Video Pick of the Week: Julian Bream Plays ‘Serenata Española’

I was reading some old ‘CG’ interviews with Julian Bream recently (he’s always full of interesting ideas and observations), and that sent me to YouTube to try to dig up a musical nugget for all of you to enjoy. There are plenty of videos of Bream out there, of course, but this time I was particularly captivated by a series of clips of Bream playing Spanish repertoire, in Spain, presumably excerpted from his early 1980s British TV series Guitarra! A Musical Journey Through Spain.

Here, he offers an exquisite version of Serenata Española by Catalan pianist/composer Joaquín Malats (1872–1912), originally transcribed for guitar by Francisco Tárrega. The video includes images of Tárrega, legendary guitar-maker Antonio de Torres, and more, plus some commentary from Bream (in subtitles, so it doesn’t intrude on the music). It’s certainly easy to hear why Bream is widely considered one of the greatest guitarists ever! —Blair Jackson


Joaquín Malats