Music Mondays



Hauntingly beautiful…”Lágrima” – is central to the theme of my recent good read “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” by Mitch Albom.   I was not familiar with the piece or the composer, Francisco de Asís Tárrega…I had to hear it…had to know more.

“Francisco de Asís Tárrega (21 November 1852 – 15 December 1909) was a Spanish composer and classical guitarist of the Romantic period. He is often considered as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Tárrega was born on 21 November 1852, in Villarreal, Province of Castellón, Spain. It is said that Francisco’s father played flamenco and several other music styles on his guitar; when his father was away working as a watchman at the Convent of San Pascual, Francisco would take his father’s guitar and attempt to make the beautiful sounds he had heard.  His colorful youth, classical training and gypsy lifestyle is intriguing.

It is said, that in 1881, Tárrega played in London, but he liked neither the language nor the weather. There is a story about his visit to England. After a concert, some people saw that the musician was in low spirits. “What is the matter, maestro?” they asked him. “Do you miss home? Your family, perhaps?” They advised him to capture that moment of sadness in his music. Thus, he conceived the theme of one of his most memorable works, Lágrima (literally meaning teardrop).”  This is one version of its origins, other sources question this, as its actual date of composition is unknown.  I kind of like the idea of him writing this as a spontaneous response in that moment. This 16 bar miniature romantic prelude for solo guitar is absolutely stunning.

Lágrima…Teardrop! Perfect…as I listened the first time, it was just as I imagined it, perfectly captured in the book by Albom. But I don’t feel the sadness…I feel the heart and the passion…it gets into my soul…easy to get lost in its depth and simplicity.

And the book that inspired this search…”Magic Strings of Frankie Presto”…a must read! The book is narrated by the music itself! Fascinating twist! Follows Frankie Presto, a war orphan born in a burning church, raised by a blind guitar teacher in Spain and gifted with the talent to change peoples lives.  “part love story, part magical mystery…an epic tale about one man’s journey to discover what truly matters and the power of talent to change our lives.”  (Amazon)

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