Early classical guitar recordings

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This article is about early classical guitar recordings.

Putting sound recordings into perspective[edit]

One of the earliest guitar sound recordings was from 1861, before the Edison invented the phonograph. It is believed that it was recorded in the western saloon Two Bulls in Kansas. The phonograph type invented by Thomas Edison was on 18 July 1877. It used phonograph cylinders as a recording medium. In 1888, Emile Berliner patented his gramophone which used a flat disk – a gramophone record.[1] At first, both mediums were used, but by 1910 the disk replaced the cylinder as the most popular recording medium. (Today the words "phonograph" and "gramophone" are sometimes used interchangeably.) Other types of recordings were instrument-specific, such as the pianola (or reproducing piano), which used a piano roll as the recording medium.[2] Edwin Scott Votey produced the first true pianola in 1895.[3]

See also sound recordings.

Early recordings often have a low or limited audio quality, since recording technology was just in its beginning phases. It took many years to reach the high standards of audio fidelity known in today's recordings.

History of early classical guitar recordings[edit]

The earliest known classical guitar recording is from cylinders (from the "Viuda de Aramburo" label), featuring guitarists Luis and Simon Ramirez, made in Madrid sometime between 1897 and 1901. Amongst the works they performed is a piece titled Estudio para Guitarra, which is today known as "Romance".[4]

Mexican guitarist Octaviano Yañes performing his Mexican Dance on a record (Victor 05662) is dated 25 August 1908.[5] Another version of this piece exists on Edison Foreign Series cylinder (catalogue number 20204).[5] Brazilian guitarist Américo Jacomino Canhoto (1889–1928) recorded works in 1913, 1917, 1925, 1926, 1927, and 1928.[6] Mario Maccaferri recorded eight works in 1929 (Granados: Danza no. 5 (rec. 1929), Bach: Courante (rec. 1929), ref ref2).[7] The Paraguayan guitarist and composer Agustín Barrios (1885–1944) made recordings between 1913 and 1942 on the Atlanta/Artigas label, and later produced recordings for Odeon until 1929, including performances of his own works. Spanish guitarist and composer Miguel Llobet (1878–1938) made recordings between 1925 and 1929. Garoto (Aníbal Augusto Sardinha) made recordings in the 1950s.[8] Luigi Mozzani (1869–1943) recorded three 78 rpm discs with much of his music. Andrés Segovia (1893–1987) made his earliest recordings in 1927.[9] Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887–1959) privately made recordings between mid-1920s and the early 1940s, including important performances of two of his guitar works.[10] Italian guitarist Pasquale Taraffo (1887–1937) made recordings between 1926 and 1930 on a harp-guitar (Taraffo's Sonatina in A Major.[11]).[12][13] Abel Fleury (1903–1958) recorded ten pieces between 1935 and 1954. There exists a recording of Italo Meschi from 1929.

Other early performers who have recorded include Emilio Pujol,[14] Josefina Robledo[15] (Tárrega: Capricho Arabe, ref), Luise Walker (1910–1998),[16][17] Julio Martínez Oyanguren (1901-1973) from Uruguay[16][18][19](track - Jota ref), Guillermo Gómez (1880-1955),[16] Maria Luisa Anido (1907–1996), Vicente Gomez (1911–2001), Francisco Salinas (1892–1993), Regino Sainz de la Maza (1896–1981) (Concierto de Aranjuez, rec. 1948 dedicated to Regino Sainz de la Maza), José Rey de la Torre (1917–1994), Nelly Ezcaray (born 1920), etc. Some of the recordings have been reissued on CD.[20][21]

Julio Sagreras also made radio recordings, though it is not known if the tracks are still available, or if they have been released on CD.

There are probably still more early guitar recordings of high value and historic importance, that can be discovered (e.g. there seems to be a surprising lack of early recordings by Central and Eastern European guitarists, etc.), possibly in archives of record companies (or discontinued record companies) or in early radio recordings or private collections.

See also[edit]