It would be absurdly foolish to say that the late Rodrigo was an advanced
or highly original composer; but, remarkably enough, his crisp, lively,
colourfully scored and piquantly harmonised music is immediately recognisable.
He managed to create his own sound world, be it in his original compositions
or in his pieces inspired by other composers' music such as in Soleriana
or the present Fantasia para un gentilhombre based on music by
The celebrated and ubiquitous Concierto de Aranjuez and the
Fantasia para un gentilhombre are sufficiently well-known to
avoid any call for high-flown comments. For many years during the LP
era, they were "obligatory partners" and were often recorded
as such. Incidentally, Concierto de Aranjuez is Rodrigo's first
guitar concerto. Over the years, he wrote another such concerto as well
as concertos for two and four guitars; but I believe that it is his
The more recent Concierto Pastorale was written in 1978 for
James Galway who gave the first performance and who recorded it soon
afterwards. Though still recognisably by Rodrigo, this colourful, though
rather light-weight piece shows the limits of Rodrigo's music. There
is pretty little here in terms of catchy tunes, and the bulk of the
music is full of mannerisms (they would have been called 'hallmarks',
had the level of inspiration been higher!), but this is nevertheless
a technically quite demanding piece. Jennifer Stinton copes remarkably
well with the often tricky flute writing. This nevertheless is a quite
entertaining, though lighter, work in its own right.
All performances are quite good (I found Jennifer Stinton particularly
brilliant) with assured support on the ECO's part.
So, if you do not have any of these pieces (though I doubt it!) or
if this coupling appeals to you, you need not hesitate for you will
find much to relish in this attractive release.