Joaquín Rodrigo: Concierto De Aranjuez
The Concierto de Aranjuez was inspired by and written for the gardens at Palacio Real de Aranjuez, the spring resort (or palace) and gardens originally built by Philip II in the last half of the 16th century, and later rebuilt in the middle of the 18th century by Ferdinand VI. The work attempts to transport the listener to the sounds of nature in both another place and time.
Aranjuez Palacio Real cadena
Image from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Royal Palace in Aranjuez geolocation in google maps
Pictures of Tourist Attractions and places of special interest to visit in Aranjuez:
Saint Anthony Square
(C) 2008 photoaranjuez.com
This concerto was composed in 1938, a time of considerable upheaval in Spain. It was premiered in Barcelona in 1940, but was not recorded until 1947 or 1948 (the exact date is not clear). It is this premiere recording originally issued by Columbia on three 78s in Spain in the late 1940s that has been re-mastered for the present CD. Regino Sainz de la Maza plays the guitar with the Orchestra Nacional de España, conducted by Ataulfo Argenta.
The Concierto de Aranjuez is a composition for classical guitar and orchestra by the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo. It is probably Rodrigo’s best-known work, its success establishing his reputation as one of the foremost post-war Spanish composers.
According to the composer, the first movement is “animated by a rhythmic spirit and vigour without either of the two themes… interrupting its relentless pace”, the second movement “represents a dialogue between guitar and solo instruments (cor anglais, bassoon, oboe, horn etc.)”, and the last movement “recalls a courtly dance in which the combination of duple and triple time maintains a taut tempo right to the closing bar”. He described the concerto itself as capturing “the fragrance of magnolias, the singing of birds and the gushing of fountains” in the gardens of Aranjuez.
Some say that the second movement was inspired by the bombing of Guernica which happened in 1937. In her autobiography, the composer’s wife Victoria maintains that it was an evocation of the happy days of their honeymoon, and a response to Rodrigo’s devastation at the miscarriage of their first baby.
Rodrigo, having been blind since age three, was a pianist and did not play the guitar, yet he still captured the spirit of diversity of the guitar in Spain.
(Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
This concerto is in three movements, Allegro con spirito, Adagio and Allegro gentile.
(Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
In barbwired.com, in November 11, 2003, Barbara Heninger wrote of Joaquin Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuéz:
The opening movement, Allegro con spirito, is based on traditional dances such as the fandango. It is built on a series of alternations: the traditional alternation between the solo instrument and the orchestra, a thematic alternation between the strummed chords of the guitar and the melody introduced by the violins, and a rhythmic alternation between the written time signature of 6/8 and frequent passages in 3/4. The opening demonstrates Rodrigo’s ability to balance the quieter guitar against a full orchestra. The guitar enters with a strummed passage, joined by agile counterpoint from the woodwinds that never overpowers the soloist, then the strings enter with quickly bowed chords sounding for all the world like a giant guitar. The solo guitar uses techniques from flamenco, as well as contrasting punteado (picked ornamentation in flying scale passages) with rasgueados (strumming). The movement climaxes with a brisk fandango segment complete with lively brass, then the guitar quiets the piece to a gentle close.
In addition to the solo guitar, the score calls for two flutes (second doubling piccolo), two oboes (second doubling English horn), two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets and strings. Gentleness becomes longing in the Adagio. The guitar strums quietly while the English horn plays a plaintive melody inspired by the saeta, an Andalusian lament sung during Holy Week. This lament was sung by a few women as a religious statue was carried through the streets, and their cry would be picked up by the crowd. In this case, the guitar and English horn pass the theme back and forth, and eventually the entire orchestra takes it up, mimicking the keening of the crowds. The lamenting theme has a heartfelt quality inspired, according to a friend of Rodrigo’s, not only by the saeta but in response to the death of the composer’s infant son. Although an extended cadenza by the guitar leads the orchestra to a passionate climax, the movement ends quietly and reflectively.
The final movement, Allegro gentile, is a clever combination of Baroque-sounding counterpoint and dancing, folk-like melodies. As in the first movement, this one juxtaposes two time signatures, in this instance 2/4 and 3/4. Various solo instruments and groups pass the final theme back and forth, and after a final grand presentation, the movement and work end delicately, in keeping with Rodrigo’s suggestion that the concerto “should only be as strong as a butterfly … a suggestion of times past.”