ANTONIO RUIZ-PIPÓ (1934 - 1997)
Antonio Ruiz-Pipó (1934–1997) was a versatile musician, shaped by his varied cultural experiences. He was born in Granada, and his Andalusian background never left him, but it was transformed by the Catalan training he received in Barcelona and further broadened by the fact that he went on to live and work in Paris and was, in many respects, an essentially Parisian artist.
A pianist, composer, teacher and writer on music, he devoted much of his time to researching the history of Spanish music and, as well as educating others on the subject, he also drew on historical sources for his own compositions. That fascination with the past is clear in works such as Homenaje a Cabezón, or Tablas, the first of his three guitar concertos.
Although he was a professional pianist with a wide-ranging repertoire, when it came to composing his primary focus was the guitar, for two overlapping reasons—firstly he thought of it as one of the sources of Spanish music, and secondly, he was very familiar with the instrument, having played it in his youth. As well as Tablas, he composed two other guitar concertos: Tres en raya and the Guitar Concerto No. 3, in memory of Narciso Yepes. He also wrote numerous pieces for solo guitar, some of which, such as Canción y danza No. 1, achieved worldwide fame.
Elements of Spain’s early music and folk traditions can be heard in Ruiz-Pipó’s compositions, and his idiom was also unmistakably influenced by the admiration he felt for composers such as Albéniz and Falla. Certain aspects of French music too, logically enough, given his life circumstances, were a source of inspiration. It should not be thought, however, that his music was simply a melting pot of influences. He took different musical ideas and made them his own, not imitating others, but creating his own characteristic idiom. Ruiz-Pipó was a highly individual artist—rigorous, expressive and capable of developing extremely complex harmonic and formal processes while giving them an appearance of utmost simplicity. He’s a composer worth discovering.