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Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts 1996
Your Royal Highness,
Honourable representatives of the Authorities and distinguished award winners,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Receiving the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts on behalf of my father, Joaquín Rodrigo, is an enormous honour, which I am also deeply touched by.
He is about to celebrate his 95th birthday, on the 22nd of this month; fearing that the trip and the sheer excitement of the ceremony might affect him, I had to be ruled by my head - which advised caution - rather than by my heart - which would have had us enjoy his presence amongst us here.
Although he is not with us in person, he sends the following words to accompany the beauty of his music playing in our imagination:
"This prestigious award, crowning what has already been a long life, is particularly important to me because its very name links his Royal Highness the Prince and the devotion I have always felt towards the Royal Family with the region of Asturias, which has been particularly dear to me from the earliest days of my career.
Very many years ago, Angel Muñiz Toca and I used to spent the most pleasant of times strolling through the streets of Oviedo, Gijón and Avilés and skipping the waves on what was then the lonely beach of Salinas. At his side, I began to know and love Asturias. I spent a happy summer in the sublimely picturesque village of La Isla, composing my piano piece, 'A la sombra de Torre Bermeja', dedicated to the great Spanish pianist and personal friend, Ricardo Viñes, steeped in the affection of the local people. There were so many valuable friends, such as Álvarez Buylla, the music critic who published 'Florestán', his family and so many others so very dear to me. The same feeling overcomes me now, as I receive this Award.
Being satisfied with what you do is the greatest of rewards, but when you think about this, it is actually extremely difficult. The artist, the creator, is forever dissatisfied because he recognises that he is incapable of expressing all he would wish to express. Popularity with a human touch is my greatest satisfaction.
Music is my love, mi muse, and my joy; I am enamoured of music, which I would define as the highest form of poetry that the world has at hand.
The life of a musician is very difficult, just as art itself is difficult. All artistic careers follow difficult paths, but being a musician is good, indeed marvellous, when one has a true vocation. Above all else, one must be loyal and true to oneself.
I truly belief that anything of higher value lives on after us. The name it goes under does not really matter; for those of us who spend our lives creating, admitting the opposite, admitting that everything ends at death, would be a particularly bitter pill to swallow and particularly sad. When I compose music I have often had the feeling that everything of beauty - and the spirit is a thing of beauty - must live on. By creating, we influence immortality; we collaborate with it.
Finally, my greatest wish is to share this greatly appreciated award with my wife Victoria, my faithful companion and support over sixty-three years of happy marriage. She has been my inspiration; she has given me encouragement, belief in myself, and unbounded love; she has dedicated her life to mine and has been the light of my eyes. I regret that I am unable to attend this grand ceremony, but would like to express once more my heartfelt gratitude for the honour I have received through my beloved daughter Cecilia.
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