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Robinson Plays

Robinson Plays

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Robinson Plays

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Stephen Robinson Plays

Federico Moreno-Torroba / Alexandre Tansman / Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco / Manuel Ponce

  • Castillos de España
  • Federico Moreno-Torroba
  • 1 - Turegano (Seranilla) [2:38]
  • 2 - Torija (Elegia) [2:45]
  • 3 - Manzanares del Real (A la Moça Fermosa) [1:06]
  • 4 - Sigüenza [1:34]
  • 5 - Olite [3:43]
  • Cavatina
  • Alexandre Tansman
  • 6 - Preludio [2:49]
  • 7 - Sarabande [3:15]
  • 8 - Scherzino [2:29]
  • 9 - Barcarole [3:05]
  • 10 - Danza Pomposa [2:25]
  • Sonata Omaggio a Boccherini
  • Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
  • 11 - Allegro con spirito [3:56]
  • 12 - Andantino, quasi canzone [5:01]
  • 13 - Tempo di Minuetto [3:26]
  • 14 - Vivo ed energico [3:50]
  • Sonata III
  • Manuel Ponce
  • 15 - Allegro Moderato [6:41]
  • 16 - Chanson [3:02]
  • 17 - Allegro non troppo [5:01]
  • Complete Program: [56:02]

A proper title for this recording might well be “Le Tombeau de Segovia” – or perhaps more aptly, “Ommagio a Segovia.” It is no exaggeration to say that most of the major works for classical guitar published within the 20th century are inscribed to Andrés Segovia. That this should be so is only aspect of the celebrated artist, which would make him unique. Segovia’s influence has been so pervasive as to create a sizable repertoire that never would have come into being without him. The works presented here by his pupil, Stephen Robinson, are among those dedicated to Segovia by his own contemporaries, each of the composers born within a few years of the other and little more than a decade away from the great master. In most cases, composers who wrote for Segovia were responding to his request for music for the instrument.

This was less true, however, of Federico Moreno-Torroba (1891-1982), who was the first non-guitarist composer to volunteer to write for Segovia. The melodies and rhythms of Torroba’s music exude the spirit of his Zarazuelas - - the Spanish Music Theatre form for which he is famous. The music Robinson plays here reflects little of the impressionism that the programmatic titles suggest, those having been chosen by Torroba from the castles he had himself visited. What is apparent is the distinctly Spanish nature of this music, and the clear sense of the indigenous quality of the instrument by the composer. Placing as he does the movements of the suite in usual contrast to each other accentuates all the more the suggestion of dance. This has been a structural feature of such suites since their inception during the Renaissance.

Although Torroba has given both titles and sub-titles to the fifteen movements of Castillos de España (Castles of Spain), these five movements could just as appropriately read: Minuet / Pavanne Gigue / Sicilienne / Gavotte / Torroba chooses to call them: Turegano (Serranilla) / Torija (Elegia) / Manzanares del Real (A la Moca Fermosa).

Segovia’s friend and confidante of many years, Alexandre Tansman, is a peripatetic figure on the international musical scene. A native of Poland, Tansman is known not only as a composer, but also as a pianist and writer; his books include an early biography of Stravinsky.

Tansman (1897-1987) composed many works for Segovia, his Cavatina Suite among his later compositions for guitar. While Cavatina seems a peculiar title for a dance suite (Cavatina denotes “song”), it is an appropriate characterization of the style heard here. This five-movement work is typical of much of the music Segovia inspired. It exploits the melodic aspects of the instrument, without any loss of the chordal colors for which it is best known. Tansman has not neglected that favorite texture of many, however, evoking in the Scherzino the rapid tremolo of the flamenco. The final movement of the Tansman suite (Danza Pomposa) is appended, bearing a copyright date that is a decade later than that of the other four.

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