Granada: the serenade for the city of guitar craft

Guitar workshop
Guitar workshop

The first piano solo of Isaac Albéniz, Suite Española, is probably the first testimony of the artistic renaissance of the Iberic regional music heritage. The eight pieces of this early composition, greatly influenced by many folk sources, are dedicated to cities and regions, as well as to popular dances or other evocative folk traditions.

The very name of Granada conjures up the sound of guitars but it is also the home of the guitar makers. To this day, renowned artisans in about fifty small workshops are dedicated to the design and construction of guitars, a timeless craft which has been a part of Granada’s culture for centuries.

The works of Isaac Albéniz have been extensively transcribed and performed by many guitarists, and Granada—the first movement from his Suite Española—is a favorite amongst them. In his score it is noted as Serenata, and thus it is predominated by a song-like character, as opposed to the dance rhythms of the majority of the other pieces. The descriptive simplicity evokes the Spanish landscape which was mostly inspired by his visit to Andalusia.

Here is the transcription of the Granada by Albéniz' countryman Andreas Segovia:

Another exciting interpretation of this work by Julian Bream:

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