I just listened to the latest album, Aranjuez, by classical guitarist, Miloš Karadaglić. Originally from Montenegro, Miloš as he’s often called, has made quite a name for himself in the world of classical guitar music. This latest album is filled with beautiful and relaxing music inspired by music traditionally played in the region of the Spanish city, Aranjuez, after which the CD is named.
By all accounts, it’s a rather mellow collection of music, not exactly something that would conjure up images of flamenco dancers or some really fast-paced and intense playing. It does however include many examples of rich, melodic tones throughout, all written by 20th century composers Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999) and Manuel de Falla (1876-1946).
The majority of the tunes were accompanied by an orchestra which was not what I was expecting but they turned out to be quite lovely, such as the concierto for guitar and orchestra by Rodrigo. It starts with a lively Allegro con spirito movement which moves on to an Adagio movement to which I can picture couples slow dancing. It finishes with a very nice Allegro gentile which I really enjoyed.
From there it transitioned to the music of de Falla who starts with an homage to French composer Claude Debussy. If you like Debussy’s music, you’ll like this one as well. After that though was a great piece called Danza del Molinero which I especially enjoyed because it was just skillfully played solo guitar with no accompaniment. It’s a fast-moving and exciting piece which shows the percussive possibilities of the instrument as well. Lots of fun! You don’t want to miss this one!
Returning to Rodrigo’s music, Miloš plays the 4-movement Fantasía para un Gentilhombre for Guitar and Small Orchestra which contains my favorite track of the whole album (albeit the shortest!) the Danza de las Hachas, or Dance of the Axes. I love music from the baroque and early music eras and this particular movement, though written by a man who lived the entire 20th century, is reminiscent of those earlier times in history. The final movement, Canario, is a wonderful close to the album.
I’ll be honest. Overall, this is not really an album I’d listen to over and over again. This whole album is more of an orchestra playing with a guitar soloist up front, but based on how it’s written, it’s as if the soloist were more of an afterthought. Don’t get me wrong – it’s played well. I just don’t like these particular compositions which is more of a general dislike of what the composer wrote but not at all a dislike of the soloist. Miloš was great, so I’d really like to hear him play different music – something that better showcases his talents.
That said, the music was all new to me, so it was fun to listen to. Everything was beautifully played by a very talented musician whose other music I look forward to checking out.
If you’d like to learn more about Miloš and his music, visit his website at www.milosguitar.com.