This is one of the very many Spanish pastiches produced by French composers; the poem is equally a pastiche and it is clear that Musset (in his Contes d’Espagne et d’Italie
, 1830) had no great knowledge of the city of Madrid and how it differed in character from Andalusian cities. (The composer leaves out the verse in which Musset refers to his ‘princesse andalouse’ who just happens to be in Castile at the time.) As a portrait of a southern city it is a companion piece to the much more famous Venise, a poem by Musset that Gounod set to magical effect. Puget produces a lively bolero with considerable vocal demands. The music reminds us of Bizet’s Guitare
and of Schumann’s Der Hidalgo
in equal measure.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006
English: Richard Stokes