Joaquín Rodrigo

Joaquín Rodrigo

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Joaquín Rodrigo Vidre, 1st Marquis of the Gardens of Aranjuez (November 22, 1901July 6, 1999), commonly known as Joaquín Rodrigo, was a composer of classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 and a virtuoso
Virtuoso
A virtuoso is an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability in the fine arts, at singing or playing a musical instrument. The plural form is either virtuosi or the Anglicisation, virtuosos, and the feminine form sometimes used is virtuosa...

 pianist. Despite being nearly blind from an early age, he achieved great success. Rodrigo's music counts among some of the most popular of the 20th century, particularly his Concierto de Aranjuez
Concierto de Aranjuez
The Concierto de Aranjuez is a composition for classical guitar and orchestra by the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo. Written in 1939, it is probably Rodrigo's best-known work, and its success established his reputation as one of the most significant Spanish composers of the twentieth century. ...

, considered one of the pinnacles of the Spanish music
Music of Spain
The Music of Spain has a long history and has played an important part in the development of western music. It has had a particularly strong influence upon Latin American music. The music of Spain is often associated abroad with traditions like flamenco and the classical guitar but Spanish music...

 and guitar concerto repertoire.

Life


He was born in Sagunto, Valencia, and almost completely lost his sight at the age of three after contracting diphtheria
Diphtheria
Diphtheria is an upper respiratory tract illness caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, a facultative anaerobic, Gram-positive bacterium. It is characterized by sore throat, low fever, and an adherent membrane on the tonsils, pharynx, and/or nasal cavity...

. He began to study solfège
Solfege
In music, solfège is a pedagogical solmization technique for the teaching of sight-singing in which each note of the score is sung to a special syllable, called a solfège syllable...

, piano and violin at the age of eight; harmony and composition from the age of sixteen. Although distinguished by having raised the Spanish guitar to dignity as a universal concert instrument and best known for his guitar music, he never mastered the instrument himself. He wrote his compositions in braille
Braille
The Braille system is a method that is widely used by blind people to read and write, and was the first digital form of writing.Braille was devised in 1825 by Louis Braille, a blind Frenchman. Each Braille character, or cell, is made up of six dot positions, arranged in a rectangle containing two...

, which was transcribed for publication.

Rodrigo studied music under Francisco Antich in Valencia and under Paul Dukas
Paul Dukas
Paul Abraham Dukas was a French composer, critic, scholar and teacher. A studious man, of retiring personality, he was intensely self-critical, and he abandoned and destroyed many of his compositions...

 at the École Normale de Musique in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. After briefly returning to Spain, he went to Paris again to study musicology
Musicology
Musicology is the scholarly study of music. The word is used in narrow, broad and intermediate senses. In the narrow sense, musicology is confined to the music history of Western culture...

, first under Maurice Emmanuel
Maurice Emmanuel
Maurice Emmanuel was a French composer of classical music.Brought up in Dijon, Marie François Maurice Emmanuel became a chorister at Beaune cathedral after his family moved to the city in 1869. Subsequently he went to Paris, and he entered the Paris Conservatoire, where his composition teacher...

 and then under André Pirro
André Pirro
André Pirro was a French musicologist and an organist.Born in Saint-Dizier, Pirro learned to play the organ from his father Jean Pirro. In Paris where he became and organist and a choirmaster for the Collège Stanislas de Paris. He studied with César Franck and taught music history at the Schola...

. His first published compositions date from 1940. In 1943 he received Spain's National Prize for Orchestra for Cinco piezas infantiles ("Five Children's Pieces"), based on his earlier composition of the same piece for two pianos, premiered by Ricardo Viñes
Ricardo Viñes
Ricardo Viñes was a Spanish pianist. He first publicly performed many important works by Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Erik Satie, Manuel de Falla, Déodat de Séverac and Isaac Albéniz. He was also the piano teacher of composer Francis Poulenc and pianist Léo-Pol Morin.He was born in Lleida,...

. From 1947 Rodrigo was a professor of music history
Music history
Music history, sometimes called historical musicology, is the highly diverse subfield of the broader discipline of musicology that studies the composition, performance, reception, and criticism of music over time...

, holding the Manuel de Falla
Manuel de Falla
Manuel de Falla y Matheu was a Spanish Andalusian composer of classical music. With Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados and Joaquín Turina he is one of Spain's most important musicians of the first half of the 20th century....

 Chair of Music in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, at Complutense University of Madrid
Complutense University of Madrid
The Complutense University of Madrid is a university in Madrid, and one of the oldest universities in the world. It is located on a sprawling campus that occupies the entirety of the Ciudad Universitaria district of Madrid, with annexes in the district of Somosaguas in the neighboring city of...

.

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

,
was composed in 1939 in Paris, and in later life he and his wife declared that it was written as a response to the miscarriage of their first child. It is a concerto
Concerto
A concerto is a musical work usually composed in three parts or movements, in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.The etymology is uncertain, but the word seems to have originated from the conjunction of the two Latin words...

 for guitar and orchestra. The central adagio
Tempo
In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. Tempo is a crucial element of any musical composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.-Measuring tempo:...

 movement is one of the most recognizable in 20th century classical music, featuring the interplay of guitar with English horn
Cor anglais
The cor anglais , or English horn , is a double-reed woodwind instrument in the oboe family....

. This movement was later adapted by the conductor Gil Evans
Gil Evans
Gil Evans was a jazz pianist, arranger, composer and bandleader, active in the United States...

 for Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz,...

' 1960 album Sketches of Spain
Sketches of Spain
Sketches of Spain is an album by Miles Davis, recorded between November 1959 and March 1960 at the Columbia 30th Street Studio in New York City....

. The Concerto was adapted by the composer himself for Harp and Orchestra and dedicated to Nicanor Zabaleta
Nicanor Zabaleta
Nicanor Zabaleta was a Spanish virtuoso and populariser of the harp.Zabaleta was born in San Sebastián, Spain, on January 7, 1907. In 1914 his father, an amateur musician, bought him a harp in an antique shop. He soon began taking lessons from Vincenta Tormo de Calvo and Luisa Menarguez...

.

The success of this concerto led to commissions from a number of prominent soloists, including the flautist
Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

 James Galway
James Galway
- External links : IMGArtists.com 15 September 2008. AllAboutJazz.com 5 August 2008.*...

 and the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber
Julian Lloyd Webber
Julian Lloyd Webber is a British solo cellist who has been described as the "doyen of British cellists".-Early life:Julian Lloyd Webber is the second son of the composer William Lloyd Webber and his wife Jean Johnstone . He is the younger brother of the composer Andrew Lloyd Webber...

 for whom Rodrigo composed his Concierto como un divertimento
Concierto como un divertimento
Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto como un divertimento, for cello and orchestra received its first performance at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on April 15, 1982. The performers were the British cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, who had commissioned the concerto, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra...

and Concierto serenata
Concierto serenata
The Concierto serenata for harp and orchestra was composed in 1952 by Joaquín Rodrigo. It was written for Nicanor Zabaleta, who premiered the work in Madrid on November 9, 1956; Paul Kletzki conducted the Spanish National Orchestra....

for Harp and Orchestra dedicated to Nicanor Zabaleta. In 1954 Rodrigo composed Fantasía para un gentilhombre
Fantasia para un Gentilhombre
Fantasia para un gentilhombre is a concerto for guitar and orchestra by the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo. It is Rodrigo's second most popular work after the famous Concierto de Aranjuez....

at the request of Andrés Segovia
Andrés Segovia
Andrés Torres Segovia, 1st Marquis of Salobreña , known as Andrés Segovia, was a virtuoso Spanish classical guitarist from Linares, Jaén, Andalucia, Spain...

. His Concierto Andaluz, for four guitars and orchestra, was commissioned by Celedonio Romero
Celedonio Romero
Celedonio Romero was a guitarist, composer and poet, perhaps best known as the founder of The Romeros guitar quartet....

 for himself and his three sons.
None of Rodrigo's works, however, achieved the popular and critical success of the Concierto de Aranjuez and the Fantasia para un gentilhombre. These two works are very often paired in recordings.

He was awarded Spain's highest award for composition, the Premio Nacional de Música
Premio Nacional de Música
The Premio Nacional de Música forms part of the annual National Awards in Spain....

, in 1983. On 30 December 1991, Rodrigo was raised into the Spanish nobility
Spanish nobility
Spanish nobles are persons who possess the legal status of hereditary nobility according to the laws and traditions of the Spanish monarchy. A system of titles and honours of Spain and of the former kingdoms that constitute it comprise the Spanish nobility...

 by King Juan Carlos I
Juan Carlos I of Spain
Juan Carlos I |Italy]]) is the reigning King of Spain.On 22 November 1975, two days after the death of General Francisco Franco, Juan Carlos was designated king according to the law of succession promulgated by Franco. Spain had no monarch for 38 years in 1969 when Franco named Juan Carlos as the...

 with the hereditary title of Marqués de los Jardines de Aranjuez
Marqués de los Jardines de Aranjuez
Marqués de los Jardines de Aranjuez is a hereditary title in the Spanish nobility. This marquisate was bestowed by King Juan Carlos on the composer and virtuoso pianist Joaquín Rodrigo on 30 December 1991. His music counts among some of the most popular of the 20th century...

(English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

: Marquis of the Gardens of Aranjuez). He received the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award
Prince of Asturias Awards
The Prince of Asturias Awards are a series of annual prizes awarded in Spain by the Prince of Asturias Foundation to individuals, entities or organizations from around the world who make notable achievements in the sciences, humanities, and public affairs....

—Spain's highest civilian honor—in 1996. He was named Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters
Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is an Order of France, established on 2 May 1957 by the Minister of Culture, and confirmed as part of the Ordre national du Mérite by President Charles de Gaulle in 1963...

 by the French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 government in 1998.

He married Victoria Kamhi
Victoria Kamhi
Victoria Kamhi de Rodrigo was a Turkish pianist of Sephardic Jewish heritage, and the wife of the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo....

, a Turkish
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

-born pianist whom he had met in Paris, on 19 January 1933, in Valencia. Their daughter, Cecilia, was born 27 January 1941. Rodrigo died in 1999 in Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

 at the age of 97, and was succeeded as Marqués de los Jardines de Aranjuez by his daughter. Joaquín Rodrigo and his wife Victoria are buried at the cemetery at Aranjuez
Aranjuez
Aranjuez is a town lying 48 km south of Madrid, in the southern part of the Community of Madrid. It is located at the confluence of the Tagus and Jarama rivers, 48 km from Toledo. As of 2009, it has a population of 54,055.-History:...

.

Orchestral

  • Orchestra
    • Cinco Piezas Infantiles (1928)
    • Per la flor del Lliri Blau, symphonic poem (1934; First Prize, Círculo de Bellas Artes)
    • Soleriana (first performance by the Berlin Philharmonic, on August 22, 1953 in Berlin)
    • Pavana Real (1955)

  • Symphonic Wind Ensemble
    • Adagio Para Orquesta de Instrumentos de Viento (first public performance in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1966)

Concertante

  • Cello
    • Concierto en modo galante (1949)
    • Concierto como un divertimento
      Concierto como un divertimento
      Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto como un divertimento, for cello and orchestra received its first performance at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on April 15, 1982. The performers were the British cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, who had commissioned the concerto, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra...

      (1979–1981)

  • Flute
    • Concierto pastoral
      Concierto pastoral
      The Concierto pastoral is a concerto for flute and orchestra by Joaquín Rodrigo. Rodrigo wrote the work from 1977-1978 on commission from James Galway, who had first encountered the composer's work in 1974 when he asked permission to transcribe the Fantasia para un Gentilhombre for flute...

      (1978)

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

      (1939)
    • Fantasía para un gentilhombre
      Fantasia para un Gentilhombre
      Fantasia para un gentilhombre is a concerto for guitar and orchestra by the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo. It is Rodrigo's second most popular work after the famous Concierto de Aranjuez....

      (1954)
    • Concierto madrigal for two guitars (1966)
    • Concierto Andaluz for four guitars (1967)
    • Concierto para una fiesta (1982)

  • Harp
    • Concierto serenata
      Concierto serenata
      The Concierto serenata for harp and orchestra was composed in 1952 by Joaquín Rodrigo. It was written for Nicanor Zabaleta, who premiered the work in Madrid on November 9, 1956; Paul Kletzki conducted the Spanish National Orchestra....

      (1954)
    • Sones en la giralda (1963; written as a wedding present for the harpist Marisa Robles
      Marisa Robles
      Marisa Robles is a Spanish harpist.She was born in Spain, where she studied the harp with Luisa Menarguez, and studied music at the Madrid Conservatory, graduating at the age of sixteen in 1953...

      )

  • Piano
    • Juglares (1923); first public performance: 1924, Valencia
    • Concierto heroico
      Concierto heroico
      The Concierto heroico for piano and orchestra was composed by Joaquín Rodrigo for pianist Leopoldo Querol between 1935 and 1943.Rodrigo began work on the concerto in 1935, and completed the first two movements before setting the work aside; having forgotten about it, he returned and completed it in...

      (1943)

  • Violin
    • Canconeta for violin and string orchestra (1923)
    • Concierto de estío (1944)

Instrumental

  • Guitar
    • Three Spanish Pieces - Tres Piezas Españolas (Fandango, Passacaglia, Zapateado) (1954)
    • Invocación y danza (1961) — First prize, Coupe International de Guitare, awarded by Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française
      Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française
      The Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française was the national agency charged, between 1964 and 1974, with providing public radio and television in France.-Post World War II:...

      (ORTF)
    • Elogio de la guitarra (1971)
    • Two Preludes
    • En Los Trigales
    • Sonata Giocosa
    • Toccata
    • Sonata a la Española
      Sonata a la Española
      Sonata a la Española is a work composed in 1969 by the Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo. The piece has three movements. The first of these, allegro assai, introduces a steady tread against music with a nasal-like sound. The second, adagio, has a theme centered on the lower strings of the guitar...

      (1963)

Vocal/Choral

  • Ausencias de Dulcinea (1948); First prize, Cervantes Competition
  • Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios (1948)
  • Tres viejos aires de danza (1994)
  • Villancicos y canciones de navidad (1952); Ateneo de Madrid Prize;
  • Cuatro canciones sephardies (1965);
  • El Hijo Fingido, Zarzuela;
  • Porque toco el pandero

Guitar and Voice

  • Coplas del Pastor Enamorado (1935)
  • Tres Canciones Española (1951)
  • Tres Villancicos (1952)
  • Romance de Durante (1955)
  • Folías Canarias (1958)
  • Aranjuez, ma pensée (1988)

External links


Articles


Recordings


Videos

DVD containing: Shadows and Light documentary, Concierto de Aranjuez

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