GRACIANO TARRAGÓ: Two guitars made by this renowned musician and composer in Solera Flamenca

We have recently acquired two guitars made by the Catalan musician and composer Graciano Tarragó, one of the most important and influential figures of the history of Spanish guitar in the 20th century.

A guitar made by master luthier Enrique Garcia in 1916 (CLICK HERE TO SEE) and another one by Mr Antonio de Torres of 1969 with a very particular story behind it, as it is a replica made by the guitar maker Francisco Simplicio, as we explain in detail in this report (CLICK HERE TO SEE). Two magnificent guitars belonging to one of the most renowned and influential figures of Spanish music in the 20th century.

These two historical guitars have been directly acquired from the Tarragó family, who welcomed us so kindly. We would like to express our endless gratitude to them, after their exquisite treatment to us, and for trusting us with these important instruments to be valued and sold. Along this production, we will show you some original pictures of the artist, borrowed from his family for the making of this report.

Graciano Tarragó junto a su hija Renata Tarragó

Graciano Tarragó was born in 1892 in Salamanca, and died in 1973 in Barcelona. Aged 5, his family, whose background was from Lleida, settled in Barcelona. At the still early age of 9, he joined the Liceo Conservatory to study violin and guitar. In 1908 he moved to Madrid Royal Conservatory, where he would get the diplomas for both violin and viola, with maestro Bartolomé Pérez Casas as Harmony teacher (Casas was a composer and orchestra conductor, and a student of Felip Pedrell). He also had Antonio Fernández Bordas as his violin teacher (composer and disciple of Pablo Sarasate). Having returned to Barcelona in 1912, he expanded his studies on harmony and composition with Vicente M. Gibert (organist and composer, student of Felip Pedrell and Lluís Millet). He also perfected his knowledge of guitar with the maestro Miguel Llobet (student of Francisco Tárrega, and remarkable interpreter and composer).

Along his whole career, he actively took part in the musical life of his country, not only as a guitarist, but also as a violin and viola interpreter. He was appointed First viola of Barcelona Symphonic Orchestra, founded by Joan Lamote de Grignon, of Pau Casals orchestra and of the Liceo Great Theatre, among others. He also took part in remarkable chamber ensembles, collaborating with musicians such as Eduard Toldrà, Pau Casals, Santos Sagrera, Josep Trotta and Manuel Guerin, among others. He was a member and founder of the “Cuarteto Ibérico”.

In 1933 he joined the CSM of the Liceo as a guitar teacher, and in 1956 he was given the task of elaborating the first official syllabus of the Guitar subject at a national level. In 1936 he was awarded the First Prize of the International Guitar Composition Contest, held in Bologna (Italy) with the song «Canción de cuna». He collaborated, since his very beginnings, with “Ars Musicae”, pioneers in instrumental training in Spain regarding education in ancient music, played with ancient historical instruments. It was founded by the musicologist and priest Higini Inglés.

Between 1950 and 1965 he toured around Spain and Europe several times, often performing with Victoria del Angels, who he had discovered in the Guitar classroom of the Liceo Conservatory. In 1971 he created the “Tarragó Quartet” (four guitars), which would become, between 1975 and 1985, the Spanish chamber ensemble with the most concert activity all over the world.

Graciano Tarragó´s figure had special relevance in the pedagogic field, as well as in composition for guitar, counting on a wide range of works which make him deserve a prominent position in the history of Spanish music in the 20th century.

The music for guitar by Graciano Tarragó makes him one of the most remarkable members of the Catalan school, started by Francisco Tárrega. The two important following generations of guitarists also belonged to this school.