Rodrigo Reverie – “Concierto de Aranjuez” Guitar Concerto
November 4 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm MDT
Celebrate 100 years of exceptional music in Fort Collins with a guitar concerto by one of Spain’s greatest composers.
Saturday, November 4, 2023
7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Pre-Concert Lecture at 6:30
Lincoln Center Main Stage
417 W. Magnolia St.
Fort Collins, CO 80521
(or via livestream)
$25-67 adult, $10 student/child
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Our centennial season continues with Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, one of the most important guitar concertos ever written. Grammy Award-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux will perform the concerto with your Fort Collins Symphony.
Astor Piazzolla’s Sinfonietta echoes the sounds of Argentinian Tango blended with classical music, and Joseph Haydn’s energetic Symphony No. 100, the “Military,” celebrates 100 years of exceptional music in Fort Collins.
Don’t miss this chance to revel in the sounds of the Spanish guitar with your Fort Collins Symphony.
On this concert:
Sinfonietta, by Astor Piazzolla
Concierto de Aranjuez, by Joaquín Rodrigo
Featuring Grammy Award-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux
Intermission: 20 min
Symphony No. 100, the “Military,” by Joseph Haydn
Guest Artist: Jason Vieaux
Grammy-winner Jason Vieaux, “among the elite of today’s classical guitarists” (Gramophone), is described by NPR as “perhaps the most precise and soulful classical guitarist of his generation”.
In appearances from New York’s Lincoln Center to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and the Seoul Arts Center, Jason Vieaux has cemented his reputation as an artist of brilliance and uncompromised mastery. Cited for his “eloquent and vibrant performances” on disc (Gramophone Magazine) he is hailed as “virtuosic, flamboyant, dashing and, sometimes ineffably lyrical” (New York Times) on stage.
Sought-after for his extensive concerto repertoire, Vieaux has performed with a long list of orchestras including Cleveland, Toronto, St. Louis, Houston, Columbus, and has made premiere recordings with the Nashville Symphony (Leshnoff Concerto) and the Norrköping Symphony (Beal Six Sixteen). He has worked with renowned conductors including Giancarlo Guerrero, Jahja Ling, Gerard Schwarz, and David Robertson. Vieaux’s passion for new music has fostered premieres from Jeff Beal, Avner Dorman, Vivian Fung, Pierre Jalbert, Jonathan Leshnoff, David Ludwig, Mark Mancina, and Dan Visconti, among many others.
Vieaux’s extensive discography includes his “Bach Volume 2: Works for Violin” released on Azica in 2022 to rave reviews for his “eloquent and vibrant performances” (Gramophone). Additional 2022 releases include “Shining Night” featuring his duo with acclaimed violinist Anne Akiko Meyers (Avie Records) and Michael Fine’s “Concierto del Luna” with flutist Alexa Still (Sony Classical), both enjoying strong critical acclaim. Vieaux recorded Pat Metheny’s “Four Paths of Light”, a solo work dedicated to him by Pat, for Metheny’s 2021 album“Road to the Sun”. Jason Vieaux won the 2014 Best Instrumental Classical Solo Grammy Award for “Play”. The Huffington Post declared PLAY is “part of the revitalized interest in the classical guitar”.
A busy touring performer, Jason Vieaux enjoys repeated invitations from distinguished series including San Francisco Performances, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and the 92nd Street Y, among others. Festival engagements include Ravinia, Caramoor, Domaine-Forget, Music@Menlo, Round Top, and the Eastern Music Festival. Overseas performance venues include Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Seoul Arts Center, Shanghai Concert Hall, Sala Sao Paolo, and Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.
Jason Vieaux enjoys ongoing performing and recording collaborations with the Escher String Quartet, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, harpist Yolanda Kondonassis, accordion/bandoneon virtuoso Julien Labro, and saxophone virtuoso Timothy McAllister.
In 2011 Vieaux co-founded the guitar department at the Curtis Institute of Music (with David Starobin). He has taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music for 25 years. Jason’s online Guitar School for Artistworks Inc. has hundreds of subscribers from all over the world. He plays a guitar by Gernot Wagner, 2013, made in Frankfurt.
Learn more about Jason Vieaux at JasonVieaux.com.
Free week-of-concert events:
Join CSU professor Dr. K. Dawn Grapes on the Wednesday prior to most Signature concerts for an entertaining and informative lecture about the upcoming featured composers. Light refreshments. Sponsored by the Friends of the Symphony.
Wednesday, November 1, 2023
12:00 – 1:00 PM, at the Old Town Library
Learn firsthand what it takes for an orchestra to bring live music to the stage. Houselights remain on during this comfortable preview of each upcoming Signature concert. The rehearsal closes to the public at 8:30 p.m. intermission.
Thursday, November 2, 2023
7:00 – 8:30 PM, at the Lincoln Center
Prior to each Signature concert, join Maestro Wes Kenney for a pre-concert talk about the music you will hear.
Saturday, November 4, 2023
6:30 – 7:00 PM, at the Lincoln Center
Included with ticket purchase
FCS Sponsors and Advertisers:
Arts Without End Foundation
Dr. David and Alison Dennis
Dr. Ed Siegel
Dr. Peter Springberg
The businesses below help make our concerts possible. Please show them your support, and let them know you came from the Fort Collins Symphony. Click the logo to visit their website.
Get your tickets at LCTix.com
Program Notes – by Dr. K. Dawn Grapes
Date of Composition: 1953
Duration: 15 minutes
Few composers have developed a style as individual and recognizable as Astor Piazzolla (1921–1992). Born in Argentina, but raised in New York City, Piazzolla was intrigued by the tango music he heard from an early age in his parents’ record collection. He eagerly learned to play the bandoneon—an accordion-like South American concertina—at just eight years of age. Three years later, he composed his first tango, and it was not long before he was playing with an assortment of tango orchestras. Thus it seems inevitable that Piazzolla returned to his land of birth at age seventeen to pursue a career performing in the best tango clubs in the world. While arranging music for his own groups, he began composition lessons with acclaimed Argentinean composer Alberto Ginastera and experimented with mixing tango themes with traditional classical music. He was so successful that he earned a scholarship to study in France with world-renowned pedagogue Nadia Boulanger, who encouraged his tango-jazz-classical mix. Tango purists scoffed at his creations, but he was eventually credited with developing what is now known as tango nuevo, an innovative, fresh take on the traditional dance.
Sinfonietta was composed in 1953, just before Piazzolla took that fateful trip to France, and before he had solidified his personal style. Written in three movements, a tango influence is immediately evident in the opening “Dramatico,” which simulates the slow careful movement associated with the Argentinian dance over a repetitious bass line. “Sobrio” shifts moods, matching the sober title with a cinematic journey channeling several early twentieth-century European composers. The final “Jubiloso” juxtaposes sounds from the previous two, using tango rhythms to scaffold a dramatic musical conclusion.
Concierto de Aranjuez
Date of Composition: 1938–1939
Duration: 22 minutes
Born in the region of Valencia, twentieth-century Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo (1901–1999) lost his sight as a small child. He learned to play piano and violin at the school for the blind he attended, demonstrating a natural talent. After majoring in composition at the conservatory in Valencia, he moved to Paris where he studied with Paul Dukas. Rodrigo’s catalog includes almost 200 works, including instrumental solos, vocal, and chamber music. Half of his more than two dozen orchestral works are concertos for various instruments, but he is best known for his first two guitar concertos: Concierto de Aranjuez (1939) and Fantasía para un gentilhombre (1954).
Rodrigo composed Concierto de Aranjuez toward the end of the Spanish Civil War while living abroad. The work was premiered a year later in Barcelona, after the composer’s initial return to Spain. The concerto looks back nostalgically to an earlier time in the nation’s history. Aranjuez refers to a region south of Madrid that was embraced by the sixteenth-century monarch, King Philip II. There, Philip began building an impressive royal castle overlooking the surrounding countryside. For the next almost two hundred years, only those with noble rank were permitted entrance. Today, the expanded royal estate has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rodrigo declared that his first guitar concerto was intended to bring forth “the fragrance of magnolias, the singing of birds, and the gushing of fountains,” as experienced in the impressive gardens for which the landmark is known.
Concierto de Aranjuez’sthree movements immediately transport listeners to the Spanish locale, the first movement infused with dancelike rhythms accentuated by the country’s most iconic solo instrument. The second slow second movement, with its haunting melody, has become a favorite for use in film scores, as well as in concert halls. The final movement, however, fully reveals Rodrigo’s historical inspiration with its use of eighteenth-century dance idioms that are reminiscent of the time when Aranjuez first achieved its architectural, botanic, and cultural beauty.
Symphony No. 100 in G Major, “Military”
Date of Composition: 1793 or 1794
Duration: 28 minutes
Haydn’s nickname—“Father of the Symphony”— is well earned. His over one hundred symphonies standardized the genre and inspired other great composers of the era. Early in his career, Joseph Haydn (1732–1809) worked variously as a teacher and performer but found financial security in 1761 when he accepted employment with the Esterhazys, a royal family he served for over forty years. Most of his tenure was spent in the employ of Prince Nikolaus, with whom Haydn became quite close—or at least as close as a top servant might come to his noble master. Haydn later credited his isolation in the Esterhazy courts for his prolific musical output. He told his first biographer, Georg August Griesinger, “My prince was satisfied with all my work, I received bonuses, I could experiment as the leader of an orchestra, observe what enhanced or weakened an effect, improve, add, cut, dare. I was isolated from the world … and so I had to become original.”
Prince Nikolaus died September 28, 1790, almost thirty years after he took the throne. His son Anton dismantled the Esterhazy orchestra. Haydn was left as one of a few remaining musicians on the payroll—a Kapellmeister without performers. He resettled in Vienna. While there, he met Johann Peter Salomon, an English promoter looking for performers for the upcoming London concert season. When Salomon read of the prince’s death, he dropped all his plans and hurried to Vienna to entice Haydn to return with him: “I am Salomon of London and have come to fetch you.” Salomon commissioned an opera, six symphonies, and other works that Haydn would conduct in London the following year. When Haydn arrived in the city in early 1791, his music immediately charmed the English populace. The feeling was mutual, for Haydn spoke of his London travels with warmth and affection. After two successful seasons, he returned to Vienna, but was lured back to the English capital in 1794, commencing a two-year tour in which his acclaim exceeded the first.
The twelve London Symphonies, numbered 93 through 104, were Haydn’s final contributions to the genre and represent the composer at his best. Six of them were given descriptive titles, mostly for purposes of identification, a sort of pre-catalogue measure. Symphony No. 100 in G Major, “Military,” gains its nickname from Haydn’s addition of cymbals, triangle, and bass drum in the second movement. At the time, percussion use in symphonic music was typically limited to timpani. The addition of battery instruments was a convention drawn from opera orchestras to signify military associations. A solo trumpet call toward the end of the movement, followed by seven dramatic measures of cloudburst make the composer’s vision clear. Yet Haydn quickly switches back to a courtly sort of elegance, reminding listeners that they were safely ensconced within a London concert hall. Over the next two movements, Haydn alternates light and full dynamics and textures and harmonic modes, and then brings back the added percussion at the end of the finale. His juxtaposition of graceful, courtly music with battle-like themes is quite effective. From the very first performance, audiences approved heartily of Haydn’s innovations.
Salomon hoped Haydn would stay on, but Prince Anton died in early 1795. His son, the new Prince Nikolaus II, summoned his Kapellmeister back to Vienna in hopes of rebuilding the Esterhazy musical establishment. Although a return to London never materialized, the musician never forgot his newly adopted city nor those who helped him through an uncertain time, propelling him from “Father of the Symphony” to “Perfector of the Genre.”
© Dr. K. Dawn Grapes, 2023