It has taken me until now to sample the Naxos series
of Rodrigo's orchestral works. My loss! I jumped on the boat at volume
3 and can only say that if the others are of equal artistic and technical
quality then this is one of those sequences not to be missed.
The playing ripples with vitality and courtliness.
The remarkably powerful sound seethes with detail.
Rodrigo, rather like Martinů
and Sibelius, has highly specific hallmarks which proclaim his personality
without equivocation: long Hispanic melodies the equivalent of a sunny
sierra, jerky ostinati, peppery trumpet roles. His music shares characteristics
of Vivaldi, of Boccherini and of Stravinsky.
These pieces sparkle with activity yet yield to longing
- as in the Adagietto of the Galante. The motoric chatter
of the solo violin in the outer movements contrasts with the poetic
side represented by the hushed Siciliana in the Estio
- a summer concerto indeed. The raw braying and yelping of the brass
proclaim a Northern energy in the finale - this is no longer a summer
of siestas! The violin flickers and flames. The Canconeta is
half Havanaise and half love song. This is music of utmost tenderness.
It is played with a sense of wonder. The Divertimento concerto
was written for Julian Lloyd Webber and his estimable premiere recording
is on a twofer from BMG (also reviewed on this site). This however is
an excellent version and more closely and also a shade less subtly projected
by the engineers. It is a delight from start to end and the adagio
nostalgico glints with a myriad firefly sparks over which the cello
sings a fine noble melody. Not for the first time I detected a touch
of Barber in this music. The busy allegro scherzando is not up
to the standard of the other movements.
A cracking collection of music outside the Guitar ghetto.
Go for it. You will not be sorry.