The National Symphony put on a small celebration of Spanish music last night at Wolf Trap with a rare all-Hispanic program. It was clear, though, that the excited audience that half-filled the Meadow Center was there less in the cause of Spanish composition than in bewitchment with the guitar.
The guitar crowd was there for the Romeros--the father and the three sons. Such was the nature of the standing ovations that kept coming that by the time the Romeros got around to indicating that there would be a second encore, you might have thought we were at a fourth down and goal to go.
Anyway, the guitar playing was splendid. The main solo work was by Rodrigo, as seems almost always to be the case these days in a concerto for guitar and orchestra. By now, Rodrigo's written concertos are almost all the big virtuosos. This one, called "Concierto andaluz," caught fire most intensely in a languorous slow movement, filled around a lovely melody in one instrument playing against the descending scale of another. Rodrigo limits the orchestra to a minimal role, with solo instrumentalists often playing as if chamber music. The encores were a Vivaldi allegro movement and a malaguena by the senior Romero.
Enrique Garcia-Asensio, who was once the assistant conductor of the National Symphony, led the second suite from Faloa's ballet, "A Three-Cornered Hat," Turina's "Symphonia sevillana" and two excerpts from Spanish Zaruelas, both Hispanic equivalents of an operetta. There was Jimenez's overture to "La Boda De Luis Alonso" and the prelude to "La revoltosa," by Chapi e Lorente."
The orchestra, which is having a very heavy week, played well but without the sparkle that can make its music really glow.