The Concierto de Aranjuez through the eyes of Rolando Saad

The soul of the guitar

      Rolando Saad in the Teatro de la Zarzuela. Nikolai Koliadko, conductor.

Passionate about Spanish music and guitar, Rolando Saad has turned the Concierto de Aranjuez into the most important work of his repertoire. He has performed over 900 times in the main concert halls in Europe in front of huge audiences. He has also played in monuments and historic buildings such as churches, mosques, castles and bullfighting arenas, and though having those places a more reduced audience, he still keeps the same freshness and sensitivity than the first time he played.

Every score is inspired by the most personal experiences of his composer in the first place. This is the case of the masterful Concierto de Aranjuez, in which Joaquín Rodrigo expresses his love for the guitar and for his memories about Spain when he walked by the Aranjuez park with his wife during their honeymoon, since he wrote them in Paris, where he lived during the Spanish War. In the the second movement, the Adagio, the concert is flooded with sadness and yearning due to her daughter’s recent loss (she was born dead). “Unable to sleep”, wrote about it his wife, the pianist Victoria Kamhi, “He spent long time by the night sitting in front of the old piano, and I could hear a melody full of sadness (…) that caused me real chills”. It was the origin of the Adagio, considered by most people to be the most beautiful melody in the history of guitar compositions.

However, music is also part of the musician who plays it. Rolando Saad gets to capture all the beauty and draws his own “dreamer, lyric and spellbound Aranjuez”. His performance combines technique, precision and feeling and, as a critic said: “He brings out from the soul of the guitar a particular sound, as a result of pressing the rope with security and decision helped only by his fingertips”. In his hands the score becomes an exaltation of the guitar, giving “all the expression that can be obtained from the instrument” as if it was alive “singing, getting sad, frolicking and speaking”. Rolando Saad also explains that in every musical note he turns to his own experiences and musical legacy, acquired during his intense career, especially the teachings from his teacher Maria Luisa Anido and from conductors Fuat Mansurov and Gennadi Provatorov.

Finally, a music work is also part of the public, who listens, feels and lives the music, integrating its own experiences. Rolando Saad is fully aware of this, and thus from the first notes he starts a communication full of strength, expression and feeling with the audience. As a critic pointed out, “I have listened many recordings of the Concierto de Aranjuez, the question is if I have ever listened something better or with more soul”. Each concert is, for each spectator, a unique and different experience.