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Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999)
Concierto pastoral for flute and orchestra (1978)
Dos miniatures andaluzas for string orchestra (1929)
Adagio para instrumentos de viento (1966)
Fantasía para un Gentilhombre (1978) arranged for flute by James Galway
Joanna G’froerer (flute)
Asturias Symphony Orchestra/Maximiano Valdés
Recorded at the Auditorio Principe Felipe, Asturias, June 2002
Complete Orchestral Works Volume 8
NAXOS 8.557801 [62.36]

 

Naxos’s ongoing series of the orchestral works of Joaquín Rodrigo is nothing short of a gift to the world of music. This disc is a fine and welcome addition to the collection. Rodrigo, left blind by a childhood illness, went on to become one of Spain’s most famous and respected composers. His long and productive life allowed for a sizeable output of works that extend far beyond the couple of guitar concertos for which he was justifiably famous. Thanks to this excellent series, now in its eighth volume, we have four more delightful pieces to enjoy.

The Concierto Pastoral from 1978 is a captivating work, opening with a sprightly theme, brightly orchestrated between the solo flute and the first trumpet. Joanna G’froerer is a formidable talent, and she delivers this music with ease and grace, coupled with a precise rhythmic drive that is simply infectious. One might have wished perhaps for a retake of the opening bars in which the Asturias orchestra’s principal trumpeter has a bit of problem finding the center of the pitch. After that brief infraction, the rest of the concerto sails along without mishap. Ms. G’froerer was perhaps a bit too closely recorded here as her breath intakes are overtly audible, and become a slight distraction at such close quarters. This is a minor flaw, however, and is quickly overcome by the supremacy of her command of the instrument.

The two string miniatures that follow are charming enough, but are so brief that if you are not careful you will miss them. The standout for the orchestra alone is the striking Adagio for winds. Rodrigo fully exhibits his skill as an aural painter in this taut and lovely work, exposing the considerable influence that Ravel must have had on his harmonic thoughts.

The Gentleman’s Fantasy is, of course, one of the composer’s most famous works and, in his ceaseless quest for new material, renowned flutist Sir James Galway has provided a superb and most idiomatic transcription for his own instrument. Ms. G’froerer plays radiantly in this hauntingly lovely piece, shaping every phrase with care and handling the more technically demanding passages with ease and great panache.

A fine collection of delightful music, worthy of any record shelf, this is a must-have recital, and should encourage listeners to own the complete set of issues in this series. Bravo again to Naxos for being the most innovative and adventuresome record label in business.

Kevin Sutton

see also reviews by Steve Arloff and Jonathan Woolf

 



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