John Williams plays Agustín Barrios Mangoré’s Vals Op. 8 No. 4

Australian-born British classical guitarist John Williams plays Agustín Barrios Mangoré’s Vals op.8 No. 4.

Agustín Barrios Mangoré
Agustín Barrios Mangoré

Agustín Pío Barrios (also known as Agustín Barrios Mangoré, May 5, 1885 – August 7, 1944), was a Paraguayan classical guitarist and composer.

Barrios was famed for his phenomenal performances, both live and on gramophone recordings. Although Barrios is usually credited as the first classical guitarist to make recordings in 1909/10, a myth perpetuated by John Williams, the first guitarist to record was the Mexican guitarist Octaviano Yanes performing his “Mexican Dance” (Habanera): the record, Victor 05662, is dated August 25, 1908. Another version of this piece exists on Edison Foreign Series cylinder (catalogue number 20204). Barrios at times performed in concert in traditional Paraguayan dress (he was partly of Guarani origin), using the pseudonym of Nitsuga Mangoré (‘Nitsuga’ being Agustín spelled backwards, and ‘Mangoré’ being the name of a cacique of the South American indigenous group Timbú).

His works were largely late-Romantic in character, despite his having lived well into the twentieth century. Many of them are also adaptations of, or are influenced by, South American and Central American folk music. Very many of them are of a virtuosic nature.

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