RODRIGO Concierto de Aranjuez, Fantasía para un gentilhombre, Etc

Rodrigo's two "greatest hits," these works for guitar and orchestra made a convenient and frequent LP coupling, but they are a skimpy CD program. One recommendable feature of this CD is the inclusion of two lovely works for solo guitar along with an equally lovely piece for violin and orchestra. Rodrigo deserves to be more than a two-hit wonder, and bravo to Philips for exposing a little more of his music like this. 

Still, the performances of the "hits" are our major concern here. Pepe Romero plays with complete command of the music, and in the affecting slow movement of the "Concierto" (composed, as we learned only after his death, to mourn the loss of a child who died at birth), he plays his heart out.

Marriner and the not so small orchestra give outstandingly crisp and sensitive support, and the recording manages the difficult feat of balancing guitar and orchestra so that the solo instrument remains audible without sounding artificially boosted.

There are many fine versions of the concertos on CD, including one by Pepe's brother Angel, several by John Williams, and one by Manuel Barrueco with Placido Domingo conducting. But this Philips disc is as good as any and does have the advantage of the extra music. --Leslie Gerber

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