Andrés Segovia Archive: Henri Martelli

Andrés Segovia Archive: French Composers

Henri Martelli

As a consequence of the tremendous impact that Andrés Segovia had on the French musical world, most of the compositions recorded on this CD were written especially for him.

One of the best examples is Quatre Piéces pour guitare, op.32, by the well-known French composer Henri Martelli (1895-1980) who, around 1932, composed this superb piece, a real guitar masterwork. its contrapuntal richness with the use of two and three-voice guitar writing is outstanding, all tinged with a neo-baroque style. The first piece is very incisive rhythmically. The second is a fast succession of semiquavers, challenging even for virtuosos. The third piece is more choral, while the fourth draws its inspiration from a gigue style.

On viewing the manuscript, it is also impressive how unusually acute his understanding is of the guitar. You can play these pieces directly from the score since he even details each articulation. If Frank Martin’s Quatre piéces bréves are to be regarded as the most famous four pieces for guitar of the twentieth century, now they have to share that honour with Martelli’s work.

—Roberto Moronn Pérez

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