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Joaquín RODRIGO (1901 – 1999)

Concierto de Aranjuez (1939)a
Fantasía para un gentilhombre (1954)a
Concierto Andaluz (1967)b
Ricardo Gallén (guitar)a
EntreQuatre Guitar Quartetb
Asturias Symphony Orchestra/Maximiano Valdés
Recorded: Auditoria Felipe, Oviedo, Asturias, June 2001
NAXOS 8.555841 [68:14]


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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 soloist.

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.

Hubert Culot

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