The Romeros, dubbed
‘Spain’s royal family of the guitar’
are the unifying core of this disc.
Their playing is clean with none of
the distracting aural clutter of finger
noise on wood.
intensely atmospheric, instantly communicative,
alluring, not profound but indelibly
memorable: these two works represent
Rodrigo at his very best. His conscious
neo-archaisms can be vapid but he is
always worth hearing; besides, these
two works are Rodrigo in Romantic-Impressionist
mode. The 1939 Aranjuez is his
signet seal work - a concerto that has
carried his name into the world’s affections.
Here it is in a classic recording by
Angel Romero. This is eager, bright-eyed
and bushy-tailed playing of the highest
order by both orchestra and soloist.
The Andaluz is for all four family
members. It shares the same characteristics
as the Aranjuez. The sweeping
and poignant counter-melody that sings
over the rhythmic activity in the first
movement quickly imprints and who can
forget the plangent raindrop tenderness
of the Adagio. The finale is
If you get this disc
for the Rodrigo you will have no cause
for complaint. The only gripe I have
is Universal’s decision on the coupling.
They had access to more Romero-performed
Rodrigo which were used in the old two
LP set (6747 430) Philips issued in
1976. That set added the Concierto
Madrigal (Pepe; Angel) and the Fantasia
para un Gentilhombre (Pepe) - both
works in his renaissance revival stream.
In these the Romeros were accompanied
by the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields
with Neville Marriner. Of course they
were not Mercury Living Presence recordings
so do not belong here. You can still
have them (although not in SACD format)
on Philips 462 296-2 (Aranjuez,
Andaluz, Madrigal, Concierto
Serenata, Sones en la Giralda,
Fantasia para un gentilhombre,
Concierto para una fiesta - Romeros,
Michel (harp), ASMF/Marriner, Monte
Carlo Opera Orchestra/de Almeida). Instead,
for variety sake, we are offered three
cool and charming Vivaldi transcriptions.
Purists may want to avoid them but they
are pleasing works in a comfortable
The stereo spread and
sound impact is almost tactile.
in the case of the Rodrigo items matched
with three emotionally cool Vivaldi