Rodrigo: Piano Concerto; Música para un jardín; Preludio para un poema a la Alhambra; Homenaje a la tempranica; Juglares

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COMPOSERS: Rodrigo
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Piano Concerto; Música para un jardín; Preludio para un poema a la Alhambra; Homenaje a la tempranica; Juglares
PERFORMER: Daniel Ligorio Ferrándiz (piano); Castile and León SO/Max Bragado Darman
CATALOGUE NO: 8.557101
The main item in this latest volume of orchestral works by the long-lived Rodrigo – the half-hour Piano Concerto – will win few converts to the composer’s cause. It is a revision by Joaquín Achúcarro of the Concierto heroico of 1942 that excises some of the original’s repetitions and cadenzas, and even in truncated form makes for an ungrateful listen. Exhausting marching rhythms dominate the first two movements, followed by a Largo which (typically of Rodrigo) marries Renaissance music with Spanish folk themes, ending with a hectoring and stodgy finale as the final ingredient in an unappealing mix.

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Things immediately look up, however. The Preludio is a memorable exercise in mood painting, while Música para un jardín – a depiction in ten minutes of a year in the life of a garden – brims with inventive, brilliant effects and striking harmonies. The other two works are both likeable and vivacious and complete a somewhat enigmatic portrait of a composer often inspired and economical but capable on occasions of tedium. Hats off to the orchestra of Castile and León for its efforts: always painstaking and precise, and committed to revealing this music in its best possible light. Christopher Wood