Joaquin Rodrigo: Fantasía para un gentilhombre (Fantasy for a Gentleman)

Joaquín Rodrigo (born Sagunto, Valencia, 22 November 1901; died Madrid, 6 July 1999) was a Spanish composer of classical music and a virtuoso pianist. Although he was blind from an early age, he became one of the most important Spanish composers of the 20th century. He wrote a lot of music for guitar, which helped classical guitar music worldwide to become more popular. His most famous work is a guitar concerto called Concierto de Aranjuez.

Early life
Rodrigo became blind at the age of three after becoming ill with diphtheria. When he was eight he began to learn piano and violin. He also learned the guitar, but never became very good at it, although he was to compose some wonderful music for the instrument.

After studying music in Valencia he went to Paris where he studied with Paul Dukas in Paris. After a short time back in Spain he returned to Paris to study musicology, first under Maurice Emmanuel and then under André Pirro. In 1925 he received Spain’s National Prize for Orchestra for his pieces Cinco piezas infantiles (Five Children’s Pieces). In 1947 Rodrigo became a professor of music history in Madrid, a job that was made especially for him.

His famous concertos

Rodrigo’s most famous work, de Aranjuez, was composed in 1939 in Paris. It is a concerto for solo classical guitar and orchestra. There are three movements. The middle movement is a slow movement with a tune which is played on the cor anglais. It has become one of classical music’s best-loved tunes.

After the success of this piece several other musicians asked him to write concertos for them, e.g the flautist James Galway, the cellist Julian Lloyd Webber and the guitarist Andrés Segovia, for whom he composed Fantasía para un gentilhombre in 1954. Another of his works is called Concierto Andaluz, for four guitars and orchestra.


In 1991, Rodrigo was raised to the nobility by King Juan Carlos; he was given the title Marqués de los Jardines de Aranjuez (Marquis of the Gardens of Aranjuez). He was given the Prince of Asturias Award in 1996, the highest honour a Spanish civilian can get. He was made Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 1998.

 Personal life

He married Victoria Kamhi, a Turkish-born pianist, in 1933. They had a daughter called Cecilia. Rodrigo died in 1999 in Madrid at the age of 97. Joaquín Rodrigo and his wife Victoria are buried at the cemetery at Aranjuez.

4 responses to “Joaquin Rodrigo: Fantasía para un gentilhombre (Fantasy for a Gentleman)

  1. Thanks Frizztext: This one is for you!, I tried to upload the second video, but somehow it did not stick. What a marvelous concert. OK, I did it (I still have to learn a lot). I uploaded the wrong file.


  2. wandering from your link on youtube I stopped by


    • Thanks Frizztext, I like her very much, and all of Bach’s music. His fugues always take me back in time to the hours spent as a child in St. Joseph Cathedral in Bucharest.


    • Very bright interpretation: We live such great times, being able to share music and thought and feelings, like this in real time (almost) over the imensity of space, as if we were sitting in the same room in front of the fireplace (totally out of this world; the youth have a expression for this: ‘far out’, I think). Thanks Frizztext.


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