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Something Wonderful: Concierto de Aranjuez

Pepe Romero playing at the GuitArt festival 2011 in Belgrade, Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo and Recuerdos de la Alhambra by Francisco Tarrega, Camerata Serbica, conductor Marcello Rota.

With the coming week likely to be even louder and more vulgar until the post-prandial stupor of Thanksgiving, it is worth reflecting that the good, the true, and the beautiful endures even if, as John Cage said, “We no longer have time for the good, the beautiful, or whether of not something is true. We have only time for conversation.”

“The Concierto de Aranjuez was inspired by the gardens at Palacio Real de Aranjuez, the spring resort palace and gardens built by Philip II in the last half of the 16th century and rebuilt in the middle of the 18th century by Ferdinand VI. The work attempts to transport the listener to another place and time through the evocation of the sounds of nature.

“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 double 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….

“Rodrigo and his wife Victoria stayed silent for many years about the inspiration for the second movement, and thus the popular belief grew that it was inspired by the bombing of Guernica in 1937. In her autobiography, Victoria eventually declared that it was both an evocation of the happy days of their honeymoon and a response to Rodrigo’s devastation at the miscarriage of their first pregnancy. It was composed in 1939 in Paris.

“Rodrigo dedicated the Concierto de Aranjuez to Regino Sainz de la Maza.

“Rodrigo, nearly blind since age three, was a pianist. He did not play the guitar, yet he still managed to capture and project the role of the guitar in Spanish music…..

“The second movement, the best-known of the three, is marked by its slow pace and quiet melody, introduced by the cor anglais, with a soft accompaniment by the guitar and strings. A feeling of quiet regret permeates the piece. Ornamentation is added gradually to the melody in the beginning. An off-tonic trill in the guitar creates the first seeds of tension in the piece; they grow and take hold, but relax back to the melody periodically. Eventually, a climactic build-up starts. This breaks back into the main melody, molto appassionato, voiced by the strings with accompaniment from the woodwinds. The piece finally resolves to a calm arpeggio from the guitar, though it is the strings in the background rather than the guitar’s final note that resolve the piece. [ — La Wik]

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  • Terry November 19, 2017, 6:11 PM

    That is fantastic! Thank you Gerard.

  • Patvann November 19, 2017, 6:54 PM

    The Romero family are the greatest gift(s) to guitar that ever happened.

    Thank you. This is why I own The big Klipsch’s and Adcoms to drive them.

  • Dex Quire November 20, 2017, 7:52 AM

    This is wonderful. I also recommend — check out Paco de Lucia playing this great guitar symphony, as well.

  • Ten November 20, 2017, 3:21 PM

    Except maybe Segovia, Patvann.

    And Altec and Western Electric.

  • Ten November 20, 2017, 3:23 PM

    With the coming week likely to be even louder and more vulgar until the post-prandial stupor of Thanksgiving, it is worth reflecting that the good, the true, and the beautiful endures even if, as John Cage said, “We no longer have time for the good, the beautiful, or whether of not something is true. We have only time for conversation.”

    That’s a good paragraph, host.

  • ghostsniper November 20, 2017, 6:54 PM

    Whoa, K-Horns.
    My Pioneer SX-1250 and (4) HPM-100’s are not worthy!