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Barrios Mangor, Agustn (Po)

[Barrios, Agustn Po]

(b San Juan Bautista de las Misiones, 5 May 1885; d San Salvador, 7
Aug 1944). Paraguayan guitarist and composer. In his youth in
Asuncin he studied the guitar with Gustavo Sosa Escalada and
composition with Nicolo Pellegrini, and practised his compositional
skills by transcribing works by Bach, Beethoven and Chopin. In 1910
he left Paraguay intending to give a week of concerts in Argentina,
but such was his success that he was away for 14 years, playing in
Brazil, Chile and Uruguay (where he studied with Antonio Gimnez
Manjn). He found a patron in the diplomat Toms Salomini, who
arranged recitals for him in Mexico and Cuba. His first real successes
date from about 1919, when he played for the President of Brazil. In
1930 he adopted the pseudonym Mangor (after a legendary Guaran
chieftain), and in 1934 he went to Europe with Salomini, living in
Berlin and visiting Belgium and Spain. In 1936 he returned to Latin
America, and taught at the conservatory in San Salvador from 1939
to 1944. Critics compared Barrios Mangor with Segovia as an
interpreter and with Paganini as a virtuoso. He was the first LatinAmerican guitarist of stature to be heard in Europe, and made
numerous recordings between 1913 and 1929.
Although he lacked a formal musical education, Barrios Mangor
wrote guitar music of high quality that combined many of the
characteristics of his predecessors, Sor and Trrega. He reputedly
composed about 300 works for solo guitar, of which over a third have
been located either in manuscripts or from his recordings. These
include La catedral, Danza paraguaya, Un sueo en la floresta,
Preludio, op.5 no.1, Julia Florida, Una limosna por el amor de dios,
Mazurka apasionata, Vals, op.8 nos.3 and 4, and Variations on a
Theme of Trrega, all of which have become part of the repertory.
R. Stover: Six Silver Moonbeams: the Life and Times of Agustn
Barrios Mangor (Clovis, CA, 1992)