In Narciso Yepes and the Concierto de Aranjuez I described the close relationship in the late 1940 and 1950s between the up and coming classical guitarist Narciso Yepes and the inspired Spanish conductor Ataúlfo Argenta.
On 16 December 1947 Yepes had made his Madrid debut, performing the Concierto de Aranjuez with the National Orchestra of Spain under the baton of Argenta. The performance was an outstanding success, due apparently in no small measure to the conductor, who it seems had taken it upon himself to promote this as yet little known concerto, and who seems to have guided the young guitarist in aspects of its interpretation. Guitarist and conductor took the Concierto on international tour in Europe, and the success of these performances ensured the fame of both Yepes and the beautiful Concierto de Aranjuez. Argenta and Yepes recorded it for Decca in the late 1950s.
At the time of writing the earlier post I lamented the fact that (as far as I was aware at the time) this particular recording had not been re-released either on CD or on iTunes. It turns out that the recording was in fact re-released on CD in 2008, and is now available on iTunes. The easiest way to find it is to enter Ataulfo Argenta into the iTunes search box, and look for the coupling of the Yepes Concierto de Aranjuez with the equally wonderful recording by Gonzalo Soriano of Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain, again under the baton of Argenta.
These are historic performances and well worth listening to. Although both Yepes and Soriano (a specialist in Spanish music) made subsequent recordings of these works, Argenta leaves the other conductors for dead, and in both cases I think this is the soloist’s best performance. Also, this is the one recording by Yepes of the Concierto de Aranjuez which predates his development of the ten-string guitar, which with its four resonating strings has the merit of giving the guitar extra sonority, but I think the thinner sound of the standard six-string guitar better suits this particular work.