I thought I had seen all the extant video of the late, great Sabrina Vlaskalic—the extraordinary Serbian guitarist who died tragically in a bicycle accident in January of 2019, on the day before her 30th birthday—but somehow this one had eluded me. During a time in which thousands of people all over the world are dying during a pandemic, there is something that feels eerily appropriate about showcasing the departed guitarist’s version of Manuel de Falla’s famous 1920 piece Homenaje pour le tombeau de Debussy, which was the great Spanish composer’s tribute to one of his strongest influences, Claude Debussy, who had died in 1918. Indeed Falla’s work was one of ten commissioned by the French journal La Revue musicale to honor Debussy; other “names” included giants Maurice Ravel, Erik Satie, and Igor Stravinsky.
It’s a somber but deeply stirring work—popular with classical guitarists since Falla’s good friend Andrés Segovia showcased it—and not surprisingly, Sabrina’s version is thoughtful and evocative. She is still greatly missed by the classical guitar community! —Blair Jackson