Here is a translation prepared by Ms. Marcelle Jones. Marcelle is an old and dear friend to me and to the guitar. She is an American (U.S.A.) raised in a French speaking household. At age 83, she does not own a computer, but rather, hand wrote this translation which I've edited and have proved below. I'm afraid that making sense out of the footnotes may require some effort, but I am unable to upload an attachment with either in doc or pdf formats.
Miguel Llobet Solés (1878-1938)
Historically, the composer-performer Miguel Llobet appeared during a transitory period
that ushered in the modern classic guitar.
His native city, Barcelona, was, in his time, a venue that brought together several
important artistic personalities, one of whom, Francisco Tárrega, considered Llobet his
The remarkable technique and rare musicality displayed by Llobet succeeded in capturing
the regard of great composers such as Manuel de Falla, Isaac Albéniz, and Enrique
Granados. He is among the first guitarists to have conquered the concert stage at the
international level. Historically, he is the second to have recorded on disc.
During the same period and not far away, the luthier Antonio Torres (1817-1892) had just
established standards for the modern classic guitar.
The son of a wood sculptor, Miguel Llobet was born in Barcelona on October 18, 1878.
Very early, the young Miguel showed exceptional talent for the arts, particularly music
(violin and piano) and drawing(s1,a1).
At the age of eleven, he began his studies of the guitar with Magin Alegre. It was after a
concert2 given by the blind guitarist Antonio Jimenez Manjón (1866-1919) that he
decided to undertake a career as a guitarist.
Magin Alegre arranged a meeting with Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909) and after an
audition, Miguel Llobet entered the Municipal Conservatory of Barcelona, where he
completed his studies. Among the students at the Conervatory were to be found Pablo
Casals, Emilio Pujol(a4), Ricardo Viñes, and Gaspar Cassadó(s4).
The First Concerts
It has been recognized that in 1898, Miguel Llobet had created in Barcelona the musical
society,"Lira Orfeo", which brought together a group of amateurs. The instruments used
were mandolines, guitars, lutes, and archlutes.3
1 The references "a" refer to the photo album. The "s" refers to bibliographic or internet sources.
2 The concert was given in 1889 at the "Teatre Catalunya" in Barcelona (s9). Manjón played an eleven
string Torres guitar, made in 1876. An anonymous reporter described the concert as an event of
3 The Nova Lira Orfeo is a guitar ensemble founded Stefano Grondona in 2002, to disseminate unpublished
music and original arrangements of Miguel Llobet.
Guitar afficionados at this time met occasionally in unusual locales. Such is the case of
the celebrated "vaqueria" (cow stable) of Léon Jarré in Barcelona, where Tárrega, as well
as Llobet, Pujol, Sainz de la Maza, and Segovia, played surrounded by artists and
intellectuals, among whom were Grandados, Viñes, and Malats.
But Llobet's first official concert took place at the conservatory in Valencia in 1901. The
same year, he appeared at the conservatory at Seville, as well as that of Malaga where he
was awarded the title of Honorary Professor. In 1902 he appeared at the Théâtre de la
Comedie, and in 1903 before the Spanish Royal Family in Madrid.
Miguel Llobet gave his first concert outside of Spain in Paris in 1904, presented by his
friend and compatriot, Ricardo Viñes, the celebrated pianist and interpreter of the works
During this period, he associated with such Parisian composers as Paul Dukas, Claude
Debussy5, Maurice Ravel, Isaac Albéniz6, and Manuel de Falla.
The concerts were given in such prestigious locales as the Schola Cantorum, La
Trompette, the Sociéte National de Musique, the Soirée de Arts, etc. Of one of these
concerts, the distinguished Frenchman, René Boire reported, "The three beautiful works
composed by Fernando Sor, who has been called the 'Beethoven of the guitar,' permits
the wizard who is Llobet to communicate to us a 'genuine artistic emotion'."
From 1905 to 1910, although he lived in Paris, Llobet gave concerts in several European
countries and in England.
Argentina and the Grand Tours
In 1910, Juan Carlos Anido7, and Domingo Prat invited Llobet to live in Argentina, in
Argentina became, at that time, one of the principal locales for the guitar.8 From 1895,
Buenos Aires included among its 67,000 inhabitants the guitarists Juan Alais, Carlos
Garcia Tolsa, Antonio Jiménez Manjon, José Sancho, Julio S Sagreras,, Gaspar Sagreras,
4 The pianist has left us an hour of recorded music (the CD catalogue) of high quality.
5 The famous phrase of Debussy, "The guitar is an expressive harpsichord" was inspired after a concert of
6 Isaac Albéniz directed the advanced piano class at the Schola Cantorum of Paris after 1898.
7 His daughter, Maria Luisa Anido (1907-1996) became a student of Llobet in 1923.
8 This republic had acquired independence from Spain in 1816 thanks to General José Francisco de San
Martin (1778-1850), who was himself a great enthusiast of the guitar, and had been a student of the
illustrious Catalan maestro, Fernando Sor.
Pablo Simeone (1869-1910) and Pedro Quijano (1875-1953), an editor, students, and
aficionados of the guitar.
Meanwhile, Miguel Llobet regularly left his outpost in Argentina to do tours in North and
Central America, in Brazil, in the Caribbean, and almost all of the major Western
On October 29, 1912, on his return from South America back to Paris, Llobet made a
stop in New York for several days.(s1) Paul Eno, eminent professor of guitar and banjo,
persuaded him to come to Philadelphia to that he might give an afternoon concert in the
"Club Orphée". I was the first exclusively solo guitar recital9 given in Philadelphia. The
American pianist and composer, Camille Zeckwer, who was among the invited,
commented on Llobet's interpretation of Chopin's Nocturne, opus 9, no. 2, "This was the
most artistic rendition of that beautiful Chopin classic I've been privileged to listen to."
In 1912 and 1913, he made a tour of France, Belgium, Germany in Munich(s13), in
Austria, and in Spain, creating enthusiasm wherever he was presented.
The Period of the War
At the declaration of war in 1914, he probably(s10) lived with the Anido10 family in
Buenos Aires, with Domingo Prat, and with Emilio Pujol. During this peiod, he
continued his tours, did some arranging, and took some students. It was also during this
time that he made his recording on disc at Bell Lab in New Jersey.11
In 1915 he is found to have performed in Germany, along with Andres Segovia (1893-
1987) at a concert sponsored by the "Societé de Guitare de Munich".(a6)
In 1916 Llobet acquired his Torres guitar, FE-09.12(s9,a5)(s9,a5)
9 250 persons were in attendance at the concert. The program consisted of:
Concert Etude, Coste
Nocturne, op.9, no.2, Chopin
Variations on a theme of Mozart, Sor
Andante from Sonata 10, Beethoven
Capricho Árabe, Tárrega
Fantasie Espagnole, Llobet
10 Juan Carlos Anido was the impresario of Emilio Pujol (and probably of Llobet) during the period 14-18.
11 History give credit to Augustin Barrios Mangore as having made the first guitar recording.
12 Records indicate that Llobet owned a Torres serial number FE-09.(s9, s5).
It is possible that Llobet gave guitar lessons to Andrés Segovia in Spain during this
period. But we do not possess viable documentation proving that Segovia was a regular
pupil of Miguel Llobet. According to Emilio Pujol, Segovia could have taken a few
lessons with Llobet, and the latter may have cut off the lessons due to the rebellious
nature of the student.
After the War
In 1919, Miguel Llobet lived with the Anidos in Argentina, where he continued his
activities as a concert artist and teacher. In 1920 "Homage pour le Tombeau de Debussy"
was composed in Paris by Manuel de Falla, with Llobet as both inspiration and dedicatee.
He traveled across Germany in 1921 and appeared in Munich, Leipzig, Dresden,
Cologne, and Stuttgart. Llobet contributed powerfully to the development of the prestige
of the guitar in Germany, and was frequently invited(s13) by the Société de Guitare de
Around 1925, Llobet recorded several solo pieces, and made a series concert tours in duo
with Maria Luisa Anido. Toward 1929, the duo recorded arrangements by Llobet under
the Odeon Parlophone label, distributed by Decca. A compilation of these historic
recordings is available on CD13. (Timing 44:35).
After 1930, Llobet returned to Barcelona, from where he continued to concertize in,
among other places, London, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Venice, Budapest, and Bologna.
Spanish Civil War and the End
It would seem that the civil war which took place in Barcelona in 1937, profoundly
affected Llobet, and precipitated his death on February 22, 1938.
It was discovered that Miguel Llobet's remains lay in an unmarked tomb, with only the
word, "Guitarrista" written on it in chalk by a good intentioned anonymous person. In
2007, the Cercle Guitarristic de Catalunya erected an appropriate commemorative stone.
The Personality of Llobet14
Llobet was a great virtuoso who brought together rare human qualities, and an
exceptional artistic talent. He was extremely good and generous. A marvelous man. It
was said that he was the most elegant guitarist in all Spain. He was a thin man, of
13 These historic recordings were made under very rudimentary conditions: directly to the disc, so neither
editing nor reverberation were possible.
14 This paragraph and the beginning of the following, are extracted from an interview (s2) of Maria Luisa
Anido by the journalist Françoise Emmanuelle Denis.
medium stature. He very much resembled Chopin, to the point that his little girl, seeing a
bust of Chopin in a Polish village, cried out, "Oh, Papa, Papa!"
Although Llobet had the reputation of being the most talented of Tárrega's students, he
himself had a strong personality.
Llobet was a great virtuoso who had an extraordinary gift for improvisation. Segovia
made the comment regarding Llobet's playing(s16):
Among all of Tárrega's students, the best was Llobet. He was a better musician
than the others, with a superior technique. His tone was not as good, but his
sympathetic resonance was very expressive...
In spite of his profound admiration for Tárrega, his teacher, Llobet's aesthetic
conception was not the same in several respects: his view of things, a different
age, and environment. Even though Tárrega, lover of the purity and homogeneous
sound of the classic guitar would have wanted to unify the six strings of the
instrument, Llobet, drawn to the diversity of timbres of the orchestra, would
transform each string into a separate guitar.
Llobet differed from Tárrega on another important point: he played with the fingernails.
According to Maria Luisa Anido(s2), "he was very lazy, and did not take the trouble to
notate all the ideas that came to him. But he composed easily, and transcribed some
The compositions of Llobet (over 25 works and arrangements) are different from those of
his contemporaries by their more daring harmonies, influenced by the French musicians
with whom he consorted in Paris. The inspiration for the thirteen Catalan Folk Songs15,
all lovely melodic and harmonic compositions, varies from the simplicity of La Filla del
Marxant or of La Pastoreta to the great complexity of El Mestre.
Besides these arrangements, the compositions of Llobet exhibit a taste for chromaticism
as well as other means of creating harmonic attraction: broken cadences, harmonies filled
with augmented fifths, sixths, and ninths, avoidance of root position, and a quasiimpressionistic
harmonic vagueness. Never gratuitous, these techniques are used in
service the great lyric expressivity to which the guitar lends itself so well, but are
15 Taken from an article by Gérard Rebours (s17).
predicated under the condition that the interpreter has the ability to master the technical
difficulties, particularly those in the left hand.
The legacy of Llobet consists of approximately seventy-five works, including his
As a teacher(s2), Llobet had a stunning facility for inventing studies adapted to the
difficulties each student encountered in executing glides, scales, and arpeggios. He
taught a considerable number of extraordinary contemporary guitarists, including Maria
Luisa Anido, José Rey de la Torre from Cuba, and Domingo Prat.(s10)