Rodrigo: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1: Soleriana; Zarabanda lejana y villancico; Cinco piezas infantiles

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COMPOSERS: Rodrigo
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1: Soleriana; Zarabanda lejana y villancico; Cinco piezas infantiles
PERFORMER: Asturias SO/Maximiano Valdés
CATALOGUE NO: 8.555844
Music of the past constantly surfaces in the work of Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo, not least in the three works on this disc. His Soleriana is a pleasant enough neo-classical exercise drawing on sonatas by Antonio Soler, given here a fresh, brisk run-through by the Asturias Symphony Orchestra. At 40 minutes, and with a level of invention far below the neo-classical works of Stravinsky, for example, it risks overstaying its welcome, but the bustling Asturias players just about sustain one’s interest to the end. The Zarabanda lejana (Distant Saraband) was originally written for guitar but is here given in a version for string orchestra. The title describes well a plaintive little tune that also mines musical history for its inspiration, in this case going back beyond Soler to the 16th-century composer and vihuela player Luis de Milán. The most original work on the disc is the energetic Cinco piezas infantiles, whose essentially forward- rather than backward-looking stance is a refreshing change after so much musical nostalgia. Overall the music is not wildly exciting, but it is instructive to hear something other than the usual Rodrigo warhorses, and the Asturias orchestra under Maximiano Valdés makes for an amiable guide. Christopher Wood

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