Concierto de Aranjuez : Work information

Joaquín Rodrigo ( Music, Images,)
Performed by
Carlos Bonell (Guitar), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Jacek Kaspszyk (Conductor)

This work

Work name
Concierto de Aranjuez
Work number
1939-00-00 02:00:00

This recording

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Alan Peters
Dick Lewzey
Recording date

Track listing

  • Allegro con spirito 6:14 min
  • Adagio 11:06 min
  • Allegro gentile 5:20 min


Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez is almost wholly responsible for the composer's reputation and popularity. Written in 1939 and first performed in 1940, it wonderfully evokes a Spanish court of the eighteenth century. In maintaining a distance from the past and merely creating the illusion of antiquity, the Concierto could be classified as a neo-classical work.

The popularity of the work in the concert hall rests mainly on the sorrowful Adagio. This tender love song was apparently written by a grieving Rodrigo following the death of his unborn child. It contrasts magnificently with the Mediterranean sunshine of the first movement and the dance-like finale.

The Composers

Joaquín Rodrigo

In 1901 Joaquin Rodrigo was born in Sagunto in Spain on the day of St Cecilia, the patron saint of music.  When he was three he lost his sight as a result of a diphtheria epidemic.  He began playing music at eight, and at 16 entered the Conservatoire in Valencia to study harmony and composition.  In 1927 he moved to Paris to enroll at the Ecole Normale de Musique, and made friends with musical celebrities such as Honegger and Ravel.  The Spanish civil war prevented Rodrigo and his new wife and collaborator Victoria Kamhi from returning to Spain until 1939, but the following year his Concierto de Arunjez for guitar and orchestra premiered in Barcelona, bringing worldwide fame.

Rodrigo calls his recognisable style 'neocasticismo', a style whose classical forms and traditional tonality mix with original harmonies and old and new Spanish themes.  After his return to Spain Rodrigo composed 11 concertos, more than 60 songs, choral and instrumental works, and music for the theatre and cinema, all bearing the imprint of his optimistic, lively personality.

As well as composing, Rodrigo was active as a critic and academic, holding varied positions including Professor of music history at Madrid University, head of music broadcasting for Spanish radio, and head of the Spanish National Organization for the Blind's artistic division.  He also wrote on a wide range of musical subjects, from 16th century polyphony to Richard Strauss's symphonic poems.  He died in Madrid in 1999, internationally acclaimed and awarded.

Related composers: Honegger, Ravel, Stravinsky, Ponce, Falla