When composing music, I often have the feeling that all that is beautiful, which indeed the spirit is, will remain in time.
In heaven we will all be sounds.
For those of us who are dedicated to creativity, it would be particularly bitter to admit that everything finishes with death.
The life of a musician is very difficult, as art in itself is difficult. But when he truly feels his vocacion, to be a musician is beautiful, or better yet, divine. He must be, above all, authentic and loyal to himself.
Music is my dream, my enchantment, my joy. I am captivated by music and would define it as the world's highest form of poetry.
The composer hears the tone color of each instrument in his head. That is his musical gift. You must hear it. It’s like love.
In 1939, standing there in my small studio on rue Saint Jacques in the heart of the Latin quarter, vaguely thinking about the concerto, I heard a voice inside me sing the entire theme of the adagio all at once, without hesitation. And immediately afterwards, without a break, the theme of the third movement. I realized quickly that the work was done. Our intuition does not deceive us in these things. If the adagio and the allegro were born of an irrestible and supernatural inspiration, I arrived to the first movement after some thought, calculation and determination. It was the last movement I composed; I finished the work where I should have started it.
(In Paris, winter and spring of 1939)
There is nothing more shadowy or more hidden in mystery than the process of musical creation.
For me the greatest virtue of an artist is not related directly to the art he practices, in this case music, but is inherent in all the arts, as it is in morality and philosophy. This virtue is faith. I believe that without faith in the art which is cultivated, and without fath in oneself, our artistic images will be false and will therefore lack character, which is what in the final analysis has a permanent value.
"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, 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.
"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 “Adios al gentilhombre”, July 7, 1999 in the Opinion section, ABC, Madrid.