'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Monday, December 03, 2007

Robin Hill and 'Recuerdos de la Alhambra'

'Recuerdos de la Alhambra' is the 18th track on 'Virtuoso' and was composed by Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909).
Tarrega was born in Villarreal, Spain, but as a child had an accident, fell into an irrigation channel and permanently damaged his eyes.
His parents were concerned that he may loose his sight completely, so, they moved to Castellon, so that Francisco could take music lessons and would therefore be able to work as a musician if he did go blind.
Thankfully he didn't lose his sight but he did become a highly influential musician.

When Tarrega began his studies on the guitar, the instrument was at a low ebb throughout Europe, overshadowed by the louder and more resonant piano.
So Tarrega's father insisted he learn both instruments, in which he quickly became accomplished, in order to keep his options open.

It was in 1869 when Tarrega acquired an unusually loud and resonant guitar, made by Antonio Torres, the famous luthier, that Tarrega was able to prepare the way for the rebirth of the guitar in the 20th Century.

Tarrega transcribed many works for guitar by Spanish composers Albeniz and Granados, along with adapting movements from Beethoven's piano sonatas and many preludes of Chopin.
In all, Tarrega composed approximately 78 original works and 120 transcriptions for solo guitar, along with 21 transcriptions for two guitars. He also composed many varied and extremely taxing exercises which have tormented generations of guitarists ever since but which are extremely effective in the development of technique.

Recuerdos de la Alhambra was composed around the turn of the century. The theme was conceived on a visit to Grenada and the music is evocative of the famous Moorish palace there.
The piece is a tremelo study which requires great technical ability. To maintain a fluent and smooth tremelo, whilst executing clear accompanying notes, and also conveying the emotion of the piece, is not an easy task.

Robin is often asked if his hands ache after playing a piece like this. But years of right and left hand exercises have ensured he is quite able to maintain the tremelo for the required 3 minutes and 16 seconds on this recording. In fact, just like any athlete, the training is all important, so when it comes to the event itself, you really don't consider finger fatigue!

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