Thursday, January 4, 2024

Etudes for Guitar by Turibio Santos on LP

In 2023 I got serious about collecting vinyl; so far I've managed to acquire about twenty Villa-Lobos LPs, mainly from thrift stores. I'll feature some of my favourites in the next few posts of The Villa-Lobos Magazine, and I'll copy these posts to my more general record blog: Music for Several Instruments.

Villa-Lobos wrote his 12 Etudes for Guitar in Paris in 1928/29, but, according to the latest edition of Villa-Lobos: Sua Obra, they weren't heard in a public concert until March of 1947, when Andrés Segovia played numbers 1, 7 & 8 at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.  The first performance of the entire set of twelve Etudes took place on November 21, 1963, at the Auditório do Palácio da Cultura in Rio de Janeiro. They were played by the Brazilian guitarist Turibio Santos, who was only twenty years old at the time.

That same year, Turibio Santos's recording of the 12 Etudes was released in Brazil on the Caravelle label. and in 1969 Erato re-issued this wonderful World Premiere recording.

Erato provided full notes, including a summary by Segovia, inside the gatefold cover. Alas, these are only in French.

I'm experiencing all of the advantages of vinyl with my Villa-Lobos records: warm sound, a chance to pay close attention in a way that isn't always possible with streaming, and the ergonomic advantage of having to get up every twenty minutes to change sides :)

I should mention that the Erato recording was re-released - sometime in the late 1960s, I believe, by Musical Heritage Society. I always enjoy these MHS albums, with their stark black & white covers.

The great advantage of this recording over the many very fine modern recordings of the Etudes - I love those by Norbert Kraft, Timo Korhonen, David Leisner and Andrea Bissoli, among others - is authenticity. Turibio Santos was the Director of the Museu Villa-Lobos for 24 years, from 1986 (he took over after the death of the first director, Villa's widow Mindinha, in 1985) until 2010. Though he was only 16 when Villa-Lobos died in 1959, he has been a major player in classical guitar - and more generally, in classical music - in Brazil since the early 1960s.

Turibio Santos followed this landmark issue with recordings of the rest of Villa-Lobos's rather small but absolutely outstanding guitar repertoire: the Preludes, Concerto, the Suite Popular Brasileira, the First Choros and the Sexteto Místico. I'll be looking out for those recordings in 2024!

Thanks to my brother Lane, who tracked this album down in a Vancouver record shop, and gave it to me at Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. I love Antonio Rugolo's rendition of this masterpiece.