CDE84536 Alma Española - Spanish Songs

Alma Espanola - Spanish Songs

Alma Espanola - Spanish Songs

Product Description



Songs by


Sound Sample

Enrique Granados Campina was born on 27th July 1867 in Lerida. He concentrated from an early age on music and studied the piano in Barcelona with Joan Baptista Pujol. Pujol himself had studied with the Mallorcan pianist Pere Tintorer and had created what might be described as the original Catalan piano tradition. Among his numerous students were Albeniz, Malats (teacher of Mompou), and Ricard Vines.

In 1887, Granados moved to Paris to study with Charles de Beriot. In Paris, as well as continuing his friendships with Albeniz, Nin and Vines, he came into direct contact with the most important French composers of the time - Faure, Debussy, Ravel, Dukas and d'Indy, and established a very close relationship with Camille Saint-Saens. In 1889 he returned to Barcelona to begin his career as a performing virtuoso/composer. In 1892 he gave the first performance in Spain of Grieg's piano concerto. During this time he also performed many chamber music concerts with close friends such as Pau Casals, Mathieu Crickboom, Jacques Thibaud, Emil von Sauer and Camille Saint-Saens. 1895 - 1898 saw the premieres of several of his stage works, Miel de Alcarria and Maria del Carmen, together with various chamber works and piano pieces.

In 1901 he founded the Granados Academy which was to become the hallmark of teaching the art of playing the piano according to Granados. Sadly, he and his wife Amparo were drowned when the HMS Sussex on which they were travelling from London to Barcelona (the last leg of their return trip from the successful premiere of the opera Goyescas in New York) was torpedoed crossing the English Channel.

Until his death Granados directed the Academy, after which it was taken over by his pupil and friend Frank Marshall. In order to solve inheritance problems, it was decided by Marshall and the Tutor of the Academy, Felipe Pedrell, to change its name to the Marshall Academy, thereby making Marshall the sole owner.

Granados is often recognised, together with Albeniz and Falla, as a nationalistic composer but the term neo-romantic might be more accurate as he developed a personal and romantic style, until that time unknown in Spain. Granados' was an expressive style much influenced by Chopin, Schumann, Schubert and Grieg and by the 18th century majas of Goya. He represents the romantic and poetic piano of 19th century Spain.

MANUEL DE FALLA (1876-1946)

Born in Cadiz on 23rd November 1876, Manuel de Falla was without doubt the greatest Spanish composer of the 20th Century. His first contact with music came through his mother teaching him the piano, further music lessons from local professors and the sound of the andalucian folk music all around him. At this early age he was already dreaming of becoming a composer. When Falla was twenty, his family moved to Madrid where he studied with the distinguished teacher Jose Trago. He then went on to study composition with Felipe Pedrell, the teacher and scholar who led the revival of Spanish music which took place towards the end of the 19th century. In 1904 Falla's one-act opera La Vida Breve (A short life) won the composition competition of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes and at the same time he was awarded a prestigious piano prize organised by the piano makers Ortiz y Cusso.

In 1907 Falla achieved a long-held ambition by travelling to Paris where he was welcomed by Ravel, Debussy (with whom he had previously corresponded) and especially by Paul Dukas. He completed several chamber works and began work on Noches en los Jardines de España (Nights in gardens of Spain) and his Seven Spanish Folk Songs. At the outbreak of war in 1914, he was compelled to return to Spain and re-installed himself in Madrid. At the end of that year his opera La Vida Breve was performed in the Theatre of the Zarzuela and he started a period of intensive work.

In January 1915, the Seven Folk Songs were premiered in Madrid and a year later he was approached by Diaghilev to write a work for the Russian ballet and, in response, composed El Sombrero de Tres Picos (The three-cornered hat) which proved in 1919 to be highly successful in London with choreography by Massine and designs by Picasso.

Falla then started a series of important musical collaborations for the theatre with the couple Maria Lejarraga y Gregorio Martinez Sierra and he also started work on El Amor Brujo, the first version of which, Por fin conoce Granada, was premiered in Madrid in April. Following the death of both his parents in 1919, he settled in Granada which was to be his home until the end of the civil war in 1939. In that year El Sombrero de Tres Picos was premiered to great acclaim in Paris and Falla also composed His Homage to Claude Debussy, commissioned by the Musical Review. Back in Granada, Falla composed several of his most important works including El Retablo de Maestro Pedro (Master Peter's Puppet Show), Psyche and Concerto per Clavicembalo (Harpsichord Concerto).

Life in the andalucian city put him in touch with a group of vibrant young musicians with whom he became involved in many artistic and intellectual activities. The great figure amongst them was the writer and poet Federico Garcia Lorca with whom he formed a strong and lasting friendship.

In 1922 they created together the first Concurso del Cante Jondo (the Competition of Deep Song) for professional and non-professional performers. Deep Song is another name for Flamenco singing and the passion they both had for "canto primitivo andaluz" (primitive andalucian singing) has created a strong revival and recognition of this important art form. Falla, like many andalucian people, had a great love for the Seville Festival of Semana Santa and frequented it regularly.

In July 1936 the Spanish civil war began and, from the beginning of military rule, a cruel repression of free speech and all artistic activities took over in Granada. On 18th August, his friend Lorca died and Falla's spirit suffered a mortal blow. By 1937 his health had deteriorated and he could hardly walk. He tried to act disinterestedly in politics but in January 1938 Franco created The Spanish Institute and, without asking Falla, made him its President. Falla felt it was no longer possible for him to live in Spain and, in the summer of 1939 when in Argentina on an already planned visit, he decided to emigrate there.

Once in Argentina, he started work on his orchestral suite, Atlantida, which he was never to finish. His poor health and his serious worries about the war in Europe affected him deeply and continually occupied his mind. Never having received any payment for the rights of his works, he lived modestly in Alta Gracia until his death in November 1946, just a few days before his 70th birthday.

JOAQUÍN TURINA (1882 1949)

Joaquin Turina Perez was born in Seville on 9th December 1882. Pianist, composer and director of The Spanish Orchestra, he combined the language of andalucian harmony and rhythm with his own impressionistic orchestration.

He was born into a middle class, well to do family, and was surrounded from the start by an artistic atmosphere which contributed greatly to his development as a musician. In 1894 he began his formal musical education of theory, harmony and counterpoint. Almost immediately, he started to compose short pieces and, on his debut in March 1897, he played the Thalberg Fantasy, a theme from Moses by Rossini. This propelled him into his career as a concert pianist and in 1902 he moved to Madrid where he rapidly became part of the musical scene, writing there his first Zarzuela, La Sulamita.

In 1905, like many musicians of his time, he moved to Paris. He studied the piano with Moszkowsky and theory with Vincent d'Indy, and in the Cantorum School became a great friend of Albeniz and Falla. It was Albeniz who encouraged Turina to look for his inspiration in the popular music of Spain and Andalucia. His work was deeply influenced by the folk music of Andalucia and, especially, of Flamenco. His Quintet, which was premiered in Paris, was considered his Opus 1 and demonstrated a new way of seeing music. Rarely did he return in style to anything previously written.

Turina's Sonata Romantica, dedicated to Albeniz, was premiered in 1909 and in 1913 the Madrid Symphony Orchestra gave the first performance of his symphonic poem, La Procesión del Rocio (the procession of the virgin of Rocio) - a very important andalucian and gypsy festival.

With Manuel de Falla, he returned to Madrid in 1914 and took on the triple activity of concert soloist, conductor and composer. Performances followed, in 1920 of his Sinfonia Sevillana and in 1923 of his opera, Jardin de Oriente in the Teatro Real. In 1931 he became head of the composition department in the Royal Conservatoire and in 1941 he was appointed General Commissioner of Music in Spain.

Turina was a prolific composer, writing pieces for theatre, orchestra and many songs and much chamber music. In the pianistic field, he produced grand sonatas and other solo pieces, concentrating on the picturesque aspect. Most popular of these are the Danzas Fantasticas (1920) and La Oración del Torero (1929). Turina died in Madrid in January 1949.

LUIS -MIGUEL MANZANO Arreglos de Manuel De Falla Siete Canciones Populares Españoles (Luis -Miguel Manzano, Arrangements of Manuel De Falla's Seven Spanish Folk Songs)

The idea to have Falla's seven folk songs arranged by a Flamenco guitarist came to Idit through extensive listening and reading about Flamenco and Falla's passion for it.

She has dreamed ever since of finding a Flamenco guitarist with the imagination and talent to make an arrangement for her, and to record the result. Many Flamenco musicians have arranged Falla's music for Flamenco (a natural thing to do, since he used Flamenco in his own music and wrote much of gypsy stories and themes). Quite a few have set the first one, El Paño Moruno, most famously Paco de Lucia and Carmen Linares.

Idit felt it was time to make a complete arrangement, and so having met Luis-Miguel in Madrid last summer, and having listened to his playing, she felt sure he was the man for the task. His lyrical style of playing and natural musical imagination and fire, coupled with his instinctive love for these songs, made him the ideal choice. Together they set about listening to Falla, and discovering, through rehearsing in Luis Miguel's family home, that most of these songs are sung in their popular form by gypsies on different occasions such as New Year, marriages, and juergas. During rehearsing each song, there would always be a member of the family who would come in and sing it in the way that they know it, an exhilarating and inspiring discovery! It was therefore, neither a forced not a strained process to arrange the songs.

Each is inspired by a different Flamenco palo (type of song). El Paño Moruno, Jota, Canción and Polo by the Bulería, the Seguidilla Murciana by the Fandango, the Asturiana by the Tientos, and the Nana, by Idit´s favourite palo, the Soleá.



Fernando Obradors was born in Barcelona, Spain, and spent the majority of his life in the Canary Islands, coming back to Barcelona towards the end of his life. Not much is known about him. His 8 Spanish Folk Songs are much loved and widely performed, and Las Coplas del Curro Dulce is the last one of this well known cycle.

IDIT ARAD -Soprano

Israeli born soprano Idit Arad started her life as a cellist under the tuition of Professor Emanuel Gruber. Conductor Stanley Sperber heard her singing and suggested she should take lessons. She then went on to study with the late Juliet Madioni at the Rubin Academy High School in Jerusalem. Idit became part of a select group of young Israeli musicians chosen by the America-Israel Cultural Foundation to take part in special concerts and summer camps where she participated in workshops and private coaching sessions with musicians such as Yitzhak Stern, Leon Fleicher, and Menahem Pressler. As a teenager she won several scholarships and prizes: The Wizo National Competition for the discovery of young talent - second prize, Haifa Young Musicians Competition - first prize, and a full studies Scholarship with excellence from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation for all for years of her high school education.

At the end of her high school years, Idit met the renowned Professor Vera Rozsa at the Jerusalem Music Centre, and came to study with her at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. She received a full Scholarship from the Clive Marks Foundation for her Studies at the Guildhall. Idit then carried on her operatic training at the Federico Davia Opera Studio, London, receiving a Scholarship from the Haifa Cultural Foundation. Since then she has performed as a soloist in concerts and operatic productions in England, Spain, Israel, Hungary, and France. She has performed principal operatic roles in productions of Don Giovanni (Donna Elvira), Magic Flute (Pamina), The Dinner Engagement by Lennox Berkeley (Susan), The Marriage of Figaro (Countess), La Boheme(Musetta), Donizetti's Rita (Rita), Falstaff (Nannetta) and Hansel and Gretel (Gretel).

Idit is a regular soloist with the Schubert Players, with whom she performed Handel's "Messiah" & Vivaldi's "Gloria" on three different tours in Andalucia, Spain, as well as Schubert's G minor Mass, in St John's, Smith Square, and several concerts in Music Societies in England, including the Penrith Music Society, Faversham Music Society, and in the Mansfield Theatre. Other important concerts include: a recital with pianist Donna Stoering and the Rosalfni String Trio at St John's, Smith Square; Donna Elvira in a concert performance of Don Giovanni at St John's, Smith Square; Mozart's Requiem with BES; a recital entitled "Semitic Harmonies" with flutist Wissam Boustany in a concert series called "Building Bridges through Music and the Arts" given by Gillian Humphreys' Concordia Foundation at St John's, Smith Square; a Concert of Operatic arias and Spanish songs in the Juan Miro Institute, Barcelona; Vaughan Williams' "Serenade to Music" with The Sinfonia of Westminster at St John's, Smith Square; Mozart's "Vespere Solennes" and Vivaldi's "Gloria" with the Atlas Camerata Orchestra, Israel and Mozart's "Coronation Mass" with Ensemble Vocal Solist de Paris; a devised show of operatic arias for Opera Stripped in various venues in London, Budapest and Israel, directed by Antonio Peluso; soloist in AmourLebenFolia a devised show in the Covent Garden Theatre by Federico Davia. She also featured in a trailer for Opera Stripped of operatic scenes from Carmen (Habanera) and Musetta (Quando men vo) accompanied by Michael Pollok.

Idit has given many song recitals in London in such venues such as St John's, Smith Square, St James's Piccadilly, the Kenneth More Theatre and St Martin in the fields.

Idit has always had a deep affinity with Spain, and Spanish classical music, possibly because of her own roots her family on her mother's side are Sepharadi jews, the ancient jews of Spain. From a young age she has sung the Spanish repertoire and, even before speaking the language, many people commented on her authentic sound. Nine years ago she started travelling to Spain to perform with the Schubert Players, where she discovered Flamenco - and the rest is, as they say, history. She fell in love with the music and its people, studied Spanish and lived in Jerez de la Frontera, the birthplace of Flamenco, for six weeks. Ever since, she has been going to Spain three or four times a year for Flamenco festivals and events. She now has good friends in the Flamenco gypsy community of Madrid and Jerez.

Making a disc of her favourite music, and having the Seven Folk Songs by Falla arranged by a Flamenco guitarist, has been a dream come true for Idit. She would like to thank from the bottom of her heart to the Marquess of Zetland and the Zetland Foundation, who have sponsored this CD, and for all the support they have lent her over the years.

YUVAL ZORN - Pianist

Israeli conductor Yuval Zorn joined the Vilar Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, between 2002 2004, as conductor for the 2002 intake. During that period he conducted the world premieres of John Brown's Babette's Feast for ROH Education and of William Tuckett's ballet The Wind in the Willows for ROH2 , The Soldier's Tale for ROH Education and three newly commissioned chamber operas for Nitro at the Opera for ROH2. He also worked closely with Antonio Pappano on the productions of Falstaff, Madama Butterfly, I Pagliacci, Don Giovanni and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and in 2003 he was invited by Maestro Pappano to conduct two items of the main stage Vilar Young Artists concert presented by The Royal Opera. He has also performed as a solo pianist and accompanist in concerts and recitals in Israel, France, Ireland and Holland, making his Wigmore Hall debut with bass Paul Reeves.

Yuval studied piano and conducting at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music and Dance (professors Oren and Rodan), where he won various prizes, including the Concerto Competition and the Head of Academy Prize. He then attended the National Opera Studio répétiteurs' course, supported by The Friends of Covent Garden, the Nelly Groner Bursary and the NJL Foundation. He attended a term at the RSAMD as a recipient of the Fe and Walter Wolfe Piano Scholarship (conducting his own composition The Colossus at the Postgraduate Composition Concert) and the 2001 Dartington Advanced Conducting Course with Diego Masson, conducting Die Entführung aus dem Serail and La traviata, before working as a répétiteur at Glyndebourne and English National Opera.


Luis Miguel was born in Madrid to a gypsy family steeped in Flamenco history and tradition. His mother is the dancer Dolores Manzano Nieto, and amongst other well-known artists in his family is his great grandfather, the guitarist El Pelao who played for Remedios Amaya. El Pelao had 5 sons all dancers, amongst them El Fati (Luis Miguel's grandfather), Faico and Juan el Pelao (the creator of the Farruca). His aunt is the singer Charo Manzano, who sung for, amongst many others, Vicente amigo & Joaquín Cortés. Apart from learning and assimilating all that is Flamenco from his family, his guitar teachers have been El Entri, his uncle on his mother's side, El Calentito, and Manuel Parilla.

Alma Espanola - Spanish Songs