JoaquÍn and Cecilia rodrigo
Taken from http://www.joaquin-rodrigo.com
PERCEPTIONS OF CECILIA RODRIGO (0ct. 2007)
My trip began with a one day/night stay in Madrid, where I arranged to visit the last home of Joaquín Rodrigo. This large European flat has been preserved to look as it did in his final days, while the family bought the adjoining flat, turning it into an archive museum and office space. Cecilia Rodrigo, the only child of the esteemed composer and wife Victoria Kamhi Rodrigo, runs two operations from this space. The Fundacion Victoria y Joaquín Rodrigo is a philanthropic entity which offers outreach in numerous ways – all to keep the memory of the Rodrigos alive and well in the world of music. The second is a business. Editorial Joaquín Rodrigo is a publishing house that sells Rodrigo’s music. I met Cecilia in 2001 and we have remained in contact. She was happy to hear that I would be visiting and arranged for me to come to the home. After my sleepless flight, finding the hotel, a quick shower and taxi ride, I found myself in front of the apartment. There was a doorman and soon enough, I was ringing the doorbell of the Rodrigo household. Can you imagine my excitement?
A woman by the name of Katherine answered the door. Cecilia was in a meeting, would I mind waiting in the office? I sat and conversed with Katherine, an American who had married a Spaniard in the 60s and lived in Madrid ever since. She and Cecilia have been best friends for many years, and she now assists Cecilia in all matters of Rodrigo business. She told me of their upcoming events and gave me some pamphlets. Soon enough, Cecilia burst into the room. It was as if she had not aged at all. Full of boundless energy, she spoke both in English and Spanish and ushered me right away into her parents’ house. If I have ever been in a place before, I had been there. All of the photos I have in my books on Rodrigo were there in that space. Statues, photos, paintings, awards – even the sofa on which I sat I had seen in pictures. Katherine, Cecilia, Cecilia’s daughter (also named Cecilia!) and I all sat and ate tapas, talking about Rodrigo and what it was like to be a mother. After our flan and coffee, I meandered, absorbed…playing his piano (a Bechstein Baby Grand), sitting behind his Braille machine, reading the awards hanging on the walls, examining the art…From there, we went to the archive side of the flat. It was amazing.
Joaquín Rodrigo has written approximately 250 works for many classical genres. It is an outstanding feat, considering the challenges which faced him. In these archives, each piece has been filed in folders containing at least three portions: 1) the original manuscript on Braille paper 2) the original transcription to written notation and 3) the first publication printing. All letters written to Rodrigo (and he has many from the top composers, artists, governmental figures and others from all around the world) have been archived, as well as any program the Fundación has received in which a performance of Rodrigo has been offered. And yes, my work is there also.
Cecilia brought out a newly released DVD from an interview taken in the 1970s. Her father was sitting behind a piano, being interviewed in a show somewhat similar to our “Sixty Minutes.” It was emotional for Cecilia, who teared-up a few times. I can see that she misses her parents very much. Her mother died in 1997 and her father, in 1999. I started my work on Rodrigo in 2000 and always said that I wish I could have had the chance to meet him. This day was probably as close as I could ever get to that. I stayed with Cecilia, speaking about her father, his music, Spain and Madrid, as well as my own future endeavors for five hours that day. I asked her that should I be able to get the funding to bring her to El Paso to speak about her father, would she come? She didn’t hesitate for a second and replied, “Pero, claro que sí, Dena,” (But of course, yes, Dena).
APRECIACION DE CECILIA RODRIGO (Oct. 2007)
Mi viaje se inició con la estancia de un día/noche en Madrid, en el cual visité la última casa que habitó Joaquín Rodrigo. Un piso grande de estilo europeo que ha sido preservado tal y como se dejó por la familia cuando compró el piso adjunto, convirtiendolo en un museo y espacio de oficina. Cecilia Rodrigo es la única hija del muy querido compsitor y Victoria Kamhi Rodrigo. Cecilia Rodrigo dirige dos empresas desde este local. La Fundación Victoria y Joaquin Rodrigo la cual es una entidad filantrópica que ofrece servicios de diferentes maneras- todo en pro de preservar la memoria del maestro Rodrigo a travez del mundo. La segunda empresa es Editorial Joaquín Rodrigo es una editorial que promueve y pone a la venta la música del maestro Rodrigo. Conocí a Cecilia en el año 2001 y nos hemos mantenido en contacto desde entonces. Al saber que yo iría a visitarle hizo los tramites para que yo visitase la casa. Después de un vuelo sin poder dormir, después de encontrar el hotel, y después de tomar una rapida ducha y de haber tomado el taxi, me encontré frente a su apartamento. Me encontré con el portero, y luego me ví tocando el timbre del piso. No pueden imaginar mi emoción!
Una mujer con el nombre de Katherine me abrió la puerta. Cecilia estaba en una junta y me preguntó si no me importaba esperar en la oficina. Tomé asiento y Katherine y yo conversamos. Katherine es una Estadounidense quien contrajo matrimonio con un español en los años sesenta y quien vive en Madrid desde entonces. Ella y Cecilia han sido grandes amigas por muchos anos, y hoy en día Katherine colabora con Cecilia en todos los asuntos relacionados con el maestro Rodrigo. Ella me informó de los eventos planeados y me dió algunos folletos.
Al poco rato, Cecilia entró en la oficina. Pareciera como si los años no hubiesen pasado por ella. Llena de energia ilimitada, me habló en Inglés y Español y me acompanó inmediatamente a la casa de sus padres. Si alguna vez he estado en sueños en algun lugar, este era ese lugar. Todas las fotografias que tengo en mis libros del maestro Rodrigo estaban ahí. Estatuas, fotografias, pinturas, premios de reconocimiento- hasta el sillón en el que me senté lo habia visto en las ilustraciones de mis libros. Katherine, Cecilia y su hija (también llamada Cecilia!) y yo nos sentamos ha disfrutar de unas tapas, hablamos del maestro Rodrigo, y de lo que significa convertirse en madre. Después del café y el flán, me torné absorbida por su piano (un Bachstein Baby Grand), que se encontraba detrás de su máquina de Braille, leí los reconocimientos que colgaban de las paredes, examiné el arte……Luego nos dirigimos al archivo del lado del piso. Fué asombroso.
Joaquín Rodrigo escribió aproximadamente 250 obras de variados generos clásicos. Es una notable hazaña, si tomamos en cuenta los desafios que tuvo que enfrentar. En este lugar, cada pieza ha sido archivada en expedientes que contienen por lo menos tres partes. 1) El manuscrito original en papel Braille, 2) La transcripción original a escritura y 3) La primera publicación impresa. Toda la correspondencia dirigida al maestro Rodrigo ( incluyendo cartas de compositores de renombre, artistas, dignatarios de gobierno y otros personalidades de todas partes del mundo) han sido conservadas, al igual de cualquier programa en el cual la Fundación ha resivido en el cual el Maestro Rodrigo ha sido presentado. Y si, mi trabajo se encuentra ahí también.
Cecilia me mostró la nuva publicación en DVD de una entrevista que fué tomada en los setenta de su padre. Ahi se le observa trás el piano siendo entrevistado en un programa de televisión similar al de “Sesenta Minutos.” Fué muy conmovedor para Cecilia, quien en varias ocaciones se le rodaron las lagrimas. Pude observar que extrana a sus padres muchisimo. Su mamá falleció en 1997 y su padre, en 1999. Yo inicié mi trabajo en las obras del Maestro Rodrigo en el año 2000 y siempre me hubiese gustado haber tenido la oportunidad de conocerle. Ese día fué tal véz lo mas cercano que pude haber estado de conocerlo. Permanecí con Cecilia charlando de su padre, su música, España y Madrid. También hablamos por un termino de cinco horas de mis planes futuros. Una de mis preguntas fué que si yo obtuviera el financiamento necesario, si ella nos honrraria con su presencia en el Paso? A lo cuál no dudó en contestar. “Pero, claro que sí, Dena...”
Joaquín Rodrigo was born in Sagunto (Valencia) on St Cecilia's day, the patron saint of music, 22 November 1901. At the age of three he lost his sight almost completely as a result of an epidemic of diphtheria. As he himself was later to affirm, this event undoubtedly led to a vocation towards music. At the age of eight he began his first musical studies, solfa, piano and violin, and from the age of sixteen harmony and composition with teachers from the Conservatoire in Valencia: Francisco Antich, Enrique Gomá and Eduardo López Chavarri. His first compositions date from 1923: Suite for piano, Dos esbozos (‘Two Sketches’) for violin and piano, and Siciliana for cello. In 1924 his first work for orchestra, Juglares, was premiered in Valencia and Madrid, and he obtained a diploma in a national competition for the orchestral work Cinco piezas infantiles, which was later premiered in Paris by the Straram Orchestra. From the outset of his career Rodrigo wrote all his works in braille, dictating them subsequently to a copyist.
In 1927, following the example of his predecessors Albéniz, Falla, Granados and Turina, Rodrigo moved to Paris to enrol at the École Normale de Musique, where he studied for five years with Paul Dukas, who had a particular affection for his Spanish pupil. Rodrigo wrote his Sonada de adiós for piano in memory of Dukas in 1935. He soon became known as both pianist and composer, and became friendly with Honegger, Milhaud, Ravel and many other musical celebrities of the time, among them Manuel de Falla, whose advice and support would be decisive in his career. In 1933 he married the Turkish pianist Victoria Kamhi, who thenceforth until her death in 1997 became his inseparable companion and the most important collaborator in all aspects of his work as a composer. He continued his studies of musicology in France at the Paris Conservatoire and at the Sorbonne and also worked in Germany, Austria and Switzerland before returning to Spain in 1939 to settle permanently in Madrid. In 1940 the world premiere took place in Barcelona of the Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra, a definitive example of his musical personality and a work which would bring him world-wide fame. From that moment on Rodrigo was engaged in numerous artistic activities, both creative and academic, the following positions being of particular significance: Professor of the History of Music at the Complutense University of Madrid, Head of Music Broadcasts for Spanish Radio, music critic for several newspapers, and Head of the Artistic Section of the Spanish National Organization for the Blind (ONCE). He was also invited to undertake tours as lecturer and pianist throughout Spain and the rest of Europe, Latin America, the United States, lsrael and Japan. Accompanied by his wife Victoria he frequently attended competitions and festivals dedicated to his music throughout the world.
The music of Joaquín Rodrigo is a homage to the rich and varied cultures of Spain. No other Spanish composer has drawn on so many different aspects of his country's spirit as sources of inspiration, from the history of Roman Spain to the work of contemporary poets. His music is refined, luminous, fundamentally optimistic, with a particular predominance of melody, and with original harmonies. His first works reveal the influence of composers of his time such as Ravel and Stravinsky, but the personal voice is quickly heard which would go on to create a notable chapter in the cultural history of Spain in the 20th century, where the originality of Rodrigo’s musical inspiration goes hand in hand with a devotion to the fundamental values of his tradition.
Joaquín Rodrigo’s numerous and varied compositions include eleven concertos for various instruments, more than sixty songs, choral and instrumental works, and music for the theatre and the cinema. A number of distinguished soloists commissioned works from him, among them Gaspar Cassadó, Andrés Segovia, Nicanor Zabaleta, James Galway, Julian Lloyd Webber and the Romero guitar quartet. His numerous writings on music reveal a profound understanding of his art and include subjects as varied as sixteenth century polyphony, the symphonic poems of Richard Strauss, and the art of the conductor.
Throughout his life Joaquín Rodrigo was frequently honoured by governments, universities, academies and other civil and musical organizations in many different countries. The following distinctions, reflecting the special position occupied by the composer in his country’s cultural history, are amongst the most significant: Gran Cruz de Alfonso X el Sabio, Gran Cruz del Mérito Civil, Medallas de Oro al Mérito en el Trabajo y en las Bellas Artes, the National Music Prize (twice), Doctor honoris causa of several universities, Director of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, and the Fundación Guerrero Prize. In 1991, to celebrate his 90th birthday, concerts of his music were given throughout the world, and Joaquín Rodrigo was raised to the nobility by H M Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, with the title ‘Marqués de los jardines de Aranjuez’. In 1996 the composer was honoured with Spain’s greatest distinction, the Prince of Asturias Prize, awarded to a composer for the first time. The citation notes that Rodrigo’s name had joined those of Falla, Granados and Albéniz among the classics of Spanish music, and drew particular attention to Rodrigo’s definitive achievement of having given dignity and universality to the Spanish guitar as a concert instrument.
Joaquín Rodrigo died at his home in Madrid on the 6 July 1999, surrounded by his family. With the principal aim of ensuring the preservation and dissemination of Joaquín Rodrigo’s music throughout the world, the composer’s only daughter, Cecilia, who is married to the distinguished violinist Agustín León Ara, founded the publishing house of Ediciones Joaquín Rodrigo in 1989 and created the Victoria and Joaquín Rodrigo Foundation in 1999.