Joaquin Rodrigo (1901 - 1999) (!) was born in Valencia. He was blinded by diphtheria at the age of three.
Yet he lived to become the greatest Spanish composer since Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), and the greatest of all composers of music for the guitar.
Despite my partiality to a number of Rodrigo's other works, I cannot deny that pride of place goes to his first guitar concerto, the famous Concierto de Aranjuez, composed in 1939. And despite my partiality to its opening Allegro con spirito, I cannot deny that pride of place goes to the following Adagio - even if it did end up getting transformed into a sort of "pop hit."
For once, I'm going to go with a preexisting YouTube video, instead of making my own. Here's part 1:
And here's part 2:
The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, directed by Sir Neville Marriner, accompanies guitarist Pepe Romero.
Sadly, as the poster of these videos points out, the greatest guitarist of the age, Rodrigo's close contemporary Andres Segovia (1893-1987) (!), "did not take it very well that the dedication, the premiere, and the first popularity of this gem were directed to other hands." So he never recorded it.
But Romero's playing is so good and his insight into the piece so deep that one scarcely misses what might have been. And here I must ask - indeed, beg you, since YouTube won't let me embed this video, to follow this link, wherein Romero reveals what's really going on here.
Due to the year of composition, some have speculated that this great elegy might have had something to do with the Spanish Civil War. But, in fact, it represents Rodrigo's personal argument with God over the death of his still-born child, as Romero explains in detail, in a running commentary on his performance of the piece.
If the scenes of Rodrigo and his beloved wife, Victoria, in late old age, remembering long-ago sorrows, do not bring a tear to your eye, than nothing will.