This release, Volume 2 of Naxos’s Rodrigo series, couples
three fairly well-known pieces that actually call for little comment.
Both the Concierto de Aranjuez and the Fantasia
para un gentilhombre have become – quite deservedly so – classics
of the guitarist’s repertoire. Surprisingly enough, the Fantasia,
a homage to Gaspar Sanz, was composed for Segovia because he did not
like the Concierto de Aranjuez though he apparently changed
his mind later. The former may well be the first full-scale guitar concerto.
The somewhat later Concierto Andaluz for four guitars
and orchestra written for the Romeros has also been repeatedly recorded.
Rodrigo was never an original composer, but he managed
to be and remain a highly personal one; and a few notes of his music
are enough to identify the composer. Clear-cut, sometimes short-breathed
but very memorable themes, transparent textures and piquant, mildly
dissonant scoring are his most remarkable characteristics. His guitar
concertos are also quite remarkable for scoring that never obscures
The present performances are all perfectly acceptable
and very satisfying, and are clearly recorded in natural, warm acoustics.
So, if this particular coupling appeals to you, you need not worry about
this very fine and rewarding release; it may be safely recommended.