Was this piece—based on motifs from three arias from Giuseppe Verdi’s popular 1853 opera La Traviata—written by Spanish composer Julian Arcas (1832–1882) or by Arcas’ better-known contemporary Francisco Tárrega (1852–1909), who is more often credited as its author? The evidence would seem to suggest that it was Arcas who penned it around 1860; he was the first to be reviewed performing it in 1862. Tárrega apparently played a nearly identical version of the piece at many of his concerts, and made some alterations to it through the years, but apparently there is no historical record of him actually claiming its authorship. We won’t go into the byzantine publishing history of the piece, which tilted toward Tárrega because of his long association with the work, but suffice it to say that through the years it has been popularly attributed to Tárrega (as you can see in the titles of nearly every YouTube video of a guitarist performing it).

But enough with the convoluted history! Here’s Belarusian guitarist Tatyana Ryzhkova playing this quite lovely and varied piece at the Gitaarsalon in Enkhuizen, Netherlands, a few years ago.  A studio version of the piece appeared on Ryzhkova’s album called Expressions

Julian Arcas