All about Joaquín Rodrigo and his 'Concierto de Aranjuez', on the twenty fifth anniversary of his demise | Culture | EUROtoday

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“Man, that's done!” This assured expression triggered some of the well-known compositions within the historical past of music: the Aranjuez's live performanceby Joaquín Rodrigo (Sagunto, 1901 – Madrid, 1999). On September 26, 1938, the Spanish composer was having lunch on the San Sebastián Yacht Club with the guitarist Regino Sáinz de la Maza, who urged him to compose a concerto for his instrument, telling him that he was a type of “chosen one.”

The concept appeared loopy. Few composers had dared to confront the intimate quantity of a Spanish classical guitar with the sonorous density of a symphony orchestra. And, in truth, in November 1940, when the work was already completed and each had been travelling to Barcelona for its premiere, Rodrigo was not solely assured: “What if tomorrow, during the rehearsal, the guitar was not heard?”

These and different particulars of the favored Aranjuez's live performancewhose lovely adagio It has been coated by Miles Davis and Chick Corea and has been featured in a number of movies and tv commercials, together with A Light within the Darkness: The Music and Life of Joaquín Rodrigoby Javier Suárez Pajares and Walter Aaron Clark. The first biography of a Spanish composer printed by the celebrated American publishing home WW Norton & Company. And additionally probably the most full examine of his life and musical work, which begins at the start of the twentieth century with the ocular diphtheria that left him blind on the age of three, and culminates along with his demise, nearly a centenary, on July 6, 1999, precisely twenty-five years in the past immediately.

A portrait of the composer, performer, author, professor, cultural diplomat and media movie star who doesn’t keep away from a context marked by the ups and downs of the twentieth century. The youngest son of a conservative chieftain from Sagunto who grew up within the republican and anticlerical Valencia of Blasco Ibáñez. But additionally a blind little one oriented in the direction of musical creation, within the pioneering School for the Deaf and Blind within the capital of Turia, by means of a modified and expanded model of the Braille system.

Tribute concert to Joaquín Rodrigo on his 90th birthday, accompanied in the photo by the conductor Enrique García Asensio.
Tribute live performance to Joaquín Rodrigo on his ninetieth birthday, accompanied within the photograph by the conductor Enrique García Asensio.Quim Llenas (Cover/Getty Images)

A younger musician who preferred to impress the general public with polytonal turns, however with the monetary means to maneuver to Paris in 1927 to check with Paul Dukas. There his identify was quickly linked with Albéniz and Falla, and he even discovered his life associate: the Sephardic pianist Victoria Kamhi (1902-1997). Years later, the composer confronted monetary difficulties through the Spanish Civil War, which came about between Hitler's Germany and pre-occupied Paris. He outlined the traits of his “neo-classicalism”, a musical model rooted within the modernized nationwide custom. And he secured the help of the Falangist cultural atmosphere that allowed him to settle in Franco's Spain, the place he labored at Radio Nacional, the newspaper Pueblothe Madrid Conservatory and the present Complutense University.

The central chapter of the guide is titled All About The 'Concierto de Aranjuez' (1938-1940). More than fifty pages with all the main points concerning the composition that allowed Rodrigo to cross the choose threshold of music historical past and acquire immense reputation. A piece written from the top of 1938 to mid-1939 and whose creation started with the well-known melody performed by the English horn at the start of the adagio.

Joaquín Rodrigo, flanked by conductors Aldo Ceccato (left) and Odón Alonso, at the tribute concert for his 90th birthday.
Joaquín Rodrigo, flanked by conductors Aldo Ceccato (left) and Odón Alonso, on the tribute live performance for his ninetieth birthday.Quim Llenas (Cover/Getty Images)

His spouse's memoirs have at all times linked the inspiration for that melody with the tragic miscarriage she suffered in June 1939. But the dates don’t match. Today we all know that Rodrigo wrote that piece in November 1938, shortly after listening to the track in live performance. Passion in line with Saint Matthewby Bach, and get excited with the aria Have mercy which is, exactly, in the identical key of B minor. It appears a believable origin for a melody that unfolds midway between the neoclassicism of Stravinsky and the new lyricism from his instructor Dukas.

To the composition of the adagio adopted, nearly like a burst, that of the third motion, cheerful typewhich was accomplished in March 1939. He then took on the writing of the primary, cheerful with spiritwith a way more rhythmic than melodic strategy and nearer to flamenco. But the inspiration for the work doesn’t appear to be associated to the gardens and palace of Aranjuez, which Rodrigo had visited in 1933, however quite to the gardens and palace of Luxembourg, positioned very near the standard condo he occupied on the Parisian Rue Saint-Jacques.

However, the title of this composition has decided his perennial hyperlink with the Madrid municipality on the banks of the Tagus. Not solely did he obtain the noble title of Marquis of the Gardens of Aranjuez from the King of Spain in 1991, however his mortal stays relaxation in its Municipal Cemetery. A tomb adorned by the modernist sculpture by Pablo Serrano that represents the well-known melody of the adagio subsequent to a guitar.

Love for the guitar

Rodrigo's shut identification with that instrument was earlier than and after the Aranjuez's live performance. Its catalogue nearly begins with Distant sarabande (1926) and continues with the imposing Touched (1933). Almost all of the guitarists with whom he collaborated had been nice interpreters of the Aranjuez's live performance. Sáinz de la Maza himself made his first recording, in 1948, underneath the route of Ataúlfo Argenta (Odeon). But the exception was Andrés Segovia, who by no means performed that fashionable concerto, though he would premiere his Fantasy for a gentleman (1954). Next got here Narciso Yepes, whose recording with the RTVE Orchestra in 1968 stays a reference (DG).

Rodrigo wrote for Julian Bream the Playful Sonata (1959). And the colorful and articulate model of the Concierto de Aranjuez recorded in 1982 by this British guitarist with John Elliot Gardiner (RCA), provides a super stability between soloist and orchestra. But the very best recording emerged from the attraction and fluidity of Pepe Romero underneath the route of Neville Marriner, in 1978 (Philips). The Malaga guitarist additionally premiered the Madrigal live performance (1966) along with his brother Ángel, the Andalusian live performance (1967) with the household quartet of guitarists, and was additionally answerable for the Concert for a celebration (1982), Rodrigo's second concertante work for solo guitar. But we should not overlook the beautiful flamenco freedom of Paco de Lucía in his 1991 recording with the Cadaqués Orchestra (Philips).

Joaquín Rodrigo, at his home in Madrid, in 1946.
Joaquín Rodrigo, at his dwelling in Madrid, in 1946. Victoria and Joaquin Rodrigo Foundation

The guide by Suárez Pajares and Clark permits us to delve chronologically into each certainly one of Rodrigo's compositions by means of exact explanations, tables and musical examples. Among his piano compositions, the next stands out: Prelude to the morning rooster (1926) stuffed with harsh dissonances and disordered rhythms, the lyrical and intense Farewell sound (1935) as a farewell to his instructor Dukas and the scent of Satie from his Great march of the undersecretaries (1941). Of the orchestral works, the symphonic poems stand out, each the lyrical one For the blue lily flower (1934) because the shocking In search of the past (1976) impressed by a go to to NASA. And we should not overlook his vocal works, each Serrani (1928) popularized by Conchita Supervía, the colourful extension of Falla that we hear in Absences of Dulcinea (1948) and inventiveness Music for a Salamanca codex (1953) on verses by Miguel de Unamuno.

But if there may be one fixed in his catalogue, it’s concertos for various devices because of his collaborations with nice soloists. A set that started, exactly, with the Aranjuez's live performance. Continue with the Heroic live performance (1942) for piano and the Summer Concert (1943) for violin. There can also be the Concert in gallant mode (1949) for cello that arose from his relationship with Gaspar Cassadó and the Serenade Concert (1954) for harp for Nicanor Zabaleta. And, leaving apart the works already talked about for a number of guitars with orchestra, the Pastoral Concert for flute impressed by James Gallway (1978) together with the Concert as a diversion (1981) for cello. This work was commissioned by Julian Lloyd Webber, who underlines within the guide's prologue the lack of information of Rodrigo's work past his Aranjuez's live performance: “A hidden treasure waiting to be discovered.”

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