"Michael Lorimer is one of the most talented guitarists of these times and is the one that I appreciate the most. He has tamed his guitar well through a fluent and precise technique and his musicianship succeeds in solving arduous problems of interpretation through his intuition and reflection. As a human being he follows the order of the heart rather than the order of the intellect. In this recording, he has collected three compositions of mine, follies of my youth, except for the one named "Study Without Light" which I composed after an operation in one of my eyes for displacement of the retina. I am sure that Michael Lorimer will lift these ingenuous pieces from their long sleep and make them joyfully sonorous."
Andrés Segovia, New York, April 22, 1984
“Remembranza—A Tribute to Andrés Segovia” is music of memories—memories for the composers, for me, and I hope for you. In it I pay homage to the twentieth century’s greatest guitarist, Andrés Segovia.
When Segovia was a boy he wished to study with one guitarist who died before Segovia could meet him. The half of this CD devoted to the music of Spain begins and ends with music of that artist, Francisco Tárrega. CAPRICHO ARABE is Tárrega’s masterpiece and is one innocent, lyric piece I loved to hear Segovia play when I was a boy. MEMORIES (Recuerdos de la Alhambra), Tárrega’s most famous solo, will always recall for me one evening when the gold and orange rays of the Mediterranean sunset illumined Maestro Segovia’s study as he showed me his fingerings for this evocative music.
Tárrega’s music frames two pieces from Spain’s southern province of Andalusia, Segovia’s homeland. FANTASIA SEVILLANA is a brilliant showpiece written for Segovia in the 1920s by Joaquín Turina. Here Turina composed a fantasy on sevillanas, a jubilant dance from Seville. Albéniz’s ZAMBRA GRANADINA portrays a gypsy party, the zambra, as you could have heard it in the 1890s in the caves of Granada. As the music begins, you can imagine the rhythmic hand-clapping of gypsies who sit in straight-backed chairs against the white walls of a cave and surround an open area of red brick floor in which, to the plaintive wail of gypsy song, urged on by the strains of a guitarist and onlookers’ cries, individual dancers appear: now one springs in gay exuberance, now one writhes in passionate trance.
Andrés Segovia, who put guitar on the twentieth-century concert stage with his performances of music written for him, and pieces he arranged, also appears in this CD in one guise too little known, that of Segovia the composer. Here is a triptych of pieces written and published separately, brought together in the order in which Segovia liked them to be heard. Segovia wrote the first of the three in the early 1950s when he recuperated from an eye operation and lay for several weeks in one position with his eyes bandaged. He remembered the severe pain he felt in his fingertips when he began playing the guitar after events once before had prevented his practicing and this time, to keep his left-hand calluses, he found a way to continue playing. He wrote STUDY WITHOUT LIGHT and dedicated it to his friend José Rubio who stayed at his bedside day and night. PRAYER is in memory of Segovia’s favorite of the many composers he has inspired and guided, Manuel Ponce. In the last bars of Segovia’s homage, a theme from Ponce’s third guitar sonata appears, ghostly and wistful. REMEMBRANZA is romantic and recalls harmonies of the nineteenth-century composer Robert Schumann.
The remaining music on the CD features one composer whose music I have loved since infancy, Johann Sebastian Bach. When I was ten years old and heard guitar music for the first time, a record of Segovia playing Bach, I immediately took a cheap Mexican guitar my father had recently purchased, and started to teach myself how to play. Many years later, I arranged the SUITE IN D MAJOR, BWV 1007 the first of Bach’s six exquisite solo violoncello suites. Here also is the HOMAGE TO BACH by one of my favorite twentieth-century composers of guitar music, Segovia’s friend, the great Brazilian musician Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Michael Lorimer Biography
Michael Lorimer, a favorite protégé of Andrés Segovia, caught the attention of American audiences in the early 1970s through tours arranged by the great impresario Sol Hurok. His popularity soon extended beyond the shores of America. The first American guitarist invited to perform in the USSR, he concertized there in 1975 and 1977 on two extensive tours. He has appeared in Israel, Cuba, throughout Europe, on most major North American recital series, with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Orpheus, with Kronos, and with the orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Louisville, New Orleans, San Francisco and others.
At the same time that Michael Lorimer is an enthusiastic exponent of new music and of traditional classics, he is also the first world-class guitarist to regularly feature the baroque guitar in recital. Forty years ago, long before the present vogue in original instruments, Michael Lorimer was a pioneer bringing attention to the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century predecessor to the modern instrument. By the mid-1970s one London critic said, "If Lorimer is not the best baroque guitarist in the world at present the competition has still to present itself."
In 1987, Michael Lorimer brought to light a milestone of the guitar repertoire, the best surviving collection for any instrument of early eighteenth-century Spanish dance music, when he published a detailed study and facsimile of the Saldívar Codex No. 4, a large, hitherto anonymous manuscript from a private collection in Mexico, and identified it as the companion volume to the British Library manuscript Passacalles y Obras (1732), a legacy of Santiago de Murcia.
In addition to concerts, Michael Lorimer gives master classes at North American universities and conservatories from coast to coast. He is an engaging spokesman in demand for experimental programs in arts presentation. From 1965–1978, he lead the guitar department at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. During the academic years 1980–1982, he was Distinguished Visiting Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Many of today's American performers and teachers studied with Lorimer and/or with Lorimer's students.
Michael Lorimer has written for the Guitar Review and for six years contributed a widely-praised, monthly column to Guitar Player. He edits the Michael Lorimer Editions which now numbers over forty volumes and is comprised of the Composers Series, a special forum for new guitar music; and the Classics Series, which features Lorimer's arrangements, including his well-known editions of Bach's Cello Suites 1–6, the first ever published of all six Bach suites.
Michael Lorimer was the star of the television special The Artistry of Michael Lorimer which appeared nationwide on PBS.