Back in Alicante in the mid-70s when I was studying there with José Tomas, it wasn't the easiest thing in the world to buy music, though the international community of guitar students had an intense need for scores! The only music store in Alicante had almost no sheet music so about the only thing we bought there was strings. I took a little trip to London where I buried myself in music stores like Schott's for hours and in the music floor of Foyles for even longer. But we students had specialized needs. For one thing, Tomas was justifiably renowned as, well how should I put this... His fingerings of the repertoire were respected as being the best. A new student like myself was counseled to seek out more senior students for their copies of standard pieces with the correct revisions and fingerings. Quite a few of the published editions of guitar music by Torroba and others, had passages that were simply unplayable. Segovia would just slap a few fingerings on and send it to the publisher. Later on he or Tomas or someone else would get around to 'fixing' the awkward passages. It is hard to write for guitar if you are not a guitarist!
So there were three categories of scores floating around the student community in Alicante at the time.
- Published scores on which fingerings and 'corrections' had been written in pencil (always in pencil!)
- Photocopies of handwritten scores with fingerings and corrections incorporated.
- When the photocopies had gone through several generations of copying they turned into an unreadable grey on grey so the score had to be recopied by hand.
La Burgalesa, the first piece I learned by Torroba was in the third category. This piece was published in a volume of Pièces caractéristiques in the key of F# major. Very awkward indeed! The solution was to transpose the piece to E major, a good key for guitar. So the version of La Burgalesa that one learned in Alicante was this transposed one, with fingerings by Segovia. I copied it out by hand and my penmanship at that time was quite bad! I still have that copy and here is an excerpt:
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To this day, I don't think the E major version has ever been published and you see guitarists on YouTube playing it in both keys. The F# major version is playable, though the resonance is different and some bass notes can't be held as long. Here is my performance of La Burgalesa by Moreno Torroba. The title just refers to someone, a female someone, from Burgos, a town in northern Spain.