Hermann Hauser (German)
Spruce, rosewood, and mahogany
Gift of Emilita Segovia, Marquessa of Salobreña, 1986 (1986.353.1)
Handel: Sarabande [Suite No.4 in D minor for Harpsichord, HWV 437]"; Performed by Andrès Segovia; Courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg under license from Universal Music Enterprises
Drawings by R.E. Bruné
- When I first encountered this instrument, I thought it was
- pretty plain, but to understand how it changed music history, I found it to be very profound.
- This guitar as much as Andre Segovia
- established classical guitar playing. He
- resurrected this tradition of playing--finding nineteenth-century composers and
- even eighteenth-century arrangements, and figuring out
- how to play it on a guitar --and brought what had been a parlor instrument
- to the concert stages. Many of his greatest recordings were all done with this guitar.
- Hermann Hauser, the maker, met Segovia probably in about 1925.
- Twelve, thirteen years after they met, Hauser brings this guitar
- to Segovia. It’s incredibly constructed,
- but this specific instrument
- real artistic importance
- is how beautiful it sounds.
- figuring out how to play it on a guitar and
- brought what had been a parlor instrument
- From the very lowest note to the very highest note,
- it’s so even. It’s got this mellowness to it, but yet it’s never weak.
- When he played this guitar it was like it was made for him.
- And you can see white salt stains from Segovia’s sweat;
- this is like tied to him by his DNA.
- In the early 1960s, he was in a recording session and the microphone fell into the guitar.
- Segovia never liked the sound of it after that point,
- but we can hear his recordings when it was in its finest form.
- I listen to him play and I just get this profound respect,
- and yet both Segovia and Hauser lived in
- a very troubling time,
- in a very dark place in Europe.
- Hauser’s working in Munich, which is the hotbed of the Nazi party.
- Many people speculated
- what was Hauser’s politics. And
- Segovia had a very difficult relationship with Franco.
- He was criticized for not having separated himself more. It is troubling.
- There’s always been a question about how did such great art
- come from such horrific times and surroundings. That an object can transcend such evil
- and an art form can
- be birthed within that. And that this guitar
- and all that it led to could come from such a time and place. The fact that this is
- such a transformational piece that I adore and that I love the music that was made on it,
- and yet it’s a question that I wrestle with.