AnecdotEs ON Concierto de Aranjuez

The first anecdote related to this work took place a few hours before the world premiere:

November 1940. On the eve of the premiere, Joaquín Rodrigo and the guitarist Regino Sáinz de la Maza were travelling to Barcelona on the night train, together in a sleeping car. In the middle of the night Regino woke the Maestro with these words: “I am obsessed by an idea that is keeping me awake. What if tomorrow at the concert you can’t hear the guitar?” As a result of that question, neither of the two slept that night.

Fortunately his fears were unjustified, the guitar was clearly heard and the audience applauded enthusiastically at the end of the work.

March 3-15, 1986. Rodrigo Festival held in London:

Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Purcell Room at London’s Festival Hall were the scene of seven concerts which were completely sold out, and included on the program 13 symphonic works and 29 chamber and voice works. Great soloists were the performers: Angel and Pepe Romero, Joaquín Achúcarro, Agustín León, Ara, Patricia Rozario, Julián Lloyd Weber, Iejuan Jones, among others, accompanied by the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, conducted by Raymond Calcraft. London vibrated with the music of the Spanish composer and there was advertising everywhere. The subway was plastered with posters showing the photo of the composer.

One morning Cecilia Rodrigo was walking down the stairs of the metro stop in Picadilly and heard in the distance the melody of Concierto de Aranjuez which came rumbling into a great roar. Suddenly she encountered a young violinist who was playing the Adagio of the Concierto, accompanied by a powerful synthesizer, which sounded like a large symphonic orchestra. Travellers hurried by, dropping a few coins in a box, and Cecilia stood quite still before the violinist who continued to play, becoming somewhat nervous seeing that Cecilia was staring at him. When he finished, this was their conversation:

Cecilia: Hello, what are you playing?
Violinist: Well, it is my own composition.
Cecilia: Really? It seems so familiar to me...
Violinist: Well, it is based on Rodrigo...
Cecilia: Ah...Joaquín Rodrigo is my father and you are playing the Adagio of the famous Concierto de Aranjuez. Here you have 2 pounds, time you will pay royalties to the composer...

The young violinist, with a shocked expression, quickly gathered his coins, his violin and the rest of his things and ran off in a hurry...

April 5, 1994. The Maestro was 93 years old.
Teatro Monumental, Madrid. Special concert. Orchestra City of Málaga, conductor Olav Calleya. On the program: Concierto de Aranjuez, with soloist Ángel Romero.
Given his advanced age, the composer decided at the last minute to attend the concert. At the box office there were only a few remaining seats high up under the roof of the theater and they purchased three tickets, one for him, one for his daughter Cecilia and one for Cecilia, his granddaughter. They arrived at the scheduled time and people rapidly began to recognize the Maestro as he entered, since he was very popular and venerated.
Slowly they climbed the stairs to the last row on the third floor and sat in their seats. The news of where he was seated spread quickly and a few minutes before the concert began a loud voice shouted “Maestro Rodrigo is up under the roof!” A huge uproar followed. A few minutes later the manager of the Orchestra appeared to welcome the composer and propose that he come down to the ground floor seating area. To everyone’s amazement, the Maestro didn’t want to move, arguing that after climbing so many stairs, he wasn’t going to budge until the end of the concert. When Concierto de Aranjuez was finished, a spectacular ovation was heard from all parts of the Teatro Monumental, but the warmest applause came from those sitting near him under the roof, proud and honoured to have shared that section with the composer.
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