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Foreword by Rolando Saad

« His concerts have been heard by more than 2 million audience members »

Every time I take the guitar I expect to see with what it will surprise me. It is such a wonderful instrument with a rich timbre that every day I discover new nuances. I always play guitars made by Ignacio Fleta, they are the best in the world. The have such a strong and penetrating sound, that I am able to play with a symphonic orchestra without amplification. I like the pure and natural sonorities, without unnecessary display of virtuosities. This is how I was taught by the biggest master and musician ever, María Luisa Anido, a virtuous who didn’t care for virtuosities. It’s not only what she taught me about technique and virtuous execution during her extended classes which would sometimes last 7 consecutive hours: the essential thing was that she prepared to think for oneself, to ponder about the most appropriate interpretation for each work. She was my great master and it was thanks to her that, at the age of 19, I got on stage in Palma de Mallorca for my first recital as a professional soloist performer.

For almost a decade I dedicated myself to recitals only, but when I first got to experience (back in 1988 interpreting Joaquín Rodrigo’s Fantasía para un gentilhombre) the immense satisfaction of playing alongside a symphony orchestra, that’s when I decided to devote all my activity to concerts. I had the privilege of sharing the stage in the 90s with legendary Yehudi Menuhin playing under his conduction a precious work by Carlos Guastavino, Jeromita Linares, in a tour with the Camerata Lysy-Gstaad led by Alberto Lisy. Funnily enough, the first time I played the Concierto de Aranjuez, that didn’t happen in Spain but in Bulgaria in 1989. The previous year I had had the privilege of playing Fantasía para un gentilhombre in the presence of maestro Rodrigo, in his Madrid residence first (I had gone there looking for first hand pieces of advice) – he told me he had like my interpretation very much and I particularly cherished that moment – and some months after that I interpreted that work in a tribute concert celebrated in Aranjuez at which the maestro and his daughter were present amongst the audience.

 

The Fantasía para un gentilhombre, composed in on themes of Gaspar Sanz, is a dazzling tribute to the great hispano- baroque artist. The grace of its themes, the melodic richness and the rhythmic vigour all contribute to make this music so beautifuland so pleasurable to play. But my true passion is the Concierto de Aranjuez, which I played on over 900 occasions all across the world. I never get tired of playing it and I am always able to discover new nuances working with different conductors and orchestras. With Fuat Mansurov, for instance, I played the Concierto de Aranjuez in emblematic venues such as Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Philharmonie in Berlin, Palais de Beaux Arts in Brussels and the two most importants opera houses in Spain Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu and Madrid’s Teatro Real. It’s a major work, perfectly conceived for guitar, perfectly balanced and very demanding when it comes to the soloist scores. Obviously, the gem of the scores is the beautiful Adagio, that Rodrigo must have created in a moment of divine inspiration. The atmosphere of that movement is something unique. As for the 3rd movement, Allegro gentile, in which Rodrigo doesn’t make any technical concessions, I like to play it as the composer wanted it to be played, “rítmicamente y a tempo”. Moreover this piece played a very important role not only in my artistic career but also on a personal level.

Due to the consequences of a serious car accident, in 1996 a had to interrupt my soloist career. I thought about dedicating all my time to studying but I had a great urge of playing the Concierto de Aranjuez again, of feeling that tension and the excitement connected to the responsability of making the audience feel the magic of this work. The urge was so great that I was able to overcome the dificulties and go back on stage. When I prepared this programme, together with two of Rodrigo’s masterpieces I selected two pages that help us getting a cleared portrait of Spanish music: the Sonatina by Federico Moreno Torroba is a brilliant work, so well written for the guitar that it seems done by a professional guitarist. I will never understand how such a beautiful work gets to be played so little. The other piece that completes the programme the Romanza of the concert of Salvador Bacarisse, a page of serene beauty and intense lyricism deeply moving.