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AGUSTÍN BARRIOS MANGORÉ  

(1885 - 1944)

Agustín Pío Barrios was born in the Missiones district of southern Paraguay on 5 May 1885, and died on 7 August 1944, in San Salvador, El Salvador. To many, Barrios was the greatest guitarist/composer of all time. A constant traveller until late in his life, Barrios work lay scattered over South and Central America in a small collection of published pieces, 78 RPM recordings, and hand written manuscripts written for the benefit of his patrons and students. In the last four years of his life, however, Barrios took a teaching position at the Declamation and Conservatorium Rafael Olmedo. There, he left a written teaching method containing progressive studies, arpeggios and concert studies, and 10 duos of other composers’ works arranged for him to play in concert with his students, preserved in the handmade copies of the students. In addition, he transcribed his arrangements of other composer’s works which accounted for 50% of his concert repertoire. The entirety of these materials and his original compositions were stolen from his house in the hours after his death.

Works of Barrios began to trickle out of El Salvador in the years after his death, most notably at that time by Alirio Diaz who then passed a few scores to a young John Williams in 1955. Williams was to receive another large collection of pieces by the Salvadoran composer and doctor Carlos Payes in 1969. Williams’ recordings of Barrios in 1977 took the world by storm and became the turning point in the dissemination of Barrios’ music. Today, Barrios’ music is frequently performed by major concert artists and is appreciated by audiences worldwide.

As a young man, Barrios was recognised at an early age for his musical talent. His first exposure to music came courtesy of the Jesuits who pioneered the serious study of music and composition in the State of Missiones in Paraguay in the 17th century. Fate smiled on the young Barrios when the son of the Ambassador to Argentina to Paraguay, Gustavo Sosa Escalada, became Barrios’ first and only guitar teacher. The young Barrios moved to the capitol city of Asuncion to further his education where he attended the Ateneo Paraguayo. He worked briefly as a professional illustrator, but devoted the rest of his life to composing and performing, relying on various patrons throughout his life for physical, financial, and moral support. His travels would eventually take him to 25 countries and he became an early pioneer of commercial aviation, flying to concerts in early 1930.

Although Barrios is portrayed as a Paraguayan composer, only one manuscript and one letter has ever been found written by him when he was in Paraguay. In reality, Barrios left the country in 1910 as his talent developed, only to return briefly between late 1924 and early 1925. He was never to return to his homeland again. Eventually, his travels would take him to 25 countries and the finest concert halls in the world. From 1910–1931 Barrios restricted his activities to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, even taking an extended concert tour of the Amazon River. He stormed Central America after completing his South American tour with concerts in French Guyana, Venezuela and Columbia. At the peak of his career, in San Jose Costa Rica, Barrios played 15 concerts with different programs in just 31 days. Visiting every country in Central America, Barrios made his way to Mexico City in 1933–34 where he displaced Andres Segovia from his preferred theatre into a modest one. Segovia cancelled his remaining concerts and Barrios departed for Europe by way of Cuba. He gave a concert at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels which marked his greatest European success. Years later research would reveal that Barrios was the last person of colour to publicly perform in Nazi Germany on National Radio October 8, 1935, just two days before the ban on “Niggerjazz” of Eugene Hadamovsky. This broadcast on long wave radio reached as far as the German submarine bases in Southern Chile, and the South Pacific. Rather than pander to his German hosts, Barrios played his own composition “Sueno en la Floresta”.

With WWII and the Spanish Civil War looming, Barrios returned to the Americas, and faced new challenges to his livelihood. Cinemas were airconditioned offering colour films at popular prices, and trends in entertainment changed. He managed to visit the United States via Puerto Rico in 1937. Barrios relied increasingly on patrons and his output of compositions dwindled but maintained a high standard. Applying for an entry visa to the US in Guatemala in October 1939, Barrios was found by the US embassy to have false diplomatic papers and no passport. The embassy offered Barrios assistance in getting a Paraguayan passport but Barrios declined. As he exited the embassy, Barrios had a heart attack and received immediate treatment in a nearby medical clinic. He was soon welcomed into El Salvador by dictator Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez, given a cash payment and pension and enter service as a teacher at the Declamation and Conservatory Rafael Olmedo. He never left El Salvador again.

The documents crucial to preserving the complete legacy of Barrios were scattered immediately upon his death, but decades of research and cooperation with the families of his students eventually led to the publication of the complete manuscripts written by Barrios for his students and patrons. El Libro de Oro (Les Productions d’OZ 2019–2020) in seven volumes published in honour of the 75th anniversary of the composer completes and preserves his musical legacy and corrects previously published biographies with newly discovered factual documentation.

View by Role: Classical Composer | Arranger
Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
BARRIOS MANGORÉ, A.: Guitar Music, Vol. 1 (Goni) Naxos
8.554558
Instrumental
BARRIOS MANGORÉ, A.: Guitar Music, Vol. 2 (Voorhorst) Naxos
8.555718
Instrumental
BARRIOS MANGORÉ, A.: Guitar Music, Vol. 3 (J. McFadden) Naxos
8.557807
Instrumental
BARRIOS MANGORÉ, A.: Guitar Music, Vol. 4 (Refik-Kaya) Naxos
8.573897
Instrumental
BARRIOS MANGORÉ, A.: Guitar Music, Vol. 5 (Refik Kaya) Naxos
8.573898
Instrumental
Cavatina - Highlights from the Guitar Collection Naxos
8.554400
Instrumental
CAVATINA AND OTHER CLASSICAL GUITAR FAVOURITES Naxos
8.570066
Instrumental
GINASTERA: Guitar Sonata / RODRIGO: Invocacion y danza Proprius
PRCD2008
Instrumental
GUITAR FAVORITES Naxos
8.553999
Instrumental
GUITAR MOMENTS Naxos
8.557712
Instrumental
Guitar Music - CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO, M. / VILLA-LOBOS, H. / PIAZZOLLA, A. (Memorias II: 5 Festival de la Guitarra de Sevilla) (Escarpa, Csaba, Micheli) Contrastes Records
Contrastes1201402
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Antigoni Goni Naxos
8.553774
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Arango, Alí - ARANGO, A. / BARRIOS MANGORÉ, A. / BROUWER, L. / CLERCH, J. / PAGANINI, N. / TÁRREGA, F. Naxos
8.574111
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Bernier, Francisco - GISMONTI, E. / ALMEIDA, L. / CARILLO, A. / TANSMAN, A. / BROUWER, L. / MERLÍN, J.L. (Vals sin nombre) Contrastes Records
Contrastes1201502
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Coves, Vicente - PONCE, M.M. / ROMERO, C. / BROUWER, L. / MOREL, J. / BARRIOS MANGORE, A. (Latin-American Music for Guitar) Naxos
8.572527
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Cucchi, Flavio - LAURO, A. / BARRIOS, A. / VILLA-LOBOS, H. (Flavio Cucchi plays Latin American Guitar Masterpieces) ARC
EUCD2490
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Denis Azabagic Naxos
8.554555
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Fernandez, Eduardo - TIRAO / BARRIOS / PIAZZOLLA / MONTANA, G. / GUASTAVINO / RODRIGUEZ, M. Oehms Classics
OC547
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Feuillâtre, Raphaël - RAMÍREZ, A. / RAMEAU, J.-P. / GRANADOS, E. / LLOBET SOLÉS, M. / BARRIOS MANGORÉ, A. / VILLA-LOBOS, H. Naxos
8.574127
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Franco Platino Naxos
8.554344
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Gregoriadou, Smaro - PEYROT, F. / BARRIOS, A. / HENZE, H.W. / KOSHKIN, N. (El Aleph: 20th and 21st Century Guitar Music) Delos
DE3490
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Gregorič, Janez - CARLEVARO, A. / BARRIOS MANGORÉ, A. / GREGORIČ, J. (Cronomías de Montevideo: Hommage à Abel Carlevaro) Gramola Records
Gramola99095
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Jason Vieaux Naxos
8.553449
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Jeffrey McFadden Naxos
8.553401
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Kowalski, Mateusz - ASSAD, S. / BARRIOS MANGORÉ, A. / PONCE, M.M. / TÁRREGA, F. (Classical Guitarist) CD Accord
CDAccordACD251
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Kuang, Junhong - CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO, M. / MANGORÉ, A.B. / BACH, J.S. / GRANADOS, E. / ALBÉNIZ, I. / LEGNANI, L. / MERTZ, J.K. Naxos
8.573432
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Lorenz, David - MALATS, J. / TARREGA, F. / ALBENIZ, I. / VILLA-LOBOS, H. / LAURO, A. / BARRIOS, M.A. (The Spanish Guitar) Capriccio
C10746
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Moller, Johannes - BARRIOS MANGORE, A. / CRAEYVAGNER, K.A. / REGONDI, G. / VILLA-LOBOS, H. / GOUGEON, D. / BROUWER, L. Naxos
8.572715
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Park, Kyuhee - SCARLATTI, D. / DIABELLI, A. / BERKELEY, L. / MALATS, J. / BARRIOS MANGORÉ, A. / LÓPEZ LÓPEZ, J.M. Naxos
8.573225
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Steve Kostelnik Naxos
8.554214
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Svoboda, Michal - BARRIOS MANGORÉ, A. / LLOBET SOLÉS, M. (La Búsqueda) ArcoDiva
UP0191
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Topchii, Marko - SAINZ DE LA MAZA, R. / GIULIANI, M. / ABRIL, A.G. / LAURO, A. / TORROBA, F.M. / BARRIOS MANGORÉ, A. (Van Gogh Fire) Contrastes Records
Contrastes201601
Instrumental
NACHT, HELLER ALS DER TAG (Fischer-Dieskau, Folkwang Gitarren Duo) Orfeo
C379951A
Instrumental
WALDBUHNE IN BERLIN 1998 - Latin American Night (Williams, Barenboim) (PAL) TDKDVD
DV-WBLAT
Classical Concert
Role: Arranger 
Album Title  Catalogue No  Work Category 




 
 
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