Rodrigo: Piano Works

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COMPOSERS: Rodrigo
LABELS: Collins
WORKS: Piano Works
PERFORMER: Artur Pizarro (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 14342 DDD
Rodrigo is best known for putting guitar music back on the map with his 1940 Concierto de Aranjuez, characterised by its almost folksy and nostalgic evocations of rural Spain. These piano pieces are not as well known, but show the composer no less interested in Spain and Spanish musical identity. For example, the Cuatro estampas andaluzas use the rhythms and Arab-like harmonies of Andalusia to evoke the scenes and characters of southern Spain in a vividly picturesque way.

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In many of these pieces, however, the idiom is less extravagantly Hispanic and more centred in a European mainstream – Rodrigo, following the examples of Albéniz and Falla, studied in Paris (with Dukas), and one can detect a strong French influence on such a piece as the evocative and impressionistic ‘Tarde en el parque’. In the Cinco piezas del siglo XVI, Rodrigo looks back to the Golden Age of Spanish culture. These are a series of homages to 16th-century composers, and include three pavanes, which have a stately and elegant simplicity that Pizarro communicates with beautiful evenness of touch.

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What all these pieces share is a strength and directness in the musical line, something that Pizarro realises with clarity and an unfussy subtlety. William Humphreys-Jones