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Raymond Tuttle
Classical Net, May 2008

Few people regard Rodrigo as a one-work composer any longer, but he continues to be disproportionally represented by just a handful of works. It is safe to say that most people don’t know his orchestral songs at all. I was unaware that he had composed any until I saw this CD, which (by the way) is the tenth (!) in Naxos’s series of Rodrigo’s orchestral works. Take that, “one-work composer”!

Soprano Raquel Lojendio is not Victoria de los Ángeles, of course, but she has some of that soprano’s winsome charm. The upper part of her voice is bright and somewhat reedy; the lower part is warm and womanly (not matronly!). It’s an interesting sound, and she is responsive to the texts, and to the different moods created by Rodrigo’s music. Valdés and the Asturias Symphony Orchestra take a similarly low-key but colorful and sensitive approach.

Texts and translations are not included in the booklet, although they are offered online and can be easily downloaded and printed. This is not a bad compromise to make, to keep Naxos’s costs down. One is grateful to them, after all, for continuing to release great music that is off the beaten path, like this.

Limelight, December 2007

Rodrigo wrote over 200 compositions, and here are some of his evocative best.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2007

Among Joaquin Rodrigo’s considerable output the songs for soprano and orchestra are little known, the earliest coming from those dreadful days when the blind Spanish composer and his wife were having to seek charity from friends and institutions in order that he could continue composing. A Spanish version of Joseph Canteloube’s popular Chants d’Auvergne would be a guide to the content, a folksy element in the vocal line dressed in the most attractive orchestral garb. Once established in the 1940’s Rodrigo changed his style little over the following years, as is well shown by comparing Cantos de amor y de guerra from 1968 with the short song, Cantico de la esposa, composed thirty-four years earlier. Often the words are of love, but mischievously he shows the similarity of love and war in Cantos de amor y de guerra, while the sadness of old age seems to enters into the group, Rosaliana, completed when Rodrigo was sixty-four. Technically they are not demanding works though they do need a soloist who can ascend on high without strain, the silvery quality of the young Raquel Lojendio ideally suited to the music. In the Asturias Symphony we have an orchestra rapidly establishing itself among the finest in Europe, the delicate quality of the music fashioned by Maximiano Valdes with the utmost refinement. The soloist is placed well forward without masking orchestral detail. Uncomplicated and delightful listening.

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