Friday, April 22, 2016

A vision for guitar

Guitar is not an everyday member of classical music family. It's soft, so it may get lost with the orchestral sounds. Here is a bang-on reason:
Guitars are often solo instruments, but before the days of amplification, they wouldn't project over full sections of strings or winds. [source]
Yet, we will see that it sounds magnificent with the orchestra. Today, we listen to a guitar concerto, and probably the most popular one.

Wikipedia tells us straight
Rodrigo's music is among the most popular music of the 20th century. In particular, his Concierto de Aranjuez is considered one of the pinnacles of Spanish music and of the guitar concerto repertoire.
A scene from the Aranjuez Gardens that
inspired Joaquin [source]
This is Joaquin Rodrigo, a man who couldn't see with his eyes, but was a visionary with the guitar in hand.

He was inspired, for this composition, by the Aranjuez Gardens at the Royal Palace of Aranjuez.
The blind Joaquin wanted the concerto to capture "the fragrance of magnolias, the singing of birds, and the gushing of fountains". [source]
Firstly, I am glad to tell you that his composition in focus uses the bassoon. As you know from the story on bassoon, we need to include bassoons in compositions to save the fading instrument.

Concierto de Aranjuez is a guitar concerto - a composition for classical guitar and orchestra. Click on the video to play it; the first minute draws you into the wonderful relation between the instruments. And how royal and regal! That's how I see it. Love and gardens and royalty and some dance. The guitar and the oboe in harmony. Playing the same tune, together, as compatriots.

The trumpet fits magnificently in the regalia of royalty.

Wait for the 7:25 mark, and let the strings and the English horn introduce you to a discussion - brilliantly captured in the video - between the guitar and the various instruments until at 11:05 the orchestra makes it's impact felt and joins in the march, the storytelling, the recounting of events.

Have you heard people say that the guitar 'creates a mood'. This is one of the finest examples to know what they mean. The dialogue between the guitar and the woodwinds will regale you and help you remember the mood forever.
"Joaquin Rodrigo did not play the guitar, yet established it as a classical concert instrument. He could not see from his eyes, but created probably the most popular guitar concerto."
Joaquin Rodrigo image source: Schott Sync

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