‘…as they say, the sea is one of my obsessions; one year without visiting the sea, is like a year wasted. You have to think that I was born in the very shores of the Mediterranean…’
Published in Brújula, Madrid, 1 March 1949.
Concierto Mediterráneo para guitarra y orquesta a la memoria de Joaquín Rodrigo is my second composition for guitar and orchestra, and is entirely dedicated to master Joaquín Rodrigo (Sagunto, 1901 – Madrid, 1999), who opened the world of symphonic music for me, with his immortal Concierto de Aranjuez.
My first encounter with him took place in Torrelodones in 1991, that is, 27 years ago, during the recording of Concierto de Aranjuez by the inimitable guitar of master Paco de Lucía, with whom I had the honour to work for ten years. In the first half of these concerts, the great Paco played master Rodrigo’s famous work, and in the second half we played some flamenco pieces. In this way, I had the privilege of listening to Concierto de Aranjuez nightly, from the backstage of the most emblematic theatres in the world, from Argentina to Japan. This made me understand the guitar’s endless possibilities, as well as the greatness and universality of master Rodrigo’s work.
Twenty years later, my debut with an orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, was to be again Concierto de Aranjuez . I was invited to its Europakonzert, which took place in the Teatro Real in Madrid, in the orchestra’s first collaboration with a flamenco artist. After this unique experience, I have had the privilege to work with many orchestras all over the world.
2019 will witness the 20th anniversary of the death of master Rodrigo. For such a special occasion, I intend to pay homage to him with two heartfelt tributes: on the one hand, a recording of a selection of his guitar pieces, entitled Rodrigo por Cañizares (release to be expected in spring 2019); on the other hand, the already-mentioned Concierto mediterráneo para guitarra y orquesta a la memoria de Joaquín Rodrigo, which will be premiered on 30 November in L´Auditori, Barcelona, with the Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya Symphonic Orchestra (which commissioned me with writing the work), conducted by master Kazushi Ono.
Juan Manuel Cañizares