Juan Manuel Cañizares — “Rodrigo por Cañizares: Aranjuez, ma pensée & Preludio al atardecer” (2019)

In the pursuit of artistic mastery, every musician’s journey is a tapestry woven with threads of experiences, collaborations, and creative exploration. In the case of my latest album, “Rodrigo por Cañizares: Aranjuez, ma pensée & Preludio al atardecer” (2019), this journey unfolds as a nuanced narrative through the lens of my encounters with maestro Joaquín Rodrigo and the meticulous craft of bringing his timeless compositions to life on the guitar.

A Night to Remember: Meeting Maestro Rodrigo

The genesis of this album can be traced back to a fateful night at a Paco de Lucía concert in Torrelodones, Madrid, where I first encountered the esteemed maestro Rodrigo. His enchanting presence left an indelible mark on my memory, and that serendipitous meeting became the catalyst for my exploration into the symphonic world. The Concierto de Aranjuez, a masterpiece by Rodrigo, served as the gateway to a realm of music that would profoundly shape my artistic trajectory.

Crafting Sonic Alchemy: The Ideal Studio Guitar

Collaboration with master luthier Vicente Carrillo became the cornerstone of my sonic exploration. Together, we sought to create a hybrid guitar that seamlessly blended the mellifluous tones of a classical guitar with the rhythmic percussions of flamenco. Our collaborative efforts resulted in a guitar model that serves as my musical companion, adept at rendering both pulsating melodies and resonant basslines, laying the foundation for the rich tapestry of the album.

The Studio Dilemma: Sensitivity vs. Power

In the studio, the delicate balance between sensitivity and power is a perpetual dance. While power remains essential, I have always held a profound appreciation for sensitivity. A gentle touch, a nuanced expression—these are the tools that breathe life into a composition. Soft tension strings have become my choice, offering a canvas upon which I can paint the intricate nuances of each piece with finesse, transcending the conventional emphasis on sheer power.

Reverb as Art: Navigating the Sonic Landscape

The studio, a realm of infinite possibilities, demands a conscious choice regarding the application of reverb. Believing that every piece of music possesses its unique sonic fingerprint, I opt for software reverb. This technological tool allows me to tailor the reverb to the specific needs of each composition. It is a delicate art, a nuanced dance where excessive reverberation risks muddying the sonic waters. Balance is key, as I adapt the reverb to the tempo and mood of each track.

Unveiling Rodrigo’s Gems: Stories Behind the Works

Aranjuez, ma pensée: A Personal Rendition

The iconic “Concierto de Aranjuez” was a frequent request of Rodrigo’s. To breathe new life into this classic, I sought and received permission from Doña Cecilia, Rodrigo’s wife, to analyze the score and craft a unique arrangement for the album. The result is a deeply emotional piece that pays homage to Rodrigo’s brilliance while offering a distinct interpretation that reflects my own artistic sensibilities.

Preludio al atardecer: Rescuing the Daring Unpublished

“Preludio al atardecer” emerged as a daring venture into the unpublished works of Rodrigo. Grateful for Doña Cecilia’s permission, I resurrected this piece, characterized by its avant-garde chords and flamenco nuances. The inclusion of flamenco fingering adds a layer of complexity, transforming it into a joyous exploration of uncharted musical territories.

Cuatro estampas andaluzas: A Flamenco Mosaic

“Cuatro estampas andaluzas” comprises four vibrant pieces infused with the unmistakable flavor of Andalusia. Balancing the intricate sound and flamenco rhythms inherent in these compositions was crucial, creating a musical journey that pays homage to the cultural richness of the region.

Cuatro piezas: Adapting Piano to Guitar

The process of adapting Rodrigo’s “Cuatro piezas,” originally composed for piano, was a laborious yet rewarding endeavor. Beyond the technical challenges, it required a profound analysis of harmonic structures and counterpoint. The guitar, distinct from the piano, demanded a thoughtful adaptation to preserve the essence of the original works. The transcription process, akin to a musical pilgrimage, involved navigating complex crossroads and culminated in the joyous revelation of the final product—a testament to the resilience of artistic pursuit.


As the final chords resonate, “Rodrigo por Cañizares” stands not just as an album but as a testament to the harmonious marriage of tradition and innovation. The delicate interplay of sensitivity and power, the collaborative spirit with Vicente Carrillo, and the profound journey of transcribing Rodrigo’s works all converge into a musical odyssey. Each note, each chord, tells a story—a narrative that transcends time, connecting the genius of Joaquín Rodrigo with the evolving chapters of my own artistic evolution. In this symphony of strings and stories, I find solace, and in sharing it, I hope to inspire a deeper appreciation for the timeless beauty of classical and flamenco music.

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