Spanish composer and pianist Joaquín Rodrigo was born in Sagunto on 22 November 1901. At three he contracted diphtheria and completely lost his sight. He began to study music aged eight, and began to study harmony and composition at sixteen. He studied with Francisco Antich locally in Valencia and then with Paul Dukas in Paris at the École Normale de Musique. He also studied musicology in Paris with Maurice Emmanuel and André Pirro.
He wrote music in braille, and his compositions were transscribed for publication. His first compositions date from 1923. His best-known compositions are two guitar concertos - Concierto de Aranjuez (1939) and Fantasía para un gentilhombre (1954), but there are many other works written for different forces, including Concierto heroico for piano (1943), the harp concerto Concierto serenata (1952), Tres Piezas Españolas for guitar (1954) and Concierto Andaluz (1967) for four guitars and orchestra.
In 1991, Rodrigo was given the hereditary title Marqués de los Jardines de Aranjuez by King Juan Carlos I of Spain. He also received various other awards.
Joaquín Rodrigo died at his home in Madrid on 6 July 1999, aged ninety-seven.
Ensemble. Raw Vitality with Sensitive Lyricism - Mike Wheeler is impressed by Rimsky-Korsakov, Rodrigo, Lili Boulanger and Stravinsky from Sean Shibe, Delyana Lazarova and the Hallé Orchestra
Ensemble. A Sonic Silk Road - Music for guitar, for erhu and for the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, heard by Adam J Sacks
CD Spotlight. Magic and Mystery - Gerald Fenech listens to music for guitar and orchestra played by Junhong Kuang, Darrell Ang and the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice. 'An attractive assortment of guitar music from both sides of the Atlantic, marvellously executed and recorded, with some well researched notes thrown in for good measure.'
Ensemble. Special Moments - Adam J Sacks provides a Hong Kong snapshot on the classical music world
Ensemble. Special Offer - Two top guitarists for the price of one, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Slickly Professional - The latest in Cala Records' 'London Sound' series impresses Howard Smith. '... music of surpassing excellence.'
CD Spotlight. An Interesting Programme - Music for guitar and oboe / cor anglais, heard by Howard Smith. 'Zoco Duo's instrumental skills are beyond reproach ...'
CD Spotlight. Loads of Variety - Latin music from Rachel Barton Pine, recommended by Howard Smith. '... immaculate, relaxed, resonant performances ...'
CD Spotlight. Superlative Performers - A buoyant divertissement of eclectic items, heartily recommended by Howard Smith. '... a true delight ...'
CD Spotlight. Coruscating Brilliance - Spanish inspirations for two pianists, heard by Robert Anderson. '[A] joyous recital ...'
CD Spotlight. A Magnificent Celebration - Three Rodrigo guitar concertos, enjoyed by Robert Anderson. 'Alfonso Moreno is a superb protagonist, technically impeccable ...'
Ensemble. Fine Performances - Mike Wheeler listens to James Rippingale, Jonathan Trout and the Derby Concert Orchestra
Ensemble. Orchestral Firepower - Lawrence Budmen sends his final report from the 2010 Tanglewood Festival
Ensemble. The Real Thing - Spanish music from the Hallé Orchestra, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. An Ideal Balance - An evening with the Northern Sinfonia and friends delights Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. A Striking Urgency - Schnittke and Ginastera from the Choir of St Ignatius Loyola, reviewed by Howard Smith. 'Not quite what one might expect.'
DVD Spotlight. Heart of Genius - Christopher Nupen's films about Andrés Segovia, enjoyed by Howard Smith. '... a quiet, heaven-sent artistry ...'