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The Best of Joaquin Rodrigo: Sixteen pieces for guitar edited by Frederic Zigante


The Best of Joaquin Rodrigo: Sixteen pieces for guitar edited by Frederic Zigante


Joaquin Rodrigo


Ediciones Joaquin Rodrigo: 102 pages


Reviewed 28th January 2018


Here are some of the most famous and groundbreaking pieces written for the guitar by one of its most important twentieth century composers

Of the twenty – three solo pieces he wrote, sixteen are produced here in chronological order beginning with the Zarabanda Lejana from 1926, already in a completely individual style quite unlike any other guitar music. This is of course very typical of all his guitar music, which, because he never played the guitar, feels utterly different from any other guitar music you have played.

Then comes the fascinating Toccata of 1933, only recently re- discovered amongst Regino Sainz de la Maza’s papers having been filed away and forgotten for 60 years. This is a virtuosic piece which has an Allegro speed of 144 beats a minute, which makes it extremely difficult.

All four movements of Por Los Campos de Espana (1938 – 60) are followed by perhaps his most famous solo set, the Tres Piezas Espanolas from 1954, with the exciting Fandango and its constantly clashing semi – tones so much a part of Rodrigo’s style. The Sonata Giocosa from 1959 is followed by the Invocacion y Danza of 1962, the Tres Pequenas Piezas of 1963, the easiest of the entire book, and finally Pajaros de Primavera from 1972, with the added bonus of a composer arranged Aranjuez Ma Pensee an extract of the concerto.

So, in spite of the many awkward parts of this music, it remains an essential book, but only for the very talented players.


Chris Dumigan



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