Craig Einhorn, Classical Guitarist
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Recuerdos de la Alhambra
Recuerdos de la Alhambra It was a small coffee shop and I had been performing there off and on for about 3 years.  The pay was really low, $35 for two hours.  I usually avoid such low paying gigs but for some reason I kept playing there.

There is nothing really special about the place and the coffee crowd is unappreciative at best. I play Classical Guitar music from noon to 2:00 PM. Usually I time my last few pieces so I can get up and go precisely at the end of my gig. But this day I had a different idea. I had been struggling with the need to love guitar playing.

Playing professionally can really take a toll on your soul and I have to keep on reminding myself that I love what I do. I don't have to remind myself that this is what I am meant to do or that it is the focus of my whole life but loving it is entirely different. So I decided I would play another piece after 2:00 PM and I had never played past quitting time before.

I wanted to play a piece I love to play and really enjoy what I was doing, knowing that my obligation of playing till 2:00 PM was fulfilled. The piece I chose was "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" by Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909).

Among Classical Guitarists it is a well known part of the Repertoire. It is frequently overlooked for two reasons. First, it is so ingrained into the memory of the accomplished Classical Guitarist that it seems like a song that receives too much air play on the radio. Second, it is a difficult piece to play well because it is a Tremolo piece.

There is a little rhyme among Classical Guitarists which sheds light on the difficulty of playing a tremolo, "I feel so low, I'm playing a tremolo". The reason we feel so low while playing a tremolo is because we play it so poorly, and many guitarists will go their entire careers without performing a tremolo piece in public.

In my late twenties I decided it was high time I buckled down and developed a presentable tremolo. The first thing I discovered is that in order to play it I had to shed any feelings of inadequacy. My new mantra was, "I feel like a king, my tremolo rings".

Now in my mid 30's I have a very good tremolo and the work to develop it was worth the effort. Tremolo pieces are incredibly heart warming and "Recuerdos de la Alhambra" is arguably the most beautiful piece ever written for the guitar.

So at 2:00 PM I lowered my head for a moment of concentration before I began the piece.

Just before I started, a woman walked in front of me, put a dollar in my tip jar, and asked inquisitively, "Can you play Recuerdos de la Alhambra"?

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