de Falla Sheet Music and Biography
Manuel de Falla y Matheu was a Spanish composer born in Andalucia on 23rd November 1876.
Choose from our various arrangements of Spanish Dance No.1 from his Opera, La Vida Breve.
Although not a composer known to everyone, he is one of Spain’s most important musicians from the first half of the 20th century. He joins the likes of Albéniz, Tárrega, and Granados. Read about them and other Spanish composers on our post.
As he became more famous he dropped the Matheu part of his surname.
De Falla’s mother initially taught him to play the piano, then in 1889, Alejandro Odero became his teacher. He founded the literary magazines El Burlón and El Cascabel aged fifteen after becoming interested in literature, though, music was always his passion.
By the age of twenty, he was living in Madrid with his family and taught piano by the distinguished teacher José Tragó and composition by Felipe Padrell. This teaching changed his direction in life.
De Falla won the composition competition of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes for his opera La Vida Breve (Life is Short) in 1904. In addition, he received a prestigious piano prize organised by the piano makers Ortiz y Cussó.
In 1907 de Falla left Madrid and moved to Paris where he met some very distinguished musicians including Claude Debussy, Jean Maurice Ravel, and Paul Dukas. It was whilst living in Paris that he published his first piano pieces and songs.
The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 led him to return to Spain. He then began writing music for the ballet and was later approached to write works for the Russian Ballet. Some of his best-known pieces were written in Madrid.
- 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 to Argentina was 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 to return to Spain, but he declined. He died on 14th November 1946, just 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 Cádiz cathedral.
His picture appeared on Spain’s 1970 100 pesetas banknote.
de Falla Sheet Music Downloads and Further Reading
On music-scores.com we have over fifteen arrangements of Manuel de Falla Sheet Music in PDF format for you to download.