Manuscript and process of composition

0175bThe manuscript of Concierto de Aranjuez, as with all Joaquín Rodrigo's original manuscripts is written in the tactile system of reading and writing known as braille, created for the blind and called braille in honor of its French inventor, Louis Braille. The system was published in 1829 and in 1837 and is also adapted to musical notation.

Starting with his manuscript in braille, the composer would dictate each work subsequently to a copyist, note by note, instrument by instrument, modification by modification, and the copyist would produce a score in musical language. Afterwards, Rodrigo proceeded to make final corrections with the assistance of his wife.

For this reason, the only handwritten manuscripts of Joaquín Rodrigo's works are those written in braille.

(Photograph: Joaquín Rodrigo writing on his braille machine, 1942)

Process of composition

Joaquín Rodrigo, ciego desde los tres años, escribe la música en su máquina braille. / Joaquín Rodrigo, blind from the age of three, writing his music on his braille machine.
El compositor dicta su manuscrito al copista, nota por nota e instrumento por instrumento. / The composer dictating to his copyist, note by note and instrument by instrument.
Tras el dictado, ayudado por su esposa, el autor repasa y corrige el manuscrito de copista. / After dictating, the composer, with the assistance of his wife, reviews and makes corrections on the copyist’s manuscript.

Prior to the premiere of Concierto de Aranjuez, Joaquín Rodrigo provided the guitarist Regino Sainz de la Maza with a handwritten copyist manuscript which the guitarist used for the premiere. This document is at present preserved in the archives of the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid.

In 2014 something unexpected occurred. At an auction in France, another manuscript by the same copyist as the previous one came up for sale, as part of the legacy of the great French guitarists Ida Presti and Alexandre Lagoya. Most probably, since the work was still unpublished, the composer supplied another handwritten copy to Ida Presti for the premiere in Paris. The manuscript was acquired by the Victoria and Joaquín Rodrigo Foundation.

No other handwritten copies are in existence.

bnemanuscrito2Cover of the manuscript preserved at the archives of the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid.    BNEmanuscritoFirst page of the third movement from the same manuscript. 0544Original manuscript: first page of the third movement, in braille.  

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