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Paco Peña

Guests from all walks of life discuss their musical loves and hates. Michael Berkeley is joined by flamenco master Paco Pena. With music by Bach, Beethoven and de Falla.

Paco Peña first started playing the guitar at the age of six; it was his older brother's guitar, and since there were nine children in the family, all living in two rooms in a crowded house in Córdoba, he had a ready-made audience right from the beginning. He made his first professional appearance at the age of twelve, and toured through Spain before moving to London in the 1960s, where he found himself sharing concerts with Jimi Hendrix. Over the last fifty years he's established a world-wide reputation as a pre-eminent master of flamenco guitar. He's a composer too, of both a Requiem and a Mass in flamenco style.

In Private Passions, Paco Peña takes us back to the Spain of his childhood; this was only a few years after the end of the Spanish Civil War, and he describes the country he was born into as "fragile and tortured". He talks too about making a living as a musician on the Costa Brava, where he met his wife, and about what it was like to arrive in London in the 1960s, a time when flamenco guitar was relatively unknown.

Music choices include Mozart, Beethoven, de Falla, the Argentinian composer Eduardo Falú - and Bach, the composer Peña always listens to before going on stage to perform. He includes too the track he regards as flamenco at its quintessential best, by singer Camarón de la Isla and guitarist Paco de Lucía. And he gives away a few trade secrets about how to master passionate flamenco strumming - it involves painting your fingernails with glue.

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3
Produced by Elizabeth Burke.

Available now

34 minutes

Last on

Sun 15 Jul 2018 12:00

Music Played

  • Camarón de la Isla

    Se me partio la barrena

    Performer: Camarón de la Isla.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Sonata in C sharp minor, Op.27 no.2 (Moonlight) (1st mvt)

    Performer: Alfred Brendel.
  • Eduardo Falú

    Tonada del viejo amor

    Performer: Paco Peña. Singer: Eduardo Falú.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Chaconne in D minor (Partita, BWV.1004)

    Performer: Jascha Heifetz.
  • Manuel de Falla

    La Vida Breve (Act 2, finale)

    Orchestra: National Orchestra of Spain. Conductor: Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Singer: Victoria de los Ángeles.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Requiem aeternam (Requiem in D minor, K.626)

    Orchestra: Dunedin Consort & Players. Conductor: John Butt. Singer: Joanne Lunn.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach

    Fugue (Prelude, Fugue and Allegro, BWV.998)

    Performer: John Williams.

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