The sun is glorious today… it’s definitely a day to be outside relaxing with a book and some classical music playing in the background.
This week Music Scores has expanded its arrangements of La Vida Breve: Spanish Dance No.1 by Manuel de Falla. If you are interested written below is a bit of information on Falla’s life.
Last weeks uploads
Manuel de Falla y Matheu was a Spanish composer born in Andalucia.
de Falla is not a composer known to the masses, however he was one of Spain’s most important musicians during the first half of the 20th century along with Albéniz, Tárrega and Granados. As he became more famous he dropped the y Matheu part of his surname.
His mother initially taught him to play the piano and in 1889 he continued learning with Alejandro Odero. He founded founded the literary magazines El Burlón and El Cascabel after becoming interested in literature in 1892 aged 15. However music was always going to be his thing.
23/11/1876 – 14/11/1946
By the age of twenty the family moved to Madrid where he was taught piano by the distinguished teacher José Tragó and composition by Felipe Padrell.
He won the composition competition of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes for his opera La Vida breve (Life is Short) in 1904. Around the same time he was awarded a prestigious piano prize organised by the piano makers Ortiz y Cussó.
In 1907 he left Madrid and moved to Paris where he met some very distinguished musicians including Debussy, Ravel and Dukas. Here he published his first piano pieces and songs. The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 led him to return back to Spain where he began writing music for the ballet and was later approached to write works for the Russian Ballet. Here in Madrid he wrote some of his best known pieces.
- The nocturne for piano and orchestra Noches en los jardines de Espana (1916)
- The ballet El amor brujo (1915)
- The ballet The Magistrate and the Miller’s Wife (El corregidor y la molinera), after revision, this became El sombrero de tres picos (1917) and was produced by Serge Diaghilev with set design and costumes by Pablo Picasso.
He retired to Grenada after the death of his parents and remained there until the end of the Civil War in 1939, composing many of his most important works:-
- El retablo de maese Pedro (Master Peter’s Puppet Show)
- Psyché and Concerto per clavicembalo (Harpsichord Concerto)
His last move was to Argentina where he premiered Suite Homenajes in 1939. In 1940, he was named a Knight of the Order of King Alfonso X of Castile. Franco’s government offered him a large pension if he would return to Spain, but he refused. He died in 1946, days before his 70th birthday, leaving the vast oratorio Atlántida still unfinished. He never married or had children. In 1947 his remains were taken back to Spain and entombed in the cathedral at Cádiz.
His picture appeared on Spain’s 1970 100 pesetas banknote.