|About this Recording
8.573548 - RODRIGO, J.: Songs with Guitar Accompaniment (Serranilla) (Ferrero, Socías)
Joaquín Rodrigo (1901–1999)
Joaquín Rodrigo (born Sagunto, 1901; died Madrid, 1999) was one of the finest and most popular composers to come out of Spain in the last century. Working within the tonal system, he drew on conventional forms and combined artsong and folk-inspired elements to create a link between traditional Spanish music and current trends, in the process creating his own personal and instantly recognisable style.
The human voice was always important to Rodrigo and played a key part in his production, from solo songs to the comic opera El hijo fingido. Musicologists and biographers of the composer agree that his vocal works as a whole represent his greatest aesthetic achievement—one to which, of course, his wife Victoria Kamhi made an invaluable contribution.
As well as original works for voice and guitar, this album also features a large number of transcriptions written and performed by guitarist Marco Socías of some of Rodrigo’s songs with piano accompaniment. These adaptations have been approved by Cecilia Rodrigo, the composer’s daughter, and we should like to thank her with all our hearts for lending us her enthusiastic and unconditional support throughout this project.
A guitar accompaniment for these works has proved to be very effective, the instrument suiting Rodrigo’s elaborate filigree soundworld to perfection. He himself transcribed several of his own songs for the guitar (including Coplas del pastor enamorado and the carols Pastorcito santo and Coplillas de Belén), realising how well its tone and colour complemented his vocal writing.
The works recorded here cover a wide expressive range, from pieces in traditional or folk style, such as some of the carols and Spanish songs, to the profound and intimate settings of Con Antonio Machado, via the simplicity and lyricism of Adela or Una palomita blanca. Spanning around sixty years of the composer’s creative life, they convey all that is most fascinating and moving about Rodrigo’s music.
José Ferrero and Marco Socías
Con Antonio Machado
This collection of ten songs [seven of which are included here] was composed in 1971 to texts by the wonderful poet Antonio Machado, and premiered in Seville on 4th October of that year by soprano María Orán and pianist Miguel Zanetti, as part of the third “Decena de Música” Festival in Seville, in the Charles V Hall of the Alcázar. The songs were written in response to a commission from the Comisaría General de la Música for a tribute to Joaquín Turina. They are dedicated “to Victoria” .
The songs do not form a cycle in the same way as do those of Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin or Schumann’s Dichterliebe, because on reading Machado’s “Complete works” I could not find a group of poems relating to a single person or linked by a continuous emotional thread. His poems are short and concentrated, and because the emotions they express leave many things half-said, they are ideal for setting to music. When it comes to songwriting, I continue to believe in melody, and in full and measured phrases—this collection reflects that way of composing, one from which I have never strayed. (Joaquín Rodrigo)
Canción del grumete
Una palomita blanca
Romance de Durandarte
Coplas del pastor enamorado
Aranjuez, ma pensée
Tres canciones españolas
Like Una palomita blanca, these three songs are taken from the 1951 anthology Doce canciones españolas, whose première was given in 1952 at the Ateneo de Madrid by soprano Marimí del Pozo, accompanied (on piano) by Victoria Kamhi. They stand as one of the most significant contributions to the Spanish art-song tradition, and demonstrate the composer’s in-depth knowledge of his country’s traditional music. Although the settings have their roots in the Spanish folk repertoire, the results reflect Rodrigo’s own inimitable style.
Cuatro canciones sefardíes
Victoria Kamhi was of Sephardic-Jewish descent, and it was she who chose and adapted the texts of this set of four songs. A Sephardic folk repertoire had been passed down by oral tradition, and Rodrigo undertook the difficult task of setting these texts to music.
Respóndemos is dedicated to his father-in-law Isaac Kamhi, and the eastern-influenced Castilian language of the text is echoed by Rodrigo’s music. In Una pastora yo ami, meanwhile, as musicologist Antonio Gallego has noted, Rodrigo again turned to the music of the past for inspiration, as he had done in Serranilla.
Cuatro madrigales amatorios
One of Rodrigo’s most highly praised song cycles, Cuatro madrigales amatorios dates from 1947 and was first performed on 4th February 1948 by the four sopranos to whom its four madrigals were dedicated—Blanca María Seoane, Celia Langa, María de los Angeles Morales and Carmen Pérez Durías—with Rodrigo himself at the keyboard.
The songs bear witness to the composer’s fondness for drawing inspiration from the music of the Spanish Renaissance. Here he recreates sixteenth-century melodies in masterful fashion, updating them with the utmost taste and insight. Vos me matasteis and De los álamos vengo, madre are both by Juan Vázquez. The former is a simple reworking of the Renaissance original; the latter is the high point of the collection—strikingly elegant, fresh and subtle, in other words, unmistakably “Rodrigan”.
Texts courtesy of the Fundación Victoria y Joaquín Rodrigo
In loving memory of José Ferrero (1972–2016)
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