Composer Jaume Pahissa — Andrés Segovia Archive

Composer Jaume Pahissa | Andrés Segovia Archive | Roberto Moronn Pérez
From the liner notes of the new FRESH! From Reference Recordings release Andrés Segovia Archive: Spanish Composers featuring guitarist Roberto Moronn Pérez:

Jaume Pahissa

In his autobiography, the great guitarist writes a few words about the Catalan composer Jaume Pahissa and states that “he was not interested in composing for solo instruments or chamber ensembles, but only for large orchestral formations.” Segovia does not refer, even briefly, to the fact that in July 1919 Pahissa had written, at Sitges, a lovely Barcarolle entitled Canço en el mar para piano o guitarra, and that he had dedicated it to him. Perhaps Segovia was irritated by the composer’s reluctance to write the piece exclusively for the guitar. In fact, not only did Segovia never play the piece, but he did not even give any indication whatsoever that he knew of its existence even though he expressed a personal appreciation and liking for Pahissa.

Following on from this rather curious state of affairs was a situation that was even more bizarre. Between 1938 and 1939, the composer—who had emigrated to Argentina—composed a work which was part of a much larger piece and written into the Canço of 1919, entitled Tres temas de recuerdos and dedicated to Segovia. However, he never gave it to him and it was only forty years later, in 1979, that the widow of Pahissa decided to send it to Segovia from Buenos Aires, stating in an accompanying letter: “I do not understand why he did not give these to you [viz. the three works], considering that they are dated 1938-1939, a period in which we used to meet when we lived in Argentina and in Uruguay.” The reticence of the composer was perhaps due to a lack of confidence: perhaps Pahissa felt that Segovia would not have been interested in his compositions, and that would also explain why the Tres Temas, although written for solo guitar, were unusually written on the piano lines of the manuscript and not on the normal single line for guitar.

Both Canço and Tres Temas are typical of Pahissa’s compositional style; an composer who never turned his back on his Catalan origins (very evident in Danza lejana), and yet was able to emulate French music with spontaneity and elegance. In the same way as other important works by Spanish composers active between the 19th and 20th centuries, even the Tres Temas were written far from Pahissa’s homeland, and so it is not surprising to note that the inspiration for these pieces came, not from the composer’s immediate surroundings but from cherished memories.

— Angelo Gilardino, Scholar and General Editor of the Andrés Segovia Archive and former President of the Segovia Foundation.

Andrés Segovia Archive

Spanish Composers

Roberto Morronn Pérez

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