Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez / Villa-Lobos: Guitar Concerto / Ponce: Concierto del sur

Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez / Villa-Lobos: Guitar Concerto / Ponce: Concierto del sur

5.0 1
by Sharon Isbin
     
 

Despite its centuries-old history, the guitar has struggled to assert its place in the mainstream of classical music. The incredible artistry of Andrés Segovia was crucial to boosting the instrument's fortunes during the 20th century -- two of the works on this disc were composed for him -- but no performer has done more…  See more details below

Overview

Despite its centuries-old history, the guitar has struggled to assert its place in the mainstream of classical music. The incredible artistry of Andrés Segovia was crucial to boosting the instrument's fortunes during the 20th century -- two of the works on this disc were composed for him -- but no performer has done more in recent decades than Sharon Isbin to break down barriers on the guitar's behalf. In fact, one such obstacle crumbles with the release of this disc: It's the first recording ever made by the New York Philharmonic with a guitar soloist. The composer Joaquin Rodrigo had crossed another hurdle in 1939 with his Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra: It became one of those rare "greatest hits" of classical music that breaks into popular consciousness, even if listeners don't know the source. The slow movement -- its unforgettable melody taken first by mournful English horn, then passed to the ruminating guitar -- simultaneously evokes Spanish color and ineffable poetry, and Isbin's time-stopping performance ideally matches delicacy of technique with depth of feeling. The Iberian dance rhythms of Rodrigo's fast movements are echoed in the two other concertos featured here: the Concierto del sur by Mexican composer Manuel Ponce, and the Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos's Concerto for Guitar. The latter is replete with wonderfully subtle touches of orchestration, while Ponce's concerto rivals Rodrigo's for sustained tunefulness. All three works offer enchanting variations on the guitarist as troubadour, using the instrument to sing an array of melancholy, seductive, and jubilant songs. With a suavity that conceals great technical skill, Sharon Isbin is the most eloquent and persuasive performer of this repertoire today.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
Of the many available renditions of Joaquín Rodrigo's evergreen "Concierto de Aranjuez," few stand out like guitarist Sharon Isbin's impressive performance with José Serebrier and the New York Philharmonic. Isbin's exquisite playing carries the piece, and her refined technique, clear execution, subtle timbral control, and tasteful expression sustain interest throughout. She especially holds the listener's attention in the Adagio by playing the ornamental lines with a great variety of colors and carefully nuanced dynamics. The orchestra's bright accompaniment also must be commended, and Serebrier's tight pacing prevents the work from slipping into ponderousness or sentimentality. "Concierto de Aranjuez" is clearly the main draw, but the more interesting pieces are the technically quirky but dramatically effective "Concerto" by Heitor Villa-Lobos and the dynamically orchestrated "Concierto del sur" by Manuel Ponce -- two fabulous guitar concertos that may hold appeal if Rodrigo's classic seems old hat. Isbin delivers meticulous and richly shaded performances of both, and her presence is almost tangible, even when the fully engaged NYP plays tutti. Warner's sound quality is good but somewhat boosted, so a middle volume level may be necessary for comfortable home listening.
New York Times - Allan Kozinn
[Isbin's] performance [of the Concierto de Aranjuez] combines the unimpeachable technical precision that has always been one of her hallmarks and an interpretive warmth that has accrued to her playing more gradually.... [The New York Philharmonic's] performance here is as soulful and fluid as Ms. Isbin's.
Gramophone - William Yeoman
Quite superb.... A marvelous achievement.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/11/2005
Label:
Teldec
UPC:
0825646029624
catalogNumber:
60296

Tracks

  1. Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar & orchestra  - Joaquín Rodrigo  - José Serebrier  -  New York Philharmonic  - Sharon Isbin
  2. Guitar Concerto, A. 501  - Heitor Villa-Lobos  - José Serebrier  -  New York Philharmonic  - Sharon Isbin
  3. Concierto del sur for guitar & orchestra  - Manuel Ponce  - José Serebrier  -  New York Philharmonic  - Sharon Isbin

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