It was 75 years ago, on November 9 in 1940 that Joaquín Rodrigo’s (1901 – 1999) Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra was premiered in the Spanish city of Barcelona.
Celebrating the anniversary of this enormously popular concerto, guitarist siblings Slava and Leonard Grigoryan have re-released their CD, Rodrigo Guitar Concertos (ABC Classics 4812231), featuring the three masterworks that the composer wrote. The album Rodrigo Guitar Concertos was recorded with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Brett Kelly and first released in 2005, garnering an ARIA Award nomination and high praise in the Australian and international press.
The re-release is combined with a bonus CD, a re-release of the brothers’ Baroque Guitar Concertos from 2008 which includes works by Vivaldi and Handel, recorded with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Northey. The double album will be available from November 6, 2015.
Commenting on the re-release, Cecilia Rodrigo, the only daughter of the composer writes “I am delighted to receive from guitarist Slava Grigoryan, much admired by me, the great news about the reappearance on the market of the ABC Classics recording that features Joaquín Rodrigo’s three guitar concertos.”
“This is a magnificent way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the premiere of the Concierto de Aranjuez…..I also appreciate the opportunity to express my thanks to the two outstanding guitar soloists, Slava and his brother Leonard, for their masterful performance of Concierto madrigal which is so significant in the world of Joaquín Rodrigo’s compositions.”
Astonishingly, Rodrigo was nearly blind from the age of three and was primarily pianist. He did not play the guitar despite his skilled writing for the instrument. The Concierto de Aranjuez was dedicated to Regino Sainz de la Maza (1896 – 1981), Spanish composer and classical guitarist.
The Fantasía para un gentilhombre was composed in 1954 for guitarist Andrés Segovia, who was the gentilhombre referred to in the title. Segovia premiered the concerto on March 5, 1958, in San Francisco.
The brilliant Concierto Madrigal for two guitars (1966) was premiered in 1970 by Pepe and Angel Romero, who recorded it several years later. The Concierto Madrigal has ten short variation-styled movements, some of them based on the anonymous Renaissance madrigal Felices ojos mios (Happy Eyes of Mine).
CD1 Rodrigo Guitar Concertos
1-3 Concierto de Aranjuez/ 4-7 Fantasía para un gentilhombre/8-17 Concierto madrigal
The performers: Slava Grigoryan guitar 1-3, 8-17/Leonard Grigoryan guitar 4-6, 8-17/Queensland Symphony Orchestra/Brett Kelly conductor
CD2 (Bonus disc) Baroque Guitar Concertos
1-3 VIVALDI arr. Malipiero Concerto in G major for two guitars, RV532/4-6 VIVALDI arr. Pujol Concerto in A major, RV82/ 7-9 VIVALDI arr. Behrend Concerto in D major, RV93/10-12 HANDEL arr. Eduard Grigoryan Concerto in B-flat major for two guitars, HWV294/13-17 WEISS arr. Behrend / Grigoryan Concerto in D minor for guitar and string orchestra/18-20 FASCH arr. Chiesa Concerto in D minor
The performers: Slava Grigoryan guitar/Leonard Grigoryan guitar 1-3, 10-12/Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/Benjamin Northey conductor