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Three Brilliant Rondos are Amongst Aguado's most famous (and most difficult) pieces, featuring in the concert

repertoire of many professional guitarists. In particular, Rondo No. 2 is widely performed and recorded

Spanish composer and guitarist Dionisio Aguado lived in anonymity until 1824 when he
moved to Paris, a city that after the French Revolution was open to foreign artists. Aguado is
known as one of the best guitarists of his time and as a very good pedagogue. His famous
method, Escuela de Guitarra, was first published in 1825 and is still in print. In this method,
he describes the use of fingernails on the right hand for the sake of a brighter and louder
sound. His roommate, the famous composer Fernando Sor, was against the use of fingernails
and considered that the tone produced by Aguado was his only problem as a guitar player.
The debate about the use, or not, of fingernails was at the forefront at this time period
because of the introduction of the six-string guitar. It was not until Segovia's growing fame in
the concert hall in the 1910s that the subject was settled in favor of the use of nails. In his
method, Aguado also introduced the tripodion, a device he invented that supported the guitar
so that it would resonate better without contact with the player's body.

5.4 Trois Rondo Brilliants Op. 2 No 2 in Aminor


Spanish composer and guitarist Dionisio Aguado lived in anonymity until 1824
when he moved to Paris, a city that after the French Revolution was open to
foreign artists. Aguado is known as one of the best guitarists of his time and as a
very good pedagogue.

One of his most famous works, the Rondo in A minor was composed and
published in 1827 in Paris as part of a collection called Trois Rondos Brillants. It
was composed for a guitar with a much smaller fret board than modern guitars,
thus causing the guitarist to perform complicated stretches on the left hand
while keeping the fast tempo indicated by Aguado. His extensive knowledge of
the guitar is shown on this piece: while the level of technical difficulty is
extremely high, the composition fits the guitar very well.

This piece Rondo in A minor begins with a slow introduction Andante followed by a faster
Rondo. Aguado weaved a Spanish aesthetic into his compositions, which is also evident here. The
Andante is in A minor is slow, dramatic and harmonically it moves mostly between the tonic and
dominant. The harmony moves from the dominant to the tonic at the beginning passages and few
bars later with a lowered leading note is introduced. In rondo the Original theme appears three
times with slightly varied ornamentations at a later stage and the other themes in-between he has
focused on using his stretched chords with broken chord arpeggios, pedal notes and the piece
becomes extremely technical when it moves along. This piece is a clear example of a Spanish
characteristic in Aguados work.

Figure 30: Trois rondo brilliants andante Op. 2, bars 15-21 (Aguado 1994:15)
Figure 31: Rondo, bars 58 to 63 (Aguado 1994:21)
This example shows scale passages that Aguado would have played with i,m or i, a.

In figure 32 bars 83-90, the thumb plays a pedal point on the A bass note with the melody
running above it, played by the i and a fingers. Bars 90-95 show the same idea inverted, and
now the pedal is played by the i and a fingers and the thumb plays the melody.
Figure 32: Rondo, bars 80-95 (Aguado 1994:22)