I think it was 1968, in the Santa Monica Public Library, that I first heard Renata Tarragó play. I was all of 14, sitting at a table with earphones on, listening intently. It was something I did often in those days. I’d hitchhike to the library from Venice on an early evening and pore over their treasure chest of classical guitar recordings. I’d select two or three and bring them to the desk and ask the librarian to put one on the turntable. Then I’d take a seat at the table along with a few other listeners, put on the headphones and put my head down and listen. Sometimes I’d ask the librarian to repeat the playing, sometimes I’d move on to the next recording. After a few hours the library would close and I’d hitch back home with a head full of music.
This is where I discovered Narciso Yepes, Alirio Diaz, Pepe Romero, Julian Bream, and the player who was to be my idol all through my youth, Christopher Parkening.
But back to Renata Tarragó. I remember listening several times to her playing the Aranjuez. I would imagine myself playing it someday (which, alas, never happened and never will). I remember thinking how much I would like to see her play. All these years I never saw her play.
Well, thanks to the wonder of YouTube, here she is. Plus you get to see Michael Caine pulling off a heist. How good is that.