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PERFORMING ARTS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, DANCE, OPERA | RECORDINGS

*** RODRIGO: Works for guitar. Angel Romero, guitar. (RCA Victor Red Seal)

September 28, 1997|Josef Woodard

Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo (born 1901) has produced some of the most important music in the classical guitar repertory, combining the evocative romanticism of its Spanish folk music influence and the imprint of modern mentors like Manuel de Falla. By the late '30s, Rodrigo had secured his legacy with his Concierto de Aranjuez, the most oft-played concerto for guitar and orchestra, also popularized by Miles Davis, via Gil Evans' arrangement.

This album dutifully celebrates Rodrigo's lesser-known but commanding music for solo guitar, performed with a masterful touch by Angel Romero. The famed Spanish-born, San Diego-based virtuoso brings a deep sensitivity--bravura and tenderness, in proper balance--to the interpretations. A kind of reassuring continuity marks Rodrigo's guitar music. The earliest piece on this collection, "En los trigales," dating from 1939, has a clear stylistic link to the most recent, the flamenco-flavored "Un tiempo fue Italica famosa," from 1981. Some of the more introspective, memorable music dates from the early '60s, including a contemplative homage to Falla, "Invocacion y danza." For Rodrigo, there is considerable musical life beyond Aranjuez.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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