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Suite popular Española

composer
arranger
based on Paul Kochański's transcriptions for violin and piano of Falla's Siete Canciones populares españolas

 
Manuel de Falla was, together with Albéniz and Granados, one of the three great Spanish composers to draw inspiration from and be greatly influenced by the popular music of Spain. Born in Cádiz in 1876, he composed the Siete Canciones Populares Españolas for voice and piano in 1914. The original piece consists of a set of seven short songs which takes the listener on a journey through the different regions of Spain. Later, thisset of miniatures was transcribed for the violin by Paul Kochanski. The set was renamed in its instrumental version as Suite popular Española, containing six songs of the original seven.

The character of the first movement, ‘El Paño Moruno’ (the Stained Cloth) originates from the South of Spain, the song inflected with Moorish and Flamenco character and dramatically Gypsy flavoured. The movement alternates between a dark, rhythmic melody passed between the piano bass line and an answering violin pizzicato, followed by intense and almost strained melodic sections that imitate the style of the Flamenco singers of Andalucia.

Following this comes ‘Nana’, a gentle lullaby marked Calmo e Sostenuto, with the violin instructed to play mormorato. The accompaniment, slowly turning through cycles of harmony, supports a hushed violin melody which is seemingly calm and yet quietly anxious. The popular folk song ‘Canción’ follows, with a gently undulating accompaniment and sunny melodic line. The theme builds into a fortissimo melody of boisterous chords before the movement ends gently.

This prepares us for the shock and high drama of ‘Polo’ which personifies the fiery character of the Flamenco style of Southern Spain. Rapid note repetitions and syncopated accented rhythms provide driving energy, and this is overlaid with intense declamatory violin phrases. The movement ends with a violent and dramatic flourish.

‘Asturiana’ takes us to the far North of Spain, and to the other extreme of the previous movement. Desolate, sparse harmony and melody evoke cold windswept landscapes of the region. The piece ends with ‘Jota’, a noisy, colourful and joyful dance from the streets of the Aragon region of Spain. Traditionally the dance incorporates the use of castanets, and marked Allegro vivo the movement is energeticand bustling. Interspersed with slower, romantic and seemingly improvised sections, the piece closes with a warm slow section that gently ends our Spanish journey.

from notes by Sebastian See-Schierenberg © 2015

Recordings

Sounds of Spain & the Americas
Studio Master: SIGCD405Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

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