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Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999)
Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra (1939) [21:32]
Invocación y danza (Homenaje a Manuel de Falla) for solo guitar (1961) [9:14]
Fantasía para un gentilhombre for guitar and orchestra (1954) [22:26]
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)
Homenaje (Le tombeau de Claude Debussy) for solo guitar (1920) [3:52]
El Sombrero de tres picos: Danza del Molinero (Farruca) (1919) (arr. solo guitar Michael Lewin) [3:02]
Miloš Karadaglić (guitar)
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin
rec. Abbey Road Studios, Studio 1, London, August-September 2013 (Concierto and Fantasía); Nikodemus-Kirche, Berlin, September 2013 (rest)
Also released as Mercury Classics 4810611
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 481 0652 [60:06]

When I reviewed Miloš Karadaglić’s previous album of short Latin American pieces, I expressed the hope that he would record some of the larger works for guitar and orchestra. On this new disc, entitled Miloš Aranjuez, he has given us the two most popular compositions for this combination. It was inevitable that he would contribute his interpretation of the Concierto de Aranjuez, the most famous of all guitar concertos, and also Rodrigo’s other popular work, the Fantasía para un gentilhombre. There have been so many recordings of Aranjuez that every listener attracted to it will have his or her own favorites. It’s not that the piece plays itself by any means, but it is a milestone for all classical guitarists. Miloš — as he is widely known by his first name alone — measures up to the best of his predecessors. Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the London Philharmonic prove to be ideal partners and bring eloquence to their performance. Neither guitarist nor orchestra overplays their hand and this team demonstrates a real joy performing together. The same is true for the Fantasía para un gentilhombre, which Miloš has taken up more recently. The English horn soloist, Sue Böhling, deservedly receives mention in the CD booklet for her performance in the Adagio movement of Aranjuez.
 
As good as these two performances are, though, I think the album is even more worthwhile for its solo works. This is especially true of the third Rodrigo piece, the composer’s homage to Manuel de Falla, Invocación y danza. I had not heard it before, but it is more complex and modern than his other works on the disc. It has real depth of feeling and is haunting in its themes. It requires a great deal of virtuosity and Miloš performs it superbly. Appropriately enough, Invocación y danza is paired with two works by Falla himself. The first of these, Homenaje, was Falla’s tribute to Debussy, who had died two years prior to the composition. It also has the distinction of being the first work for guitar by a major classical composer. I am glad to have heard the original version of the piece here, as I knew it before from Falla’s later orchestration as one of five Homenajes comprising an orchestral suite. The other Falla piece is an arrangement for solo guitar by Michael Lewin of the Miller’s Dance, the farruca, from the Three-Cornered Hat ballet. As one would expect, this works rather well as a guitar solo.
 
Everything is first-class about this production: wonderful performances, recorded with real presence and a glossy booklet with plenty of color photos mostly of the charismatic guitarist. Gramophone’s James Jolly provides the succinct and well-written note.

Leslie Wright

Previous review: Brian Wilson


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