Rodrigo: Serenata española; Sonatas de Castilla; El álbum de Cecilia; A l’ombre de torre bermeja; Tres danzas de España; Tres evocaciones; Bagatella; Pastoral; Air de ballet sur le nom d’une jeune fille; Berceuse de printemps

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Rodrigo
LABELS: ASV
WORKS: Serenata española; Sonatas de Castilla; El álbum de Cecilia; A l’ombre de torre bermeja; Tres danzas de España; Tres evocaciones; Bagatella; Pastoral; Air de ballet sur le nom d’une jeune fille; Berceuse de printemps
PERFORMER: María Garzón (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD DCA 990
Most people’s acquaintance with Rodrigo is probably limited to the popular Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra and maybe the later Fantasía para un gentilhombre which often accompanies it on disc. It’s refreshing to sample this attractive piano music.

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Now 95, and blind from early childhood, Rodrigo’s methods and mannerisms are broadly Spanish while embracing a wider neo-classicism. His music is atmospheric and evocative, full of imagery and, in places, nostalgic; though sometimes he writes abstract works like the five Sonatas de Castilla, with their Scarlattian brevity, their widely varying moods and their clattering preludial Toccata.

The music recorded here spans nearly sixty years, but as Rodrigo has written no substantial composition for piano solo, it’s an assortment of brief individual pieces (none longer than five and a half minutes) and suites of even shorter ones. María Garzón, herself Spanish, conveys the moods and inflections faithfully, from the colourful, Albéniz-influenced Serenata española (a showcase of pianistic resource) to the innocent little pieces Rodrigo wrote for his daughter Cecilia – who must have been quite a pianist when she premiered them at the age of eight.

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Attractive then, but better to dip into than to play at a single sitting. Wadham Sutton