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Concierto de Aranjuez : Work information

Joaquín Rodrigo ( Music, Images,)
Performed by
Michael Tilson Thomas (Conductor), Andrew Kazdin (Producer), George Gershwin (Recording Artist), Leonard Bernstein (Recording Artist), Columbia Chamber Orchestra (Chamber Orchestra), Igor Stravinsky (Recording Artist), Benny Goodman (Recording Artist), Mickey Calin & The Jets (Recording Artist), Miles Davis (Recording Artist), Gunther Schuller (Conductor), The Brass Ensemble Of The Jazz & Classical Music Society (Recording Artist), The Brass Ensemble Of The Jazz & Classical Music Society (Band), Miles Davis (Flugelhorn), Elvin Jones (Percussion), Romeo Penque (Oboe), Ernie Royal (Trumpet), Frank Rehak (Trombone), Taft Jordan (Trumpet), Eddie Caine (Flute), Danny Bank (Bass Clarinet), Jack Knitzer (Bassoon), Janet Putman (Harp), Jose Mangual (Percussion), Joaquin Rodrigo (Writer), Michael Tilson Thomas (Recording Artist), George Gershwin (Piano), The Columbia Jazz Band (Band), Leonard Bernstein (Conductor), New York Philharmonic (Recording Artist), New York Philharmonic (Orchestra), Howard H. Scott (Producer), Max Goberman (Recording Artist), Larry Kert (Recording Artist), Miles Davis (Trumpet), Gunther Schuller (Recording Artist), George Avakian (Producer), Gill Evans (Conductor), Teo Macero (Producer), Earl Chapin (French Horn), Irving Townsend (Producer), Bernie Glow (Trumpet), Louis Mucci (Trumpet), Al Block (Flute), Phil Schaap (Re-Issue Producer), Jimmy Cobb (Drums), Paul Chambers (Bass), Harold Feldman (Clarinet), Harold Feldman (Oboe), Dick Hixon (Trombone), Jimmy Buffington (French Horn), John Barrows (French Horn), Jimmy Mcallister (Tuba)

This work

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

This recording

Recording date

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

Track listing

  • Rhapsody in Blue 13:43 min
  • La création du monde 15:44 min
  • Prologue 3:14 min
  • Pharaoh 4:29 min
  • Adagio 16:20 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.