Obradors La Poema de la Jungla. Rodo Symphony No 2
Besides expanding the recorded repertoire of two Barcelona-born musicians – Obradors, the elder by seven years, so far represented only by some songs, Rodo totally unknown here – the Gran Canaria Philharmonic is also paying tribute to two of its past conductors, the former for only one year before he died in 1945, the latter for 11 years from 1951. In El poema de la Jungla Obradors – like Koechlin earlier – was inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s classic. Written in 1938 and winning a Government of Catalonia prize, it was perhaps intended to serve as a ballet, but no projected scenario is known, and it exists as a symphonic suite in three movements, with an idyllic but rather diffuse Nocturne in its centre. Influenced by impressionism (reflecting his Paris training) but simple in outline, with well-defined themes, and transparent in texture, it is imaginatively scored: the most striking movement, as well as by far the longest, is the finale, which builds from an initial mysterious poetry to increasingly energetic and often brilliant action, though with occasional broader, more tranquil episodes.
The Second Symphony by Gabriel Rodo, a distinguished cellist and successful conservatoire director, dates from 1957: its composition was reputedly stimulated by the news of the death of Sibelius. It is certainly an extremely serious-minded work – even the fast movements are shot through with disquiet and anxiety – and very well written; but except vestigially in the Andante lento movement I do not recognize any of the Hindemithian expressionism mentioned in the booklet-note as mingling with an impressionist basis: rather would I classify the idiom as tonally neo-romantic (firmly in the key of D). This unknown composer is really something of a find, and Adrian Leaper is to be thanked for bringing him to our notice. Playing and recording alike are of a very high order.'