Fantasia para un gentilhombre (Fantasia for a Gentleman) is a concerto for guitar and orchestra by the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo. It is Rodrigo's second most popular work after the famous Concierto de Aranjuez.
The four movements were based on six short dances for solo guitar by the 17th century Spanish composer Gaspar Sanz, taken from a three-volume work (1674, 1675, 1697) now commonly known as Instrucción de música sobre la guitarra española (Musical Instruction on the Spanish Guitar) (Donis 2005:75). Most of the movements retain the names that Sanz originally gave them. Rodrigo expanded on Sanz's themes to produce a work lasting more than 20 minutes.
Rodrigo composed the concerto in 1954 at the request of guitarist Andrés Segovia, who evidently was the gentilhombre referenced in the title. Segovia took the solo part at the premiere performance on March 5, 1958, in San Francisco. The San Francisco Symphony was conducted by Enrique Jordá.
- Villano y Ricercare
- Españoleta y Fanfare de la Caballería de Nápoles
- Danza de las Hachas
The first movement opens with the melodic Villano that phases between the solo guitarist and the orchestra. It repeats Sanz’s theme many times, varying it so that it never becomes tiresome. This is the form of the other movements of the work. The music also hints subtly at themes used in the subsequent movements. The second part of the first movement, called Ricercare, is a short piece contrasting with Villano and entirely based on a two-bar phrase, repeated in the form of a complex fugue or ricercare.
The second movement returns to a more lyrical theme with the Españoleta, which has a particularly haunting tune with rich accompaniment of the strings. The contrasting middle section of this movement, Fanfare de la Cabellería de Nápoles (Fanfare for the Cavalry of Naples), brings in rapid, discordant drum beats along with the accompaniment of the guitar and spectral fanfares for trumpet and flute. The Españoleta is then reprised to conclude the movement.
The third movement, Danza de las Hachas (Dance of the Axes), has an energetic dance beat, largely supported by a crescendo from the orchestra. This lively, short movement is in effect an interlude linking the more mournful part of the Fantasía with the more up-beat final movement.
Finally, the fourth movement, Canario, brings in music that Sanz wrote in the style of a folk dance originating in the Canary Islands. Rodrigo pays homage to the music's origins by imitating a bird call toward the end of the movement even though the Canary Islands were so named because of the wild dogs prevalent there (canis) and not because of birds (canaries).
- ^ Kamhi de Rodrigo 1992:173–174, cited in Donis 2005:74
- ^ Donis 2005:75
- ^ Liner notes to the Narciso Yepes recording
- Kamhi de Rodrigo, Victoria; translated by Ellen Wilkerson (1992). Hand in Hand With Joaquín Rodrigo: My Life at the Maestro's Side. Pittsburgh: Latin American Literary Review Press. ISBN 0-935480-51-X.