Although the figures of Manuel de Falla and Joaquin Turina tend to overshadow other 20th century Spanish nationalist composers, an exploration of the music--particularly the songs--of Joaquin Rodrigo reveals a wealth of traditional folk idioms, quasi-impressionistic color landscapes, and poetry drawn from the Siglo de Oro to the present.
Many consider Joaquin Rodrigo a kind of art music "one hit wonder", referring to his ever-popular guitar concerto, the "Concierto de Aranjuez". His other works, however, include concertos for cello, piano, and harp; he has composed several works for solo guitar and piano, works for orchestra, chamber music for wind ensembles, a ballet, works for theatre and film, and over 80 songs. Rodrigo's compositions for the solo voice reveal his almost nostalgic nationalism- his attempts to get back to the "roots" of Spanish art song evoke images of the Spanish countryside and the nobility of the 16th century. In this, the 100th anniversary year of Rodrigo's birth, it seems appropriate to step back and examine his life and works in an attempt to give him a place in the history of Spanish song.