15 December 2020

Concierto de Aranjuez (Joaquin Rodrigo)

"Joaquín Rodrigo Vidre, 1st Marquis of the Gardens of Aranjuez... commonly known as Joaquín Rodrigo, was a Spanish composer and a virtuoso pianist.

Rodrigo was born in Sagunto, Valencia, and completely lost his sight at the age of three after contracting diphtheria. He began to study solfège, piano and violin at the age of eight; harmony and composition from the age of 16. Although distinguished by having raised the Spanish guitar to dignity as a universal concert instrument and best known for his guitar music, he never mastered the instrument himself.  He wrote his compositions in Braille, which was transcribed for publication.

His most famous work, Concierto de Aranjuez, was composed in 1939 in Paris for the guitarist Regino Sainz de la Maza. In later life he and his wife declared that it was written as a response to the miscarriage of their first child. It is a concerto for guitar and orchestra. The central adagio movement is one of the most recognizable in 20th-century classical music, featuring the interplay of guitar with cor anglais. This movement was later adapted by the jazz arranger Gil Evans for Miles Davis' 1960 album "Sketches of Spain". 
I first encountered this music in the 1960s on the Miles Davis album.
[Miles] Davis plays flugelhorn and later trumpet, attempting to connect the various settings musically. Davis commented at rehearsal, "The thing I have to do now is make things connect, make them mean something in what I play around it." Davis thought the concerto's adagio melody was "so strong" that "the softer you play it, the stronger it gets, and the stronger you play it, the weaker it gets", and [Gil] Evans concurred.
I'm pleased now to blog the entire concierto.  Posted for my cousin Karl in Barcelona.

Reposted from 2017 because I had the opportunity to see the Miles Davis biopic on American Experience this past week and wanted to hear this music again.

Also on YouTube: a classical guitar performance by Pablo Sáinz Villegas.


  1. Hands down ~ my all time favorite piece of music.Thanks for posting!!

  2. You can lose your sight from diphtheria? How does that work?

    1. I had to ask Dr. Google -



  3. this, played on solo acoustic guitar, was an influence on robert fripp.


  4. I hope cousin Karl enjoyed it as much as I did! Yet again you enriched my day. Thank you.

  5. Still of the same opinion! Thanks much for sharing this again ~
    Now off to listen to Miles...

  6. The intro to Chick Corea's magnificent "Spain" also works through the melody of Aranjuez's Adagio. I once scoured through a college dorm in search of whoever was playing it (loudly) in their dorm door, so I could discover the name of the song (pre-Shazam days). Story and music video here:


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