Friday, October 12, 2012

Townsend: En los trigales by Rodrigo

One of my favorite Spanish pieces for guitar is En los trigales by Joaquin Rodrigo. The title means "In the wheatfields" and an experience I had while I was learning the piece has always given me a context for it. I was studying in Spain at the time, in Alicante, on the Mediterranean. One day a couple of the other guitar students and I decided to take a trip to Madrid. One of us had a guitar to pick up at the José Ramirez shop and I wanted to visit the Prado Museum. Our route took us through La Mancha and we stopped at a little village for refreshments. I have always remembered the remarkable atmosphere of the place. At midday, the streets were nearly deserted except for a young couple painting their ironwork balcony black--and singing a little duet. I remember there were wheatfields around the town. At one point, the bells of the church rang out and the sound drifted across the fields. Nothing special, but the tranquility of the scene really struck me. I think that Rodrigo might have had something very similar in mind when he wrote En los trigales. There is the busyness of the work in the fields, then the sound of the bells from the church and also the sound of a chant, drifting across the fields. Then the first part returns. Very simple, but the piece is very evocative--to me, at least! Incidentally, the rhythmic structure is related to the bulerias flamenco form. I have accompanied the recording with the score (sorry, it is not coordinated with the recording, but you get a look, at least) and with some images from La Mancha. The last one looks exactly like that little village we visited. Enjoy!

video

UPDATE: Sorry, the beginning of that clip was cut off. This is the corrected one.

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