Words

Words about Rodrigo

“Spanish dance, Spanish poetry, the forms of older Spanish composers all found their place in Rodrigo’s output. And, for all the popularity of the Concierto de Aranjuez, if  works like the exquisitely beautiful Música para un códice salmantino, (a setting of a poem called “Ode to Salamanca” 1953), a cantata for bass, chorus and eleven instruments, or the extraordinarily stark Himnos de los neófitos de Qumrán (1965-74), for three sopranos and chamber orchestra, to texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls were better known, the popular image of the lightweight, folky composer, on whom more “serious” connoisseurs rather look down their noses, would have to be drastically revised. Rodrigo’s art may well have been modest in its outward expression, but in addition to its delicate sweetness it also contained the epic and the profound.”
“The Thursday Review”, The Independent , London, 8 July 1999, by Martin Anderson.

...Rodrig did not lack detractors. "He knew the tendencies of the avant-garde, but he followed his own path, knowing that he was criticized and sometimes even vituperated in Spain and abroad by high-flying musicologists who maintained that music which seems easy to the ear is 'easy music'", Cecilia Rodrigo said.  

...Rodrigo’s attention to children’s music is not surprising.  A devoted family man, he woke his daughter and grandchildren seven days a week playing Bach preludes. 

...As, with his death, we contemplate his output, Rodrigo appears to merit serious consideration as one of the greatest Spanish composers of the 20th century.  The proof is in the playing and the listening.  Let us take off from those aromatic gardens of Aranjuez and fly over the distant lands of his imagination.  

...Wherever you are, Maestro, here is a toast: May you be smiling and drinking from a small cup of your own. 

Article by Pablo Zinger, The New York Times, Sunday, August 29, 1999


"Deep inside Joaquín Rodrigo, there was a man from the Golden Age, Spanish to the core. His personality and figure always reminded me of one of those plebeian noblemen that Velazquez, Ribera or Murillo liked to paint. He was shrewd, rapid, and witty in the same way as many of Cervantes ' characters. Traits of the protagonists of picaresque novels, that most hispanic of genres, seem to hover throughout certain Rodrigo passages. Isn’t there something of the bittersweet tenderness, the ancestral wisdom, the slightly soured skepticism, the sly roguishness of Lázaro, Rinconete or Estebanillo in Rodrigo’s works? Perhaps for that reason, his music is light but not commonplace, it is full of joy and at the same time full of melancholy, it is fresh but not ingenuous…Perhaps for that reason, the most immortal of his immortal music goes hand in hand with the most deeply rooted Spanish traditions: the guitar of Gaspar Sanz, the madrigal, the villancico (Spanish Christmas carol) or the poetry of Saint John of the Cross."

From the article “En busca del más allá” by Alvaro Marías, published in the Spanish newspaper ABC, Madrid, July 7, 1999

 

"Was Rodrigo the composer of just one work? Certainly not. Even if he had never composed his concerto, which was to earn him the title of nobility “Marquis of the Gardens of Aranjuez”, he would have taken his place in the history of Spanish music… His Concierto serenata for harp and orchestra, En busca del más allá, the work that was commissioned by NASA, are more than sufficient proof of great talent, although a talent which may not be to the liking of everyone. His preference for forms rooted in popular tradition, not to be confused with the commonplace, led to clashes with avant-garde circles. And, in all truth, led also to jealousy on the part of many frustrated avant-garde circles. "

Editorial: “En busca del más allá”. From the article published in the Opinion section of Diario 16, Madrid July 7, 1999.

 

"Curiously, some of the works both the composer and his critics have considered his best remain unrecorded: Ausencias de Dulcinea (“Dulcinea’s Faithful Wait”) on texts from Cervantes’s “Don Quixote“, Cántico de San Francisco de Asis (1982), on texts by St. Francis of Assissi, one of Rodrigo’s last works. As, with his death, we contemplate his output, Rodrigo appears to merit serious consideration as one of the greatest Spanish composers of the 20th century."

From the article published in The New York Times, by Pablo Zinger, August 29, 1999.

 

“The success of Concierto de Aranjuez has somehow eclipsed Rodrigo’s other works. They need to be brought out and rediscovered, and Rodrigo should not be considered the author of only one work because the future will undoubtedly reveal other treasures to us.”

Julian Bream wrote for the French musical magazine Classic FM, in september 1999

 

“Spanish dance, Spanish poetry, the forms of older Spanish composers all found their place in Rodrigo’s output. And, for all the popularity of the Concierto de Aranjuez, the best of that output is still unknown, works like the exquisitely beautiful Música para un códice salmantino, (a setting of a poem called “Ode to Salamanca” 1953), a cantata for bass, chorus and eleven instruments, or the extraordinarily stark Himnos de los neófitos de Qumran (1965-74), for three sopranos and chamber orchestra, to texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls. If such pieces were better known, the popular image of the lightweight, folky composer, on whom more “serious” connoisseurs rather look down their noses, would have to be drastically revised. Rodrigo’s art may well have been modest in its outward expression, but in addition to its delicate sweetness it also contained the epic and the profound.”

“The Thursday Review”, The Independent , London, 8 July 1999, by Martin Anderson.

 

"Rodrigo had the wisdom to adhere strictly to the dictates of his talent. “My cup may be small, but I drink from my own cup” he would respond to criticism from supposedly more advanced professors, with the ironic smile of the lucid blind man. And it was that urge for authenticity and that determination, happily protected from the passing currents that at one time or another dazzled the century, which have maintained his music alive, familiar and beloved. Perhaps the time has now arrived for his music to be valued and performed. Purism, which on occasion has been scornful of this rich and imaginative body of work that reaches far beyond Concierto de Aranjuez, collides head-on with the unanimous devotion of music lovers the world over, who accord that piece and other works by the Maestro a welcome that is the envy of theorists upholding serialism, dodecaphonism and other avant-garde movements which the public doesn’t like and won’t listen to in concert halls. One of Rodrigo’s major contributions is to have popularized classical music, which reached the level of sublime art in the strumming of Yepes and Segovia."

From the article "Adiós al gentilhombre", July 7, 1999 in the Opinion section, ABC, Madrid.

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