This is the second movement (Adagio) from the Concierto de Aranjuez, a guitar concerto written by Joaquín Rodrigo in 1939. Rodrigo was a Spanish composer and a virtuoso pianist who lived from 1901 – 1999. This composition is Rodrigo’s best-known work and established his reputation as one of the most significant Spanish composers of the 20th century.
Things to listen out for:
The harmony: it is in a minor key
The tempo: slow pace. Adagio means ‘slowly’ in Italian.
The melody: It is quietly played and introduced by the cor anglais with a soft accompaniment by the guitar and strings. The cor anglais (or English horn in North America), is a double-reed woodwind instrument in the oboe family. Ornamentation is added gradually to the melody. Ornamentation is when notes are added to a melody to decorate it.
Many musicians have since reinterpreted the work such as the jazz musician Miles Davis:
An arrangement of the piece by Kevin Bolton for a brass band led by a flugelhorn was recorded by the Grimethorpe Colliery Band as part of the soundtrack to the excellent 1996 film, Brassed Off (age rating 15). The film is about the troubles faced by a colliery brass band, following the closure of their pit (coal mine). This arrangement is sometimes referred to in jest as the Concierto d’Orangejuice, due to the pronunciation used in the film by actor Pete Postlethwaite.