JOAQUÍN RODRIGO 1901–1999 · 20 th ANNIVERSARY IN 2019
“By creating, we inﬂuence immortality.”
I 20th ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (1901-1999) “For those of us whose work is creation, it would be particularly bitter, especially sad, to admit that everything ends with death. By creating, we influence immortality.”
The year 2019 marks the twentieth anniver-
sary of Joaquín Rodrigo’s death, on July 6, 1999. Also in 2019, we celebrate the establishment twenty years ago of the Victoria and Joaquín Rodrigo Foundation, created to preserve the legacy of the illustrious composer and his wife. So this is a landmark date, underlining the enormous task of protecting and promoting every aspect pertaining to Rodrigo.
JOAQUÍN RODRIGO, COMPOSER
“ was born to the world of composition in the era of impressionism. I have always strived to write music that is clear, very Latin, and above all sincere. I do not seek public acclaim, but I do like to please”.
EMISSARY OF SPANISH CULTURE
In his youth, JoaquĂn Rodrigo was well acquain-
ted with the most relevant artistic currents that were developed during the nineteen thirties in Paris, the city where he studied and was honored often with the recognition of the most significant figures of French culture and politics. Paris was the epicenter of culture at the time and the maximum exponents of 20th century art gathered there. Rodrigo, following in the footsteps of many Spanish artists, decided to move to the European capital to complete his training. Thus, he drank from the aesthetic currents of European vanguard. However, this circumstance did not tempt him to flow with those currents. His choice, on the contrary, led him to delve into the study of Spanish musical heritage, reinventing it and giving it new forms, developing his
4 creative talent through a renovation of tradition, applying it to new harmonies. He resolved, as so many other artists among his contemporaries, the eternal conflict between tradition and modernism, placing his confidence in his national cultural identity, without abandoning his own personality, and reaffirming the character of Spanish culture through music. Raymond Calcraft, the University of Exeter Hispanist, orchestra conductor and authority on JoaquĂn Rodrigo, affirms that â€œThe music of JoaquĂn Rodrigo represents a tribute to the different cultures of Spain, from the history of Roman Spain to the texts of contemporary poets, leading him to create a notable chapter in 20th century Spanish culture. His rich and varied musical production includes eleven concertos for different instruments, choral music, instrumental music and music for the theater and the cinema. His more than sixty songs constitute a singular contribution
5 enriching the repertoire of Spanish song, bringing it a new universal language with works considered masterpieces. In studying Rodrigo’s music, we must not forget his very solid academic background. He chose as title for his first conference at the Sorbonne University of Paris, “The music of the Spanish vihuela players”, and his writings range from articles on Richard Strauss, or on jazz to the art of orchestra conducting. His love of literature was as great as his knowledge of music, and he set music to texts of the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, medieval poetry, Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and even writers of his own time such as Unamuno, Machado and Juan Ramón Jimenez.”
JOAQUÍN RODRIGO AND SPAIN, CULTURAL MELTING POT
While many of Joaquín Rodrigo’s works reflect his ongoing dialogue with Spanish literature and musical forms from other periods of our history, it is important to underline the composer’s interest in preserving tradition, the most important traits of identity of our country.
Added to this is the recovery of anonymous texts from popular folklore on which he bases many of his compositions, as well as his enthusiasm for the rich Sephardic culture which is present in all traditional Spanish poetry and upheld by his wife, Victoria Kamhi. Recalling the words that the great violinist Yehudi Menuhin dedicated to Joaquín Rodrigo when the University Menéndez Pelayo of
8 Santander awarded him the Medal of Honor in July 1998: â€œWhen I reflect on the coherent life of the great Spanish composer, JoaquĂn Rodrigo, which spans practically an entire dynamic and difficult century, I am impressed by the similarity with the life of Bartok who lived and worked at the same time. Both figures were not influenced by trends and maintained their own identity, finding inspiration and guide in their own national musical legacy (melody, rhythm, counterpoint, harmony). Both created a personal style, bringing a universal voice to their respective cultures. Brilliant and cultivated men, both lived and breathed the sentiments and customs of their people, and came to know them better perhaps than any historian or psychologist, because our great composers (as our great poets) understand the essence of humans.
9 It is wonderful to think that the Spanish will long be reminded of their character, their qualities of thought, of feelings and being, through the music of JoaquĂn Rodrigo.â€?
II 20th ANNIVERSARY OF THE VICTORIA AND JOAQUÍN RODRIGO FOUNDATION
12 CREATION OF THE VICTORIA AND JOAQUÍN RODRIGO FOUNDATION
Following the composer’s death in 1999, the
Victoria and Joaquín Rodrigo Foundation was set up with the initial goal of preserving his archive and to provide documentary support for the Centennial celebration of Joaquín Rodrigo’s birth, a series of events coordinated in 2001 by a governmental commission under the Ministry of Culture.
Building on the impulse of the Centennial celebration in 2001, the Foundation has consolidated its activities in response to its fundamental objective: to spread and promote the figure and works of Joaquín Rodrigo, in their full extension, to all audiences and to raise consciousness of the need to recognize his importance in the overall pano-
13 rama of Spanish culture, where he is considered one of the most important Spanish musicians of the 20th century. His recognition at the international level is undeniable and his works are constantly performed throughout the world. HOW DOES THE FOUNDATION WORK TO PRESERVE, CONTROL AND PROMOTE THE WORKS OF JOAQUĂ?N RODRIGO?
Fully conscious that in the era of globalization,
new technologies make it possible to reach far beyond geographical borders, the Victoria and JoaquĂn Foundation from its very beginning has dedicated important resources to preserve and digitize documents as well as providing permanent support to researchers and the sharing of investigation. At present, the Foundation structures its activi-
14 ties through a series of programs that reach out to different areas in society and the world of culture: CONCERTS AND LECTURE RECITALS
While it is highly significant, as stated by the jury on the citation awarding Rodrigo the Prince of Asturias Prize for the Arts in 1996, “his definitive contribution to the dignification and internationalization of the guitar as a concert instrument...” there is much more. His repertoire is made up of over two hundred works, all of them recognized in the international world of music and performed by the greatest musicians of our time. Among the diverse concerts promoted by the Victoria and Joaquín Rodrigo Foundation, an outstanding one was “Feliz Navidad con Joaquín Rodrigo”, which took place at the Museum of Decorative Arts of Madrid in December, 2011,
15 as well as the concert held in Madrid’s Sorolla Museum in April, 2013, within the framework of the exposition entitled “Sorolla, jardines de luz”. The lecture recital has become a constant activity as a means of spreading general information. It is carried out by members of the Foundation and includes performances by well-known artists who provide musical illustrations in small concerts, spotlighting short works or focusing on the complex process of composition utilized by the blind musician. An outstanding lecture recital was held at Madrid’s emblematic Residencia de Estudiantes in October, 2015, and others have taken place at different international festivals and universities in Spain and abroad.
16 ORGANIZING EXPOSITIONS PRESENTATIONS AT EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
In answer to requests from schools, universities, conservatories, and others, the Foundations carries out numerous activities for children focusing on the composer as an example of someone who overcame an important handicap, blindness, and at the same time possessed an innate talent which enabled him to achieve universal recognition thanks to his own efforts and tenacity. At these educational centers, the value of artistic creation is stressed, in order to instill respect for protection of intellectual property. In the multiple sessions that the Foundation has offered over the years, many of the children atten-
17 ding have been inspired after discovering the story of his life and listening to his music which is so descriptive. This inspiration has led to drawings, comics, poems, articles, musical and theatrical performances which have undoubtedly contributed to underline the figure of the composer from a different, yet certainly enriching, point of view. Among the educational activities carried out by the Foundation, the following are highlighted: • Workshops for children and young people in which the composer’s life is narrated and some of his works are explained. • Conferences for young people explaining the need to respect the value of creation and responsible use of contents offered online, drawing a parallel between the work of creation and business entrepreneurship.
18 MAINTAINING AND UPDATING THE HOUSE /MUSEUM ARCHIVE
The headquarters of the Victoria and Joaquín Rodrigo Foundation is the composer’s house in Madrid which was the residence and workplace for the couple, and the place where they both died. It is today a space that is alive and open to the public, where cultural and musical activities take place in memory of Victoria and Joaquín. It houses an extensive archive based largely on the efforts and foresight of Victoria Kamhi, pianist and wife of the composer, who collected and preserved all sorts of documents from their long life together. These varied documents include scores, manuscripts, correspondence, and the writings of both Victoria Kamhi and Joaquín Rodrigo, together with programs, photographs, recordings, audiovisuals, and the Rodrigos’ personal library. By
19 updating and continually reviewing the archive, it has become a live documentary resource that is fundamental to understand the composer’s interaction with figures of his time, as well as to study the musical, literary, social and cultural period in which the composer and his wife lived. The archive is open and is regularly consulted by researchers, students, musicians or those who carry out projects related to Joaquín Rodrigo and his works. ORGANIZING AND COLLABORATING IN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS SINCE 2002
Starting in 2002, and following one of its principal goals of providing support to young people, the Victoria and Joaquín Foundation encourages the presence of Joaquín Rodrigo’s works in international competitions.
Highlighted events: The Joaquín Rodrigo International Competition held by the Victoria and Joaquín Rodrigo Foundation successively in the years between 2002 and 2008 for voice and guitar and for violin and piano, as well as other competitions of international fame such as the International Classical Music Festival “VRNJCI” of Serbia, the Pittaluga International Competition in Italy, the International Guitar Competition of Costa Rica, or the Herbert Kappel International Guitar Competition of Koblenz, Germany. The Foundation maintains a permanent presence awarding important prizes in many other competitions and contests held in Spain.
The Foundation, making use of its vast documentary resources, sponsors and promotes diverse publications centered on the figure of Maestro Rodrigo and his works. Some of the most outstanding studies of the composer that have been published are: • Joaquín Rodrigo: su obra para piano. Antonio Iglesias. 1965. • El mundo del compositor Joaquín Rodrigo. Felipe Ferré. 1998. • A singer’s guide to the songs of Joaquín Rodrigo. Suzanne Rhodes Draayer. 1999. • Concierto de una vida. Eduardo Moyano. 1999. • Joaquín Rodrigo. Imágenes de una vida plena . Iconografía. Javier Suárez-Pajares. 2000. • El maestro Joaquín Rodrigo: un siglo de cultura. Pedro J. de la Peña. 2001.
• El arte de Joaquín Rodrigo. Antonio Gallego. 2003. • Joaquín Rodrigo y la música de los años cuarenta. Javier Suárez-Pajares, Universidad de Valladolid. 2005. • Joaquín Rodrigo. A Life in Music: Travelling to Aranjuez. 1901 - 1939. Graham Wade. 2006. • Joaquín Rodrigo y la música española de los años cincuenta. Javier Suárez-Pajares,Universidad de valladolid. 2009. • Joaquín Rodrigo (biografía). Carlos Laredo Verdejo. 2011. • Joaquín Rodrigo. Voice & Vision. Raymond Calcraft and Elizabeth Matthews. 2016.
At present, the Foundation is involved in the process of deciphering Joaquín Rodrigo’s braille manuscripts and transcribing them to conventional music notation. PRODUCTIONS AND PERFORMANCES
The Foundation provides support for important artistic productions, either as organizer, sponsor or by collaborating with stage events (ballet, cinema, documentaries, theater performances, musicals, zarzuela, concerts, etc) that are carried out with relation to maestro Joaquín Rodrigo and his works. NEW TECHNOLOGY, COMMUNICATION, SOCIAL MEDIA
In this new era of communication which is particularly challenging in the area of cultural content, the Foundation makes use of all available tools, and specifically the powerful potential of social
24 media, with the aim of bringing attention to numerous cultural messages and generating experiences that may be shared throughout the world. The image of the Victoria and JoaquĂn Rodrigo Foundation together with that of the composer and his works are projected through a global system of communication using, on one hand, the new channels offering the advantages of the technological revolution, promoting the correct use of contents by the community of web surfers, and on the other hand, the traditional communication media.
THE IMPORTANT ROLE OF THE VICTORIA AND JOAQUĂ?N RODRIGO FOUNDATION IN MAINTAINING HIS LEGACY
Musicians, writers, philosophers, artists of the
plastic arts, etc. There were many creators who remained in our country during the years in which free development of ideas and creation were limited due to the political and economic situation of a country ravaged by the effects and consequences of a civil war. We owe to them the bridges that they built from within our borders to protect the driving force of our tradition, and they deserve, as well as those who did the same from abroad, our full institutional support for promoting better knowledge of the values and continuity of Spanish culture throughout the 20th century.
26 The Victoria and JoaquĂn Rodrigo Foundation works towards this fair recognition, underlining the value of 20th century Spanish music and its great figures, through the promotion of JoaquĂn Rodrigo and his works, together with the rich archive spanning a century of culture.
III GOALS OF THE 20th ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION
SPANISH HISTORICAL LEGACY Full recognition of Spain’s historical legacy will be celebrated in 2019 by the Ministry of Culture with the events in commemoration of one of the most important milestones in our country’s history: the first trip around the world five hundred years ago. In the spirit of the tributes that will be paid on this occasion to the important feats of Spanish heritage, we wish to underline some of Joaquín Rodrigo’s compositions that convey his homage to this historic legacy. For this reason, we should remember that this period coincided with the musical splendor of the Reign of Valencia. The vihuela, forerunner of the Spanish guitar, reached significant popularity during the
29 16th century, thanks to the figure of Luys de Milán, the most important vihuela player of that century and considered to be a great innovator. Joaquín Rodrigo, who received and transmitted our Renaissance, dedicated a fervent homage to Luys de Milán, starting with his Zarabanda lejana for guitar, and culminating in the ballet Pavana Real, whose protagonist is Luys de Milán himself, who was a musician in the court of Germana de Foix, thus linking that period with the musical panorama of the 20th century, in which maestro Rodrigo is recognized as innovator in the language of the guitar.
FRAMEWORK FOR EVENTS MARKING THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF JOAQUÍN RODRIGO
The Victoria and Joaquín Rodrigo Foundation is conscious of the need to meet the challenges of today’s world to keep alive the tangible and intangible legacy we hold. We accord special attention to the media, who echo the cultural demands of all sectors of society, either directly or indirectly. Thus, our main goal is to uphold and project the figure of Maestro Rodrigo far beyond his most popular work, Concierto de Aranjuez, to achieve fuller awareness of the rest of his works. Towards this goal, institutional support is indispensable to allow us to reach the framework for activities whose dimensions are beyond the resources of our Foundation.
THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF SPAIN ON THE 20th ANNIVERSARY OF JOAQUÍN RODRIGO’S DEATH
Spain’s National Library has taken the lead once again in recognizing the figure of Joaquín Rodrigo, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of his death, programming a large scale exposition in May, 2019. Heading the commission for this exposition is the Director of the Center for Iberian and Latin American Music and Professor of the University of California at Riverside, Walter Clark, together with pianist and Doctor in Humanities, Ana Benavides. The exposition recognizes the importance of Victoria Kamhi, well known as the wife of Joaquín Rodrigo, but unknown in her facet as pianist, collaborator and author of many of the lyrics for his songs. An in-depth exploration of her personality and importance underlines not only her constant presence in the life of Maestro Rodrigo but her
32 personal and intellectual stature on the Spanish cultural horizon of the 20th century. Another event focusing on the composer, in an emblematic venue, the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid, under the title â€œA JoaquĂn Rodrigoâ€?, took place on March 13, 2018. To carry out all of these activities and performances, the Foundation places its archive at the disposal of institutions and organizations, supplying graphic documentation, library resources, objects, catalogues, informative brochures, and its vast collection of recorded material.
Among the numerous honors and distinctions that Joaquín Rodrigo, Marqués de los Jardines de Aranjuez, received in his lifetime, the following are highlighted: 1953 Gran Cruz de Alfonso X el Sabio 1966 Gran Cruz del Mérito Civil Medalla de Oro del Mérito en el Trabajo 1980 Medalla de Oro al Mérito de las Bellas Artes 1982 Premio Nacional de Música 1988 Director de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid 1996 Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Artes 1998 French Government awards him the Commen-
dateur de l’Ordre des Officiers des Arts et des Lettres
TESTIMONIALS Manuel de Falla. Composer. “I thank the Lord for having in you a friend whose heart is of the same rare and fine quality as his art.” Sir Neville Marriner. Orchestra conductor. “On reading Joaquín Rodrigo’s reflections on his own works, I feel somewhat more reassured in some of the decisions I have taken when interpreting what the composer wanted to transmit. Performing his music has led me to understand Rodrigo, the composer. And now I perceive Rodrigo, the man.” Plácido Domingo. Tenor. “The Spanish composer most recognized today throughout the world. Concierto de Aranjuez remains the best known of his works, but there are other extraordinary ones for different instruments,
whether it be the guitar, or certainly the harp or for voice. All that he wrote is extraordinary. Let me express the great affection and love that we felt and continue to feel for the Maestro and the great admiration that he awakens around the world.” Xavier Montsalvage. Composer. “Joaquín Rodrigo figures among those composers who have obtained a success that is so overwhelming it has overshadowed and has undermined the dissemination of the rest of his production. As we are all aware, this is the very famous Concierto de Aranjuez, whose premiere I had the luck to attend, and which undoubtedly deserves its boom, but which holds values that are not exclusive to this emblematic score.” Montserrat Caballé. Soprano. “Eternal legacy. The music of Rodrigo is creative, innovative, profound, as much in its Spanish
facet as in its medieval aspect. Personally I am very grateful. He was a genius who left a unique heritage.” Narciso Yepes. Guitarist. “Joaquín Rodrigo is one of the pillars of the Spanish music of the 20th century. He is an admired and respected composer on the five continents, which as a Spaniard, fills me with pride.” Victoria de los Ángeles. Soprano. “Joaquín Rodrigo is a monument of the music of Spain. He deserves so many things. The prizes and the medals in themselves are nothing, and yet they are many things. I have all the affection and admiration for him in the world. I consider him a monument of Spanish music, a unique man who left his mark on a whole period. I also admire him greatly as a person. He has lived his life in an extraordinary manner. He overcame his small handicap and was gifted in music. His works are
very personal. They are recognized immediately on hearing them. He is outstanding for his personal and unmistakable style.â€? CristĂłbal Halffter. Composer and orchestra conductor. â€œWith his example, he showed us in postwar Madrid, characterized by a total provincialism of the lowest form, that it was possible to imagine and make music that would fly high, and that we too one day could be composers and try to create music that was superior without having to emigrate or take a vow of poverty. What is most important is the profound respect and admiration which the process he used to compose his works produced in me. Only he who knows the difficulty in reflecting music graphically on a score, and the difficulty in imagining a sound or group of sounds that are developed in time and transferring them to a visible score can comprehend the enormous complexity of this task
when it is undertaken by a person who cannot see how it sounds, or what came previously or what will happen later in a work. To carry out this job without being able to materialize it in a graphic manner is a gigantic task which only someone gifted with exceptional talent such as Joaquín Rodrigo is capable of performing. It is not only creation that is difficult, but making it possible for a performer to interpret that creation and bring it to life before an audience. Well, I began to write about a friend, a colleague, one who is loved and admired and I realize I am writing about a man who has entered history.” Walter Clark. Musicologist and Director of the Center for Iberian and Latin American Music at the University of California at Riverside. “What is the reason for this book? Why now? The majority of the biographies found on Rodrigo
were written for the general public and as a consequence do not offer a profound study of his music. For this reason, one of the main goals of this biography is, for the first time in history, to focus great attention on the originality, variety and the depth of the music of Rodrigo.” Yehudi Menuhin. Violinist. “It is wonderful to think that the Spanish will long be reminded of their character, their qualities of thought, of feelings and being, through the music of Joaquín Rodrigo.”