By Paco De Lucia, October 2010.
When they asked me if I would play Concerto de Aranjuez in Japan, I knew it would be a challenge for me as I had never played it before. As usual, I signed the contract and forgot about it. When it later came to my attention, I only had a month before I had to debut it. I thought I would only be able to learn it if I was completely on my own away from the world.
To study the music I left my house in Playa del Carmen. I took my Japanese dressing gown, a pair of swimming trunks, the sheet music, and several recordings of the piece.
Those were a tough few days but I remember them fondly. Each morning I would get my speargun and would walk about five kilometres along the beach till I reached the small bay of X-Caret, which was untouched back then. This was my favourite fishing spot. I would jump into the sea for a couple of hours till I caught my dinner, which was usually a red snapper. Back at home I would clean and fry it… delicious.
After eating, I would settle down with my notes and cassette until midnight.
With the sheet music I would follow the notes and with the recordings I would track the beat. That was the most difficult part because in many passages the classic versions use rubatos that are not in the sheet music. I listened to some passages thousands of times until they fitted into place, because for me the most important thing was staying truthful to the music.
After a month I returned to Madrid, I had it mastered.