# Composers: Joaquin Rodrigo, Manuel de Falla
# Orchestra: Orquesta Nacional de España
# Conductor: Ataulfo Argenta
# Performers: Narciso Yepes, Gonzalo Soriano
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: FLAC
# DR Analysis: DR 14
# Label: Columbia Records | SCLL 14000
# Size: 24-bit/192kHz (1.8GB), 24-bit/96kHz (901MB) and 16-bit/44.1kHz (237MB)
# Recovery: 5%
# Scan: yes
# Servers: File Factory
This album was donated several months ago and I foolishly let it sit all this time without ripping it. Don’t make the same mistake I did and pass this one by. Grab it right now.
Concierto de Aranjuez was Joaquín Rodrigo’s first attempt in the concerto genre; it quickly became, and has subsequently remained, the most popular and recognizable of his works. Written for solo guitar and orchestra, it reveals the composer’s great affinity for those two mediums, as well as his reverence for the long-standing traditions of Spanish Classical music. It was composed after Rodrigo’s return to Madrid from France (he fled the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War) in 1939, and premiered there to great success in 1940.
Aside from its overt references to Spanish folk music and straightforward lyrical disposition, the Concierto de Aranjuez is notable for the way in which Rodrigo managed to wed the relatively small voice of the solo guitar to that of the full orchestra. His writing is extremely idiomatic for both guitar and orchestra, and one leaves a hearing of the work with the impression that writing for the two together is quite natural; the guitar never seems overmatched or out of its element. Rodrigo’s orchestration is simple, clear, and yet interesting: at times he creates a dialog between soloist and ensemble, and at others he manages to turn them together into one giant guitar — an extremely imaginative and successful effect. Rodrigo also creates distinctive colors by combining the guitar with other solo instruments, such as the bassoon.
The opening movement (Allegro con Spirito) is primarily constructed from a single rhythmic motive, introduced at the outset by the solo guitar. This is later combined with a number of more lyrical themes, all of which are reminiscent of Spanish folk song. The mood turns melancholy in the second movement (Adagio), as the soloist accompanies a solo English horn with simple chords. The guitar eventually takes up this theme against an urgent orchestral background. As with the opening movement, the soloist introduces the main idea of the finale — a rather swaying and gentle melody; this theme becomes the basis for a long “conversation” involving many different solo instruments.
– Allen Schrott, allmusic.com
Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999) wrote the Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra in 1939, and it eventually established Rodrigo’s reputation as a leading composer for the classical guitar. I say “eventually” because it wasn’t until Yepes and Argenta recorded it in monaural in the late Forties that it really took off worldwide. Even though Yepes would record the work again several times, this release is still one of the best versions, if not the best version, of it on record.
The composer described the first movement Allegro con spirito as “animated by a rhythmic spirit and vigour without either of the two themes interrupting its relentless pace.” Here, Yepes is lively but gentle, too, an ideal lead-in to the tenderness of the famous Adagio that follows.
Rodrigo said that the second movement “represents a dialogue between guitar and solo instruments” (cor anglais, bassoon, oboe, horn etc.). What he didn’t say was how utterly beautiful it was, something performances after performances have been saying for over seventy years. Yepes says it best with an interpretation filled with tenderness, naturally, and hushed passion. Finding a perfect partnership with Maestro Argenta, who helped tutor the young guitarist early in his career, Yepes produces one of the finest, most complete realizations of the score possible.
Then there’s that perky little closing tune, the one Rodrigo said “recalls a courtly dance in which the combination of double and triple time maintains a taut tempo right to the closing bar.” Yepes takes it at a moderate gait, without going all crazy with it. It closes the piece adeptly, maintaining the light, flower-scented mood of the rest of the work. After all, Rodrigo had described the concerto itself as capturing “the fragrance of magnolias, the singing of birds, and the gushing of fountains” in the gardens of Aranjuez. Yepes takes him at his word.
Other guitarists have done justice to Rodrigo’s masterpiece, to be sure, and I would not want to be without Bonell, Williams, Bream, the various Romeros, and others. However, for an all-around engaging, entrancing, spontaneous realization in early though still state-of-the-art sound, it’s hard to beat this Yepes-Argenta partnership.
– John J. Puccio, classicalcandor.blogspot.com
Concierto De Aranjuez
01 – I. Allegro Con Spirito
02 – II. Adagio
03 – III. Allegro Gentile
Noches En Los Jardines De España
04 – I. En El Generalife
05 – II. Danza Lejana
06 – III. En Las Sierras De Córdoba
Ataulfo Argenta – conductor
Narciso Yepes – guitar (tracks 1-3)
Gonzalo Soriano – piano (tracks 4-6)
Additional info can be found here.
All vinyl is cleaned on a VPI 16.5
Milty Pro Zerostat 3
Technics SL1200-MK5 (modified)
– Rega RB300 arm with RB700 wiring
– Michell Tecnoweight
– SoundSupports armboard
– Trans-Fi Audio ResoMat
Audio Technica AT33PTG/II
AVID Pellar preamp
RME Hammerfall 9632 ADC
Processing: Sound Forge 10, ClickRepair (manual mode only), iZotope RX3
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