As RR Executive Director Marcia Martin noted in the liner notes, we were extremely happy to have legendary multi-Grammy winning producer Thomas Frost bring us the wonderful Andrés Segovia Archive: Spanish Composers recording by Roberto Moronn Pérez. Read why Mr. Frost was as excited about it as we are:
I first met Roberto Moronn Pérez in Malibu, California on May 31, 2OO6. He was one of fifteen competitors in the 2OO6 Christopher Parkening International Guitar Competition and I was jury chair.
I was looking forward to hearing these young guitarists. In the early days of my career as a record producer I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity of working with the incomparable Andrés Segovia who had transformed and elevated the art of the guitar to previously unimagined levels of beauty and refinement. During the 1950’s I produced many recordings with him for American Decca—in fact, all of his recordings from 1952 to 1958. He was a quiet-spoken, polite, erudite European gentleman who kindly took me to dinner periodically—always to a fine Spanish restaurant where he loved to introduce me to Spanish cuisine. In those days record production was limited by the state of the technology. These were the days of mono sound, large tape reels and editing with razor blades. At the sessions, Segovia would listen to one or two complete takes of a piece of music and decide whether that was sufficient to create a satisfactory recorded performance by connecting large chunks of the music. He believed it should not be necessary to record small sections of the music repeatedly. I will never forget the time we were working on a difficult contemporary piece and Segovia left it to me to “clean up” the performance via editing. He wasn’t sure it could be done. I took this on as a challenge and spent much time with my engineer creating a nearly flawless performance.
When we played it for him he praised us for doing a fine job but he looked unhappy. He must have realized that what he heard was not really a performance he’d actually played. Apologizing for causing us so much work, he said he was ashamed and would return to his hotel and practice. A few days later he came back to the studio and played the piece with total security, requiring very little editing. How times have changed!
At this point I need to explain to the reader that editing tape with razor blades was very primitive compared to today’s digital editing. One could try only three to four times to create a smooth connection in any particular spot before the tape came close to being destroyed. If that happened, one had to use the duplicate safety tape and start over. With digital editing one can replace a single 16th note in a fast passage just by pushing buttons.
Now, back to the future: Roberto Moronn Pérez did very well throughout the Competition and won the Bronze Medal. When talking to me afterwards he was impassioned and full of determination to succeed in his quest for a career. He asked me for advice and expressed hope that we could continue the discussion via email. We did this for two years or so. Then, in 2009, he suggested that he come to New York for a personal meeting. I agreed and when he arrived he played me some new pieces he had been practicing. I could hear he had been working on refinements in his playing, expanding his range of expression. Continuing our protracted discussions about recording repertoire I reiterated my strong feelings that we must find ideas that would make his CD stand out among the many. Finally, one of his projects caught my attention. He had been researching the Andrés Segovia Archive and had gotten in touch with its General Editor concerning the status of some forty-four pieces which had been dedicated to Segovia or commissioned by him, involving composers from eight countries. It turned out that some pieces had never been recorded and those that had were handicapped by poor visibility in the marketplace and limited distribution. This realization sparked the thought that here was an opportunity: a series of recordings organized around the nationalities of the composers in the Segovia Archive. At that point we realized we had found the idea which would provide the necessary boost that Roberto’s recording career needed. He chose Spanish composers as the first in the series to be followed by French composers. I contacted my friends Victor and Marina Ledin of Encore Consultants LLC who brought this project to the attention of Reference Recordings, a fine company with excellent worldwide distribution.
I admire Roberto Moronn Pérez for his persistence and devotion, for developing his natural talents that they may grow and blossom, for his initiative in searching out viable ideas, and his patience for letting everything take a natural course. I wish him great success.
— Thomas Frost