La oración del torero
, Op 34 (‘The bullfighter’s prayer’), is an example of the influence of folk music in Turina’s compositions. Originally this was composed for ‘laúd’ quartet. Translated strictly, ‘laúd’ means ‘lute’, but Turina was not referring to the lutes of the Renaissance or Baroque eras; these are Spanish folkloric instruments, more similar to mandolins with their pear-shaped bodies and doubled strings. As an ensemble they cover a wide range of pitches, with the bandurria and laudete playing the highest parts and the laúd tenor and laudón covering the tenor and bass ranges. Turina described the inspiration for this: ‘During an afternoon of bullfighting in the Madrid arena … I saw my work. I was in the court of horses. Behind a small door, there was a chapel, filled with incense, where toreadors went right before facing death. It was then that there appeared, in front of my eyes, in all its plenitude, this subjectively musical and expressive contrast between the tumult of the arena, the public that awaited the fiesta, and the devotion of those who, in front of this poor altar, filled with touching poetry, prayed to God to protect their lives.’ The piece was written in collaboration with the laúd ensemble Quarteto Aguilar in 1925. The following year Turina rearranged it for string quartet, as well as for both string orchestra and piano trio.
from notes by William C Krause © 2012