Recordings of the Old Masters

//Recordings of the Old Masters

Recordings of the Old Masters

Listening, and in some cases, watching recordings of the old masters that have provided us with so much music and guidance can be very inspirational. It can also give us a great insight into different playing styles and idiosyncrasies that we can incorporate into our own playing. I remember the feeling of amazement when I first got to meet some of my guitar idols at festivals in Europe. David Russell, John Williams, Oscar Ghiglia… it was like the CD covers were coming to life!

Regino Sainz de la Maza

A virtuoso in his own right, Regino Sainz de la Maza is perhaps most famous for the concerto that was dedicated to him. None other than the Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo. He wrote several solo pieces that are still popular today including Campanas del Alba (a tremolo work), Zapateado and Rondeña.

Menuet op. 15 nº 1, and Menuet op. 11 nº 9 by Fernando Sor

Bouree by J.S. Bach

Andres Segovia

Segovia is a name synonymous with the classical guitar, but it is not widely known that he composed pieces for the instrument. A master arranger, and collaborator with other composers, arguably his most well known composition is Estudio Sin Luz.

Bouree by J.S. Bach

Before we get to Segovia’s piece, let’s have a listen to the same Bouree as above. For two giants of the guitar living at the same time, it is enjoyable to listen to the differences in sound and musical approach.

Estudio Sin Luz

Agustín Barrios

Sometimes playing with steel strings, and making recordings on very early wax cylinders , Barrios was able to record several hundred works that serve as the original sources for modern editions. The speed and agility of his playing is of note, as is the flexible approach to tempo.

Valse no 3

This valse is a personal favorite of mine and one of the few works for which we haver a manuscript. European in style, this Valse displays a lyrical style of writing, virtuosic execution and some ear opening distortions of rhythm.

The score and lesson for this piece in included in the CGC curriculum at Level 4.

Miguel Llobet

A multifaceted artist, Llobet was a skilled visual artist and also studied violin and piano. He was also able to study with the nineteenth century master of guitar, Francisco Tarrega. Listening to his incredible recordings give us a rare insight into the 19th century aesthetic and also to the sheer virtuosic speed with which he executed his works.

Radio Program by Robert Spencer (Multiple works)

Claude Debussy

Finally, I thought I would open up the idea outside the world of guitar. There are many recordings and manuscripts that we can discover if we dig a little or visit a library and they all have a little bit of magic. After all, if we are going to spend our time learning about music why wouldn’t we want to get as close to the masters as we can?


This piece is quoted in the famous Homenaje by Manuel de Falla. It is a testament to how well Debussy understood, and could imitate the Spanish aesthetic, even though he only visited the country briefly on one occasion. It is not an audio recording of Debussy, but rather a piano roll that mechanically recorded his playing. So, I guess in a way it is a recording, but not one that we would normally listen to.

La soirée dan Grenade



Do you know of any other recordings that are similar? I am sure the CGC community would be happy to hear of them, so please feel free to link in the comments below.


Simon Powis

2016-10-24T00:19:42+00:0011 Comments


  1. Gerard October 2, 2016 at 7:49 am - Reply

    Simon! What an awesome and essential post.

    Returning to primary sources is the rare thing that gives vitality to any new endeavour in writing, music or even geology! I have several of the originals you list but Regino Sainz de la Maza is new to me so thanks very much.

    I bought the box set of Lagoya and Presti just to get a glimpse of Ida Presti’s wonderful playing and their remarkable duo. Often I will go to an original non-guitar source for reference like orchestral recordings of Elgar so I can hear the composer’s intention for pieces like Salut d’Amour.

    More of this please! Best Wishes

  2. Louis Wilberger October 2, 2016 at 9:12 am - Reply


  3. Lissa October 2, 2016 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    This is a wonderful suprise to awaken to and begin Sunday, remembering these musicians. A Few were new to me.
    The commentaries are so interesting to place these people in the history of music, and the recording technology as well.
    Thank you!

  4. Adolfo Reparaz October 2, 2016 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    I recommend the early recordings of Pablo Casals playing the JSB cello suite and also some of the encores that he played from 1915 to 1954 (Sony Classical Casals Edition) particularly the Catalonian folk song “El Cant Dels Ocells”. Very moving.

  5. Pitchou October 3, 2016 at 7:12 am - Reply

    Abel Fleury. There is a complete “documentary works” on YouTube as well called : grabaciones documentales, where you can listen to the very famous milongueos de ayer, and estilo pampeano.


  6. Linda Tsardakas October 3, 2016 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    There are recordings of Villa-Lobos playing his own music. Here is Prelude 1, but he plays a bit differently than the score available today:

  7. James Huckson November 20, 2016 at 3:31 am - Reply

    At last! I finally got to hear this wonderful music. What a great way to spend part of the weekend. Thanks Simon!

  8. Eduardo November 26, 2016 at 1:17 am - Reply

    Here is a video of Narciso Yepes playing Bach´s Prelude from the Lute Suite No.1 bwv 996 in E minor


  9. Eduardo November 26, 2016 at 1:21 am - Reply

    Antonio Lauro playing one of his compositions

  10. Eduardo November 26, 2016 at 1:26 am - Reply

    Two pieces by Abel Carlevaro

  11. Luis R. Lebron November 21, 2017 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    Thanks for all the interesting information you provide. I would like to make a small correction. “Campanas del Alba” was written by Eduardo Sainz de La Maza, Regino’s brother.

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