Kyuhee Park in San Francisco, March 2019. Photo: Matthew Washburn
Astonishingly enough, we have never chosen a version of the much-played (cynics might say “over-played”) Francisco Tárrega classic Recuerdos de la Alhambra (1896) as a Video Pick of the Pick. Frankly, when I came across this version by Korean guitarist Kyuhee Park I thought, “Really? Another Recuerdos?” But I feel as though I’ve been hearing Park’s name a lot here and there, and she even headlined a very well-received concert in San Francisco this past spring (which I unfortunately could not attend), so I decided to give the video clip a spin. And it’s quite wonderful!
Perhaps it helps, too, that the guitar Park plays in the video was once owned by Tárrega himself; it was built in 1906 by Spanish luthier Enrique García (1868–1922). García originally apprenticed and worked in the workshop of the José Ramírez I before striking out successfully on his own, and he later trained another legendary luthier, Francisco Simplicio. According to a description under the clip on YouTube, the instrument became “the official guitar of ‘Les Amis de la Guitare’—a circle of Parisian guitarists. There, it has been played by many famous musicians, such as Ida Presti and even Django Reinhardt, who is supposed to be responsible for some of the heavy wear on the guitar.” Quite a lineage! —Blair Jackson