Concerto de Mars – Jacques Bondon

Here’s a rarity – it’s piece I used to listen to a lot on an LP.
It is performed by Konrad Ragossnig and the Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux and is by the impressionist/eclectic French composer Jacques Bondon.
It’s great to hear it forty years later.

The introduction is colourfully orchestrated leaving the listener to wonder how the guitar could fit into such a grand scheme. The soloist enters, a lone voice picking up the rhythm set by the orchestra. This is no Concierto de Aranjuez! This could be music for a science fiction film…but importantly, it features the guitar.

Apparently the Concerto was written for Segovia, along with another guitar piece, Swing No.2.
I imagine these are pieces the great guitarist decided to leave in the archive!
Bondon has also written a chamber work, Les Folklores imaginaires, for flute, violin & guitar
By all accounts he was a bit of a maverick and began his artistic career as a designer and painter. His musical works reflect the colour and light of painting in their use of timbre and orchestration.
Here are several more pieces by this intriguing composer.

Jacques Bondon was not the only French composer who was inspired by the playing of Segovia – here is an incomplete list of composers and their pieces in no particular order

Francis Poulenc (Sarabande, Embarquement pour Cythère), Georges Auric (Hommage à Mudarra), André Jolivet (Deux études de Concert, Sérénade), Darius Milhaud (Segoviana), Jean Françaix (Concerto, Serenata), Jacques Ibert (Entr’acte pour flute et guitar), Albert Roussel (Segovia), Henri Sauget (Soliloque), Henri Tomasi (Muletier des Andes, Concerto pour Guitare et Orchestre), Jacques Charpentier (Etudes, Concerto pour Guitare et Orchestre à Cordes), Claude Bolling (Concerto pour Guitare Classique et Piano Jazz. Concerto pour Guitare, Flûte et Piano), Jacques Castérède (Hommage aux Pink Floyd, Rhapsodie, Concerto pour Guitare et Orchestre Symphonique).
There are many more now coming to light with the publication of Segovia’s archives and a rummage around the Max Eschig archives as well.

Konrad Ragossnig didn’t say much about the Concerto when he stayed at my house in Oxford  in the 70s. However he declared “I like Oxford”!

Maybe I should have learned a bit more German before his visit!


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