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Concierto de Aranjuez (arr Evans)

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Joaquín Rodrigo

Joaquín Rodrigo (arr. Gil Evans)


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General Info

Year: 1939
Duration:
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Guitar and orchestra
Publisher: Schott EAM
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental


Instrumentation

(Needed, please join the WRP if you can help.)


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

The Concierto de Aranjuez is a composition for classical guitar and orchestra by the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo. Written in 1939, it is far and away Rodrigo's best-known work, and its success established his reputation as one of the most significant Spanish composers of the twentieth century.

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.

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.

In 1939, the Spanish Civil War had just ended, beginning (or continuing, depending on what part of Spain you were in) the dictatorship of general Francisco Franco. A work premiered in Spain in this highly charged environment had to celebrate, or pretend to celebrate, or permit the interpretation that it was celebrating, the current political situation and regime. The celebration of a palace and gardens of a sixteenth-century Habsburg king offered no ideological threat to the regime, and was in harmony with its emerging policy of celebrating Spanish history, conservatively interpreted.

Composed in early 1939, in Paris, amid the tensions of the impending war, it was the first work Rodrigo wrote for guitar and orchestra. The instrumentation is unusual: rarely does the guitar face the forces of a full orchestra. Instead, the guitar is never overwhelmed, remaining the solo instrument throughout.

This concerto is in three movements, Allegro con spirito, Adagio and Allegro gentile. 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. The third movement is in mixed metre, alternating between 2/4 and 3/4.

- Program Note from Wikipedia


Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

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  • University of Connecticut (Storrs) Wind Ensemble (Vu Nguyen, conductor) – 3 October 2019


Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources