Video Pick of the Week: Xuefei Yang Plays Joaquín Rodrigo’s ‘Invocacion y Danza’

If all you know about Joaquín Rodrigo is his Concierto de Aranjuez, you owe it to yourself to listen to the great Xuefei Yang playing Rodrigo’s Invocacion y Danza at a Serbian guitar festival five years ago. There’s a reason this particular piece is a favorite of both professionals and advanced guitar students the world over: It is highly demanding, with many different shifts in tempo, tone, and color, requiring great control of both hands. It is at once quite modern-sounding (it was written in 1961 and first performed by the late Alirio Diaz the following year), but also dips back to the musical traditions of Rodrigo’s Spanish heritage, even dropping hints at moments of his much earlier Aranjuez. As always, Yang’s playing is deep and heartfelt.