According to Sainz de la Maza, the ingenuity to which Francisco Tarrega brought his mastery of the guitar's six strings was in the tradition of such great musicians as Bach and Mozart. This genius unveiled the instrument's possibilities and shaped its future. Tarrega not only demanded a greater technical skill, but a sophistication unknown to guitarists before him. He established fundamental exercises and set down his thoughts on how to position the hands, how to produce correct sound, etc. -knowledge he acquired during a long study period, researching the instrument's technical elements with full spirit and devotion.
Tarrega was the Fra Angelico of the guitar. He showed the way, preaching the gospel of pure art, and made it possible for others to incorporate into the renaissance of Spanish art, the renaissance of the guitar, which today's great musicians have played with much success. With Tarrega's death, the guitar remained in the hands of a new generation of notable guitarists, who coincided with a reign of Spain's most gifted composers, Albeniz and Granados, and later, Falla, Turina, and Rodrigo.
The Catalan, Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909) was very dear to the region of Andalusia, particularly the city of Granada, and reflected in a great deal of his work the fascination over which Andalusia exercised his soul and his music. It was the great guitarist, Maguel Llobet, who was to become the ideal interpreter of Albeniz's works, Granada, Torre Bermaja, and Rum ores de la Caleta. In the words of Albeniz, "Llobet was the guitarist bordering on the marvelous because he imprinted on the strings of his guitar a stamp of elegant purity which astounds."
And so the soul of Andalusia and the technique of the guitar lived their own life and a new life in the genial inspiration of Albeniz. Though composing his music at the piano, Albeniz's melodies seemed to have been born for the guitar. Among the aroma of the flowers, the shadow of the cypresses and the snow of the Granada sierra, Albeniz found a gold mine for his musical genius. Alb6niz was nurtured on authentic visions which he converted into personal sentiments, giving birth and life to his musical pictures. The rhythms of dance, the air of the coplas, the strumming of the guitars and murmur of popular life are expressed in the singular form of his music, to feel the surrounding reality
Enrique Granados, another Catalan, found his spiritual center in Madrid, the Madrid of Goya, where he also adopted many of the guitaristic sonorities to his music such as in his delightful Tonadillas and Danzas espanolas. Albeniz has said that Granados had assimilated the melancholy of the Andalusian fields as no one else had.
Spain's most profound and genial musician, Manuel de Falla, found his strong musical roots deep in the Spanish soil. It was he who elevated popular music to a climax in an original synthesis between the popular melody and the more modern and spiritual artistic technique. Many of whose new proceedings seemed the inventions of an impressionist, Falla's music flowed through currents of Spanish tradition. The guitar, with its impressionistic harmony, took an important role in creating the gypsy rhythms and vivid colors of picturesque Spain. Thus, when Falla was to render a tribute to the memory of Debussy (a composer so fond of the guitar), it was the guitar's lament of six strings he chose to shower over his tomb.
Joaquin Turina, Torroba, Salazar, Rodrigo, Bautista, Isasi, Asensio, Gambau - all were attracted by the sonorous tone of the guitar. Its delicate voice constituted a refuge while caressing the ears of the listener. With their compositions, these composers demonstrated that the high artistic qualities of the guitar can become very beautiful and important musical expressions.