31 mar. 2010

Poetic excellence is both more rare and more common than we know. It just kind of depends on your perspective. For example, if were going to choose the 1,000 most amazing poems I know, it would take a while. I'd be choosing from about 10,000 poems. Still, 1,000 or 10,000 is not much as a percentage of all poems existent, or even all poems I've read.

So rarity in abundance. This might be an example

De los álamos vengo, madre,
de ver cómo los menea el aire.

De los álamos de Sevilla,
de ver a mi linda amiga.

De los álamos vengo, madre,
de ver cómo los menea el aire.

So perfect, but so ordinary. There's a beautiful setting by Rodrigo.

2 comentarios:

Vance Maverick dijo...

Your mention of Rodrigo made me curious. Various links on the Web suggest that the composer is Juan Vásquez -- so it's not clear to me what Rodrigo did. Did he take a tune from Vásquez and arrange it? The style of the piano accompaniment is plausible for Rodrigo, but even the tune is right in his wheelhouse. (Here's Caballé -- there are lots of recordings of De los Ángeles doing it too.)

I'm curious because in the last year or two I've grown curious about Rodrigo. Growing up, I thought he was a waste of time -- pretend-classical music to console the audience of the Hollywood Bowl for the asperities of 20thC composition. But something happened recently to make me listen again, and I was impressed. Yes, he builds his pieces around deliberately retro 18thC harmony and antique dance forms; but he uses dissonance, and the orchestra, in distinctively modern ways -- he learned a lot from Ravel.

Still I wonder, sometimes, about the public Rodrigo. He returned to Spain after the Civil War, and seems to have accepted a role as a cultural ambassador of the Franquist regime. And his artistic conservatism (though candied and spiced with grains of modernism) doesn't seem to push against the requirements of official music. (He never goes as far as even the famously constrained Shostakovich.) Thoughts? Is there writing out there on this form of the Rodrigo question?

Jonathan dijo...

Good question. It's in Juan Vásquez's renaissance cancionero. Rodrigo included his version in his madrigales amatorios. I don't know if he used the same melody that Vázquez had, making a new arrangement, or if he wrote a whole new melody too.

I don't know much about Rodrigo aside from the obvious, composer of Concierto de Aranjuez, etc... Obviously he's not a hugely modernist composer. I o like those versions you mention. The tune is stuck in my head.