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TONIGHT'S CONCERT OF SPANISH MUSIC
Edwin Evans introduces
To most people the mention of Spanish music suggests the castanet rhythms of the South, the fandango, bolero, and the rest of the dances of sunny Andalusia, in which there is a marked Oriental strain inherited from the Moors and kept alive by the gipsies. At most they might think of the Jota, of which every Spanish province produces its own variety. But Catalonia has lived a different life. It has had but little contact with such music. The bonds that unite to other European lands of the Mediterranean have never been seriously affected by Oriental infiltration. The picturesque annals of the Troubadours abound in distinguished Catalonian names, and from their day to ours the popular poetry and song of the country have always preserved their individual character. Gaspar Cassado is a true Catalonian. He comes before the public mostly as a 'cellist, and is a pupil of Pau Casals, hut he is also an eminent composer and has had works performed at international Festivals. His 'Rapsodia Catalana' is, as the title indicates, a fantasy on Catalonian folktunes, scored with brilliant orchestral effect. The first performance was given on November 8, 1928, at Carnegie Hall, New York, under Dr. Mengelberg, but this will be the first performance in England.
Turina is an Andalusian, born at Seville fifty-two years ago. The full title of the work by which he is represented in this programme is ' Poem in the form of Songs ', and it consists of four vocal pieces preceded by an introduction-he calls it Dedicatory-in which some of the themes of the songs are anticipated. The words are by Campoamor, the inventor of a kind of brief epigrammatic poem, a few lines in length, for which he adopted the general description Doloras. These and Cantares (songs) are the most characteristic of his poems. Of these four pieces the first and fourth are doloras, the second and third cantares. The first is typical : 'Now that my end is near, before I render my account to God, I will make my last confession. I forgive with all my heart even those whom I have always hated, but you whom I have loved so much I cannot forgive'. The second combines two simple love songs, but the third is more characteristic of the type. It is called 'The Two Fears'. 'At dusk she said: "Why so near me? I am afraid of thee " - At dawn she said: â€œWhy so far from me, I am afraid without thee".' The concluding song is an appeal to Venus. 'I would love thee long, goddess, if thou wouldst moderate thy ardour', to which Venus replies that 'though a goddess, like all women she prefers mad ardour though it be brief'.
Granados, who was drowned nineteen years ago at the torpedoing of the Sussex, was a Catalonian but, in his devotion to folklore, like his fellow countrymen Pedrell and Albeniz he made all Spain his province. He is best known by his 'Goyescas' and his Spanish Dances. The latter, twelve in number, are published in four books. Five of them, Nos. 4, 5, 6, 10, and 12, have been frequently heard at Queen's Hall in an orchestral version by Sir Henry Wood.
J. Lamote de Grignon, another Catalonian composer, founder and conductor of the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, has also orchestrated three of them, Nos. 2, 5, and 6, under the titles Oriental, Andaluza, Rondalla Aragonesa, the third of which is to be performed on this occasion. Its main portion consists of a three-four measure which quickens gradually to Presto, but there is a quieter, more languorous middle section, when the dance is interrupted for a song entrusted to a muted trumpet.
Manuel de Falla, the foremost figure in contemporary Spanish music, is represented in this programme by the two concluding episodes of his gitaneria (gypsy play) El Amor Brujo (Love the Magician). These are the Danza del Juego de Amor and Las Campanas del Amancccr, the latter the joyous bells of the morning which greet the release of the haunted lovers, Candelas and Carmelo, from the malignant pursuit of the Spectre.
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Feedback about THE LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, National Programme Daventry, 22.05, 4 February 1935
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