Manuel Barrueco – A Gift and a Life (2005)

Documentary portrait of the guitarist
Directed by: Michael Lawrence
Studio: Michael Lawrence Films
Video: 16:9 color but with large letterboxing all around
Audio: PCM Stereo
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Japanese, Italian
Length: 59 minutes
Rating: ****

This fine musical portrait mixes candid interviews with the Cuban guitarist and such friends and fellow performers as Placido Domingo, David Russell, the Assad Brothers, Eliot Fisk and Al Di Meola with guitar performances by Barrueco of works by SCARLATTI, BACH, ALBENIZ, GRANADOS, VILLA-LOBOS, LECUONA, RODRIGO, SIERRA, ASSAD, COREA, DI MEOLA and LENNON/McCARTNEY.

The guitarist talks about his first public performance at the age of 11 and his Carnegie Hall debut. His family  moved to Florida from Cuba, leaving behind a sister.  He speaks at length about his thoughts on having to leave and we see videos a friend took of walking from the conservatory to his house, which has been recently spruced up by the government when they learned it was the former home of a world-famous guitarist. Most of the interviewees consider Barrueco the world’s greatest classical guitarist today.  The DVD should encourage a renewed appreciation of the guitarist and his many recordings.  Image quality and sonics are excellent thruout.

 – John Sunier