Joaquin Rodrigo was born in 1901, and was blinded by diphtheria at three years old, which he later said turned him to an early life of music. Rodrigo studied music in Valencia and Paris. He was a brilliant pianist, but unlike many believe, he wasn't a master at the guitar.
The Concierto de Aranjuez premiered in Barcelona in 1940, with Regino Sainz de la Maza playing the guitar. The concerto was a instant success, leading many musicologists to attribute Rodrigo for making classical guitar music popular. The concerto consists of three movements:
- Allegro con spirito - a fandango-like dance movement showcasing the intricacies and delicacies of balancing a guitar and an orchestra [li]Adagio - a slow movement with haunting Spanish folk tunes and beautiful harmonies
- and the Allegro gentile - a gentile movement light on its "toes"
Most of us have probably heard passages of the second movement on multiple occasions throughout our life, as it is frequently used in television and movies. After listening to the concerto in its entirety, it's easy to see (and to hear) why the work was so well received at its premier - it's simply beautiful.