Rodrigo: Piano Works (complete)

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WORKS: Piano Works (complete)
PERFORMER: Sara Marianovich (piano)
That there was more to Joaquín Rodrigo than his famous Concierto de Aranjuez has always been known, but was conclusively restated by Artur Pizarro a few years ago with his limpid recording of a selection of Rodrigo’s piano works (Collins). Sara Marianovich introduces us to a vista beyond that horizon with the complete Rodrigo piano output, including one piece never before recorded. The set confirms the evidence supplied by Pizarro, that Rodrigo’s is essentially a small, quiet canvas, rarely calling for feats of expansive pianism but requiring great depths of calm and control. The longest single movement he wrote for the piano lasts under six minutes, and even then has the feel of a miniature. Marianovich – who knew the composer during his last years – shows from the outset that she has the right qualities: an exquisite sense of shape and an unhurried coolness, notes dropping from her fingers like raindrops, each one weighed and assessed. Her survey highlights the unexpected harmonic kinship of the young Rodrigo and Messiaen and the increasing irruption of Spanish indigenous music into Rodrigo’s writing. All in all, much to savour. Christopher Wood