Cadenza 1 from Concerto Aranjuez – Adagio

The Concerto De Aranjuez is one of the most famous guitar Concertos ever written and the main theme from the Adagio movement is very well known. In this video, we will look at the first cadenza from the Adagio movement which features this famous melody.

This piece was written by the composer Joaquin Rodrigo in 1939. Rodrigo’s guitar music is very expressive but also very hard to play and learning this concerto is quite a challenge. As you probably know a Concerto is a music genre or style which is written for orchestra plus one soloist (generally). A cadenza is a point in the concerto that features the soloist (in this case the guitarist) to play on their own.

There are two cadenzas in this second movement entitled Adagio which simply means ‘slow’, we will have a look at the first one.

The movement is in B minor but for the cadenza, Rodrigo writes this part in E minor. It features a melody in the bass register which is punctuated by rolled chords that contain some open strings. These open strings add to the harmony and give it a lot of dissonance and mood.

The opening three notes mimic the opening of the Adagio. You play this with a downward slur (pull-off). The tempo should be subdivided into a quaver pulse of 88 bpm. The first chord E minor will be rolled gently in between the bass melody that should be well pronounced “Ben Marcato” on the score.

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