Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Concierto de Aranjuez
The Concierto de Aranjuez is probably Joaquin Rodrigo's best-known work, its success establishing his reputation as one of the foremost post-war Spanish composers. Written in early 1939, it was the first work he had written for guitar and orchestra. The instrumentation is unique: rarely does the guitar face the forces of a full orchestra. However, 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 provided thematic material for another composition, Aranjuez, Mon Amour. The third movement is in mixed metre, alternating between 2/4 and 3/4.
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.
A number of musicians have since reinterpreted the work, including Miles Davis. On the album Sketches of Spain, Davis testifies: "That melody is so strong that the softer you play it, the stronger it gets, and the stronger you play it, the weaker it gets."
Preface to the Ernst Eulenburg edition of the work, EE6785
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