Aranjuez, the new release by photogenic Montenegrin classical guitar virtuoso Miloš Karadaglić, is a Spanish odyssey of sorts. Book-ended by two of the most popular concertos in the repertoire - Joaquín Rodrigo’s perennially popular masterpiece Concierto de Aranjuez (1939) and his Fantasía para un gentilhombre (1954) - the album pays tribute to the Hispanic composers and musicians who placed the modern classical guitar on the international stage. As well as the aforementioned pieces, the record includes Rodrigo’s intricate Invocación y danza and two works by Manuel de Falla: Homenaje dedicated to Claude Debussy (a composer influenced by Spanish cante jondo) and, Danza del Molinero from the 1919 ballet El Sombrero de Tres Picos.
Described by Miloš as “a feast” compared to the “tasting menus” of his previous albums, the record does indeed reflect a deepening of the artist’s skill and a focus and purpose that makes it feel all-of-a-piece. Accompanied by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Karadaglić’s playing is fluid and supple throughout, his guitar-work vibrant and commanding in the solo spots and exquisitely complemented by the Orchestra elsewhere. The opening Concerto is delivered with consummate sensitivity and feeling, with fresh textures brought to even its much-loved second movement, and the concluding Fantasia is equally beautiful, with the Españoleta y Fanfare de la Caballería de Nápoles a highlight. An elegant, compelling and confident album.Aranjuez is available on Deutsche Grammophon/Mercury Classics.