of it as you will.

There was yet another come across between the two masters, a lot of a long time afterwards, at the close of Barrios’ existence. In March of 1944 Segovia frequented San Salvador to play a concert. The two masters fulfilled and put in various hours chatting in Segovia’s resort room. Not even a take note was played, as Barrios was in lousy bodily shape and Segovia felt a sure sum of pity for his “foe”, as he was forgotten and very poor in a reasonably isolated place and Segovia knew the fame and recognition that his expertise merited.

They had a well mannered and cordial assembly, wherever Segovia still left Barrios a established of gut strings as a gift.

This story sheds light to his opinion about Barrios’ music. Segovia admired Barrios as a musicianship but failed to want to popularize his audio with a folks character, his objective was to clearly show to the planet that the guitar could be viewed as an instrument of art music. This could also be blended, but I question it, with jealously.

We can blame Segovia for not demonstrating Barrios to the world, but Barrios never ever did substantially to come to be what he ought to. He wasn’t fascinated in it. His songs was for the folks he knew. This can be comprehended in his biography under.

We cannot know for certain the motives for Segovia rejecting Barrios, we can only speculate. What we know is that a significant option was squandered the two by Barrios and Segovia to make classical guitar even better.