Feet of Clay

Or jackboots.

Looking at some of Andres Segovia's recording and concert dates, I finally realized that he was of the generation of Spaniards who lived through the Spanish Civil War.

Several online biographies (actually, what looked like multiple copies of the same one) refer euphemistically to his house being vandalized. This lecture on the guitar repertoire (interesting in and of itself) cuts through the crap:
Some years ago I published the full text of 129 letters written by Segovia to the Mexican composer Manuel Ponce from their first acquaintance in nineteen twenty three, until Ponce’s death in nineteen forty eight. These letters, a personal testimony, portray a totally different image of Segovia than that which we knew before. Segovia was a right-wing reactionary who actively supported the Franco side in the Spanish civil war. The real truth about Segovia’s eviction from Barcelona in the middle of the War, as Segovia himself tells it, is that he was chased out by the left-wing loyalists, and not by the fascists, since he himself was a sworn sympathizer of the fascist forces. Segovia was a self-declared anti-semite, and this, together with his political connections to Franco, assured that he would be banned from performance in the United States from nineteen thirty seven until after the Second World War, when the old grievances of the American public against him were forgotten.
Andres Segovia: Jew-hater and Fascist. Yet another reminder from a generation filled with such reminders (Eliot, Pound, Heidegger) that the aesthetic is distinct from the ethical.

I don't think I'll ever be able to listen to Segovia the same way. And it makes that last year of high school, listening to that old Decca vinyl recording of him, wanting to play like him, and riding the waves of music with the excesses of adolescent emotion—well, it feels like being intimate with a rat, now.


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