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RODRIGO: Piano Music, Vol. 1

Naxos 8.557272

   Penguin Guide, January 2009

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Penguin Guide, January 2009

For most collectors, this excellent single-CD budget-priced collection from the highly sympathetic Artur Pizarro, will prove an admirable introduction to Rodrigo’s piano music. From the brilliant opening A l’ombre de Torre Bermeja onwards he brings out the music’s ready associations with the guitar. The Four Piano Pieces include a bravura Fandango and a touchingly gentle Prayer of the Princess of Castile, while within the Four Andalusian Pictures, the Twilight over the Guadalquivir River makes an evocative contrast with the sparkling Seguidillas. The guileless Nostalgic Prelude, the charming Pastoral, and the Air de Ballet on a Girl’s Name, are all highly beguiling, while the three transcribed Pavans (by Luis de Milán and Valderrábano) included among the 16th-century pieces are presented with a gentle nobility. Pizarro plays spontaneously and perceptively and proves very much at home in this repertoire; he is vividly recorded, and there is an excellent commentary on the music by Graham Wade.

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