Joaquín RODRIGO (1901 – 1999)

Joaquín Rodrigo Edition Volume 3: Complete Vocal Music
rec. 2000-2002. DDD
full track details at end of review
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9172 [6 CDs: 63:03 + 55:12 + 55:12 + 71:43 + 59:35 + 65:01]
Joaquín Rodrigo’s fame rests on a handful of works. There’s the Fantasia para una gentilhombre (1954) for guitar and orchestra, written for Andrés Segovia. Not to forget the Concerto serenata (1954) for harp and orchestra which was written for Nicanor Zabaleta. His masterpiece is the Guitar Concerto Concierto de Aranjuez (1939), a once in a lifetime work, which has achieved worldwide success; there are nearly 100 recordings of it currently available.
Lesser known, but still occasionally heard in performance, are the Cuatro Madrigales Amatorias (1948) and the Invocación y danza (1961) for solo guitar and the Concierto Andaluz (1967) for four guitars and orchestra. More recently, James Galway commissioned a Concierto pastoral (1977/1978) and Julian Lloyd Webber a Concierto como un divertimento (1979/1981). Both works display a well–wrought compositional technique, allow the performer ample scope for virtuoso display, but they lack a real personality and true musical interest.
It will probably come as a surprise to many - it did to me - to discover that Rodrigo wrote quite as much as he did. Brilliant Classics has issued sets (each comprising 3 discs) of his complete piano works (9159) and complete solo guitar works (1977) and one assumes that there might be more to come. They also have an EMI-originated 4 CD box of the cocnertos and orcheestral works (7562). the These six CDs contain all his works for the human voice, solo and choral, with a variety of accompaniments from piano to orchestra.
In its publicity for this release Brilliant claims that “This set is a huge treasure trove of delightful, picturesque and acute responses to Spanish poetry, ranging from intimate songs to grand declamations on the scale of oratorio: all marked by Rodrigo's ready gift for melody and ear for instrumental colour.” Certainly there is a wealth of material, ranging from small songs playing for only a minute or so, to large-scale choral and orchestral works. Most of the work falls to Ana Maria Martínez, and this must have been a labour of love for her, but she is one of the stumbling blocks of this set. She sings with a fast vibrato, which quickly tires the ear, and she tends to sing everything in the same way, without much variety of tone colour or expression.
It’s obvious that in his larger works, Rodrigo wants to create music which is challenging, what composer doesn’t, at some time, want to create a big work, into which he can put his most intimate and private thoughts? However, having heard these bigger works, I feel that Rodrigo didn’t have it in him to work on such a large canvas, nor does he have ideas commensurate with his vision. Take the Ausencias de Dulcinea. This work opens with a splendidly forthright call to attention, but as soon as the voices enter the inspiration falters and what promised to be a colourful piece becomes commonplace.
Best of all is the appearance, as a song, of the slow movement of the Concierto de Aranjuez, once with piano, and once with guitar, accompaniment. This is absolutely beautiful. If only some of the music on these disks was up to this high standard.
I have tried, I really have, to get into this music, but ultimately I have failed, for the reasons given, and try as I might I cannot whip up any enthusiasm for these works.
Instead of a booklet, the set includes a CD–ROM which contains full texts, but no translations, biographies of the performers and a full note. The recorded sound is consistently very good. To be fair, I can only think that this set is for the curious. There are more important, and better, composers waiting for this kind of coverage, and there are much more rewarding composers whose music is now available.
Bob Briggs
This set is for the curious.

Full Track details:-
Joaquín RODRIGO (1901 – 1999)

Joaquín Rodrigo Edition Volume 3: Complete Vocal Music

CD 1
Cántico de la Esposa (1934) [3:59]
Cuatro Madrigales Amatorias (1947) [8:09]
Coplas del Pastor Enemarado (1935) [3:41]
Tres Villancicos (1952) [5:47]
La espera (Retablo de Navidad) [4:18]
Doce Canciones Españolas (1951) [21:36]
Cuatro Canciones Sefardíes (1965) [9:26]
En Aranjuez, con tu amor (1968) [6:08]

CD 2
Romancillo (1950) [3:47]
Canción del Cucú (1937) [2:50]
Fino Cristal (1935) [1:48]
Sobre el Cupey (1965) [1:29]
Esta Niña se Lleva la Flor (1934) [2:05]
Estribillo (1934) [1:01]
Canción del Grumete (1938) [1:59]
Soneto (1934) [3:32]
Canticel (1935) [1:50]
Cancó del Teuladi (1934) [3:54]
¡Un Home, San Antonio! (1950) [2:50]
Barcarola (1934) [2:14]
La Grotte – Homenaje a Debussy (1962) [5:27]
Liricas castellanas [6:27]
Romance de Durandarte [4:48]
Folias canarias [2:56]
Aranjuez, ma pensée [6:07]

CD 3
Despedida de Azucena [3:58]
Canciones de dos épocas [15:26]
Dos Poemas de Juan Ramón Jiménez (1960) [6:34]
Dos Canciones para Cantar a los Niños (1973) [5:35]
Primavera (1950) [4:50]
Con Antonio Machado (1971) [24:11]

CD 4
Cántico de la esposa (1934) [3:50]
Tríptic de Mossen Cinto (1934/1946) [12:00]
Romance del Comendador de Ocaña (1947) [6:17]
Serranilla (1928) [2:35]
Retablo de Navidad (1952) [19:41]
Cantos de amor y de Guerra (1968) [14:30]
Cuatro Madrigales Amatorias (1948) [7:46]

CD 5
Rosaliana (1965) [13:41]
Quatre Cançons en Llengua Catalana (1934/1946) [11:05]
Cánticos nupciales [10:55]
Tres Canciones Sefardíes del Siglo XV (1950/1951) [8:34]
Ave Maria (1954) [2:07]
Jo tinc un burro (1933) [1:41]
Tres canciones ligeras [11:42]

CD 6
Ausencias de Dulcinea (1948) [12:57]
Musica para un códice salmantino [12:06]
Himnos de los neofitos de Quamran [18:50]
Cántico de San Francisco de Asis [17:58]
Ana Maria Martínez (soprano), Albert Guinovart (piano), Orfeón Terra a Nosa (chorus master: Miro Moreira), Orquesta Real Filharmonica de Galicia/Antoni Ros Marbà
Fabiola Masino (soprano) (in Cánticos nupciales only), Nuria Rial (soprano) (in Rosaliana, Quatre Cançons en Llengua Catalana and Cánticos nupciales only), Jose Antonio Lopez (baritone) (in Retablo de Navidad only), Roberto Fresco (organ) (in Cánticos nupciales only), Laura Simó (singer) (in Tres canciones ligeras only), Patricia Llorens (soprano), Coro de la Generalitat de Valencia, Francesc Perales (in Tres Canciones Sefardis del Siglo XV, Ave Maria and Jo tinc un burro only), Joan Vives (recorder), Lluis Solé (cornetto), Xavier Coll (vihuela) (in Liricas castellanas only),
Ignacio Rodes (guitar) (in Romance de Durandarte, Folias canarias and Aranjuez, ma pensée only), Scott Mcleod (cor anglais), Casey Hill (oboe), Albert Guinovart (celesta) (in Dos Poemas de Juan Ramón Jiménez and Primavera only), Alison Smart, Natalie Clifton – Griffith, Nicki Kennedy, Sinéad Pratschke (sopranos), Gerard Quinn (baritone), Jaime Martin (flute), John Bimson (horn), Exeter Philharmonic Choir, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Raymond Calcraft (on CD6 only)
rec. 2002, Auditorium of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia; 2002, Santiago de Compostela Cathedral; 2002, Church of St John at the Hospital of Valencia; 21 March 2000, St Peter Cathedral, Exeter (Himnos de los neofitos de Quamran), 6 May (Musica para un códice salmantino and Cántico de San Francisco de Asis), 28 July 2000 (Ausencias de Dulcinea), Henry Wood Hall, London. DDD
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9172 [6 CDs: 63:03 + 55:12 + 55:12 + 71:43 + 59:35 + 65:01]