Joaquín Rodrigo, Antonio Machado, and the Art of Song

Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-99) is best known for his guitar music, especially the Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra (1940). However, this view of his legacy can be misleading, as he composed over 200 pieces in a wide variety of genres, especially vocal works. As he himself said, “I have always tried to combine my musical inspiration with some of the great poetic texts of Spanish literature.” Thus, some of his finest compositions are for voice and piano. Among these is a set of ten songs utilizing verses by the celebrated poet Antonio Machado (1875-1939). This presentation examines the creative lives of both Rodrigo and Machado and then takes a close look at Con Antonio Machado (1971), with special attention to the first number, “Preludio,” a moving demonstration of his compositional range and depth.

Presenter Bio

Walter Aaron Clark is Distinguished Professor of Musicology at UCR, where he is the founder/director of the Center for Iberian and Latin American Music and editor-in-chief of CILAM’s refereed online journal Diagonal: An Ibero-American Music Review. He was the founding editor (2005-16) of Oxford University Press’s award-winning series Currents in Latin American and Iberian Music, and he is now editor-in-chief of OUP’s 11-volume Grove Dictionary of Latin American and Iberian Music. He is the author of Oxford biographies of Isaac Albéniz (1999), Enrique Granados (2006), and (with William Krause) Federico Moreno Torroba (2013). His latest biography is Los Romeros: Royal Family of the Spanish Guitar, published by University of Illinois Press (2018). In 2019, he co-edited (with Ana Benavides) and contributed to the catalogue of the exhibition El paisaje acústico de Joaquín Rodrigo, organized by the Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the composer’s death. He recently completed the manuscript (with Javier Suárez-Pajares) of a major biography of Rodrigo for W.W. Norton and is co-editing (with Álvaro Torrente) The Cambridge History of Music in Spain. In recognition of his contributions to the promotion of Spanish culture, in 2016 King Felipe VI of Spain conferred on him the title of Comendador de la Orden de Isabel la Católica (Commander of the Order of Isabel the Catholic), a Spanish knighthood.

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