Recuerdos de la Alhambra

Francisco Tárrega

Recuerdos de la Alhambra

About this work

As his admirers are aware, Francisco Tárrega is called the father of twentieth century guitar technique. No other composer from the late nineteenth or early twentieth century played as pivotal a role in reviving interest in the guitar after its popularity began fading in the mid-nineteenth century. This work is arguably his most popular and is easily among the most popular ever written. Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Memories of the Alhambra) is a somewhat Impressionistic piece in that it depicts the composer's impressions of Granada's most famous palace, the ancient Alhambra. The work is a tremolo study and, at slightly over four minutes, substantially longer than most of Tárrega's original pieces for guitar -- pieces not only brief of expression but salon-like in character.

Recuerdos is a fairly light work, but one of great beauty, the quivering flow of its dark lyricism imparting a hushed nocturnal charm throughout the piece. The slowly paced main theme rises and falls many times along its lengthy path, at times bordering on sadness or on loss, yet balancing its gloom with an emotional sweetness that makes the ear focus on the music's beauty and turn away from its sense of distress. While the composer may well be depicting some historical feeling associated with the castle or merely its enchanting atmosphere, the tender, tremulous music could just as well be about a failed romance or the loss of a friend. In any event, this charming work will appeal to most lovers of guitar music.