Published on May 7, 2011
"PACO LUCIA & ORQUESTA DE CADAQ-ALLEGRO CON SPIRITO", sound recording administered by UMG from 1:36 and 17:32
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first movement starts at 0:34 second at 6:20 third at 17:31
Royal Palace of Aranjuez
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, blind since age three, was a pianist. He did not play the guitar, yet he still managed to capture the spirit of the guitar in Spain.
Composed in early 1939, in Paris, amid the tensions of the pending war, it was the first work Rodrigo had written 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 English horn, 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.
Concierto de Aranjuez Premiere Date 9 November 1940
Guitarist Regino Sainz de la Maza
Orchestra Orquesta Filarmónica de Barcelona
Conductor César Mendoza Lasalle
Venue Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona
On 11 December 1940 the concerto received its first performance in Madrid, at the Teatro Español de Madrid conducted by Jesús Arámbarri, with the same soloist, de la Maza.
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