Artur Pizarro

Rodrigo: Piano Music

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The piano music of Joaquín Rodrigo is rarely heard and practically unknown compared to his guitar works. This disc by Artur Pizarro should help rectify the oversight. None of the works here are as substantial as Rodrigo's concertos, but the colorings and expressions are just as rich as in those larger works. Many of these are indebted in some way to other composers. The first piece is an homage to Isaac Albéniz's Torre Bermeja (Crimson Tower), appropriately entitled In the Shadow for the Crimson Tower. Rodrigo wrote the glowingly resonant Sonada de adiós in memory of Paul Dukas, one of his teachers. The last five pieces on the disc are transcriptions of works by late-Renaissance Spanish composers. These are almost over-Romanticized in shading, but do capture the original spirit, if not quite the sound. The final Fantasia que contrahace la harpa de Ludovico has attention-grabbing, modern-sounding harmonies and rhythms. The rest of the works on the disc are dances, full of Spanish fire and spice, mini tone poems, and character pieces, which also draw on Spanish idioms and post-Romantic harmonies. Pizarro moves easily from the simple, soft lines of a berceuse to the punctuated figures found in the Estampas Andaluzas, changing his articulation as needed to realize fully and marvelously the spirit of the music. What would make this disc even better would be a warmer sound. The recording is a little distant, and it tends to thin out the colors of the music.

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