Transcription for guitar trio of Joaquín Rodrigo’s Cuatro piezas para piano
Woodruff, Sidney Dustin
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Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999) composed an invaluable collection of works for the classical guitar and for piano and is often regarded as one of the most important Spanish composers for those instruments. The folklorismo harmonies and melodies of his music are so guitar-like in nature that his music has remained accepted by audiences when performed as both original works for the guitar and as guitar transcriptions from the piano. The issue with Rodrigo’s solo piano music is that it was composed with all of the natural idiosyncrasies that are found in piano literature and without regard for the guitar. Therefore only a select few of his simpler works have been successfully transcribed for a single guitar while remaining faithful to the original score. This document presents a transcription of Cuatro Piezas para piano (Four Pieces for Piano, 1938) for guitar trio in an effort not to sacrifice voices and texture because of the physical limitations of a single guitar. Little work has been done in transcribing Rodrigo’s piano works for the medium of guitar ensemble and this study provides a new source of transcribed literature for guitar trio. Rodrigo’s Cuatro Piezas is a collection of four works that are fertile ground for arrangement for a guitar ensemble because of their manageable texture and range. Historical context is provided by surveying the beginning of Rodrigo’s mature period style in the 1930s, the period in which Cuatro piezas was composed. The particular trio that the collection is transcribed for—the Athens Guitar Trio—is introduced, highlighting their peculiarities as a guitar ensemble and philosophies in transcribing for that medium. The various difficulties that the transcriber encounters are highlighted and dealt with both generally and on a case by case basis. This document also includes discussions that should be useful for both guitarists and pianists who are interested in the Spanish folk aspects (folklorismo) of this collection. Finally there is a complete transcription of Cuatro piezas para piano for guitar trio in full score.