Sharon Isbin and Isabel Leonard
Thursday June 28 7:00pm

Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano
Sharon Isbin, guitar

Overview

This performance will be moved to Venetian Theater due to inclement weather.

Please pick up your adjusted tickets at the Venetian Theater Box Office upon arrival.
Contact the Box Office at 914.232.1252 or boxoffice@caramoor.org if you have any questions.


Join us for a Spanish program performed by Metropolitan Opera star Isabel Leonard and renowned classical guitarist Sharon Isbin in the perfectly-suited setting of the enchanting Spanish Courtyard of the historic Rosen House. Featuring works by Enrique Granados, Manuel de Falla, Xavier Montsalvatge, Federico García Lorca, and others.

“a study in exquisite beauty … Isbin and Leonard swing with infectious enthusiasm!”
Gramophone
Artists

Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano
Sharon Isbin, guitar

Program

Lorca Canciones españolas antiguas (trans. by Sharon Isbin)
El café de Chinitas
Romance de Don Boyso
Sevillanas del siglo XVIII
Granados Spanish Dance #5
Rodrigo Aranjuez ma pensée
Montsalvatge Canción de cuna para dormir a un negrito (arr. by Sharon Isbin)
Lorca La Tarara (arr. Emilio de Torre / arr. by Sharon Isbin)
Tárrega Capricho árabe
Falla Siete canciones populares españolas (arr. by Pujol/Llobet)


Isabel Leonard

Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano

Artist Website Listen Watch

Highly acclaimed for her “passionate intensity and remarkable vocal beauty,” the multiple Grammy Award-winning Isabel Leonard continues to thrill audiences both in the opera house and on the concert stage. In repertoire that spans from Vivaldi to Mozart to Thomas Ades, she has graced the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Paris Opera, Salzburg Festival, Bavarian State Opera, Carnegie Hall, Glyndebourne Festival, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro, Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte, Charlotte in Werther, Blanche de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites, Costanza in Griselda, the title roles in La Périchole and Der Rosenkavalier, as well as Sesto in both Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito and Handel’s Giulio Cesare.

Isabel Leonard has performed with orchestras and ensembles around the world and can be heard on two Grammy Award-winning recordings: The Tempest from the Metropolitan Opera and L’enfant et les sortilèges with Seiji Ozawa.

She has appeared with some of the foremost conductors of her time: Valery Gergiev, Gustavo Dudamel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Yannick Nézét-Seguin, Franz Welser-Möst, Plácido Domingo, Edward Gardner, Edo de Waart, James Conlon, Michele Mariotti, Harry Bicket, Andris Nelsons, and Michael Tilson Thomas with the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Vienna Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, among others. Ms. Leonard is in constant demand as a recitalist and is on the Board of Trustees at Carnegie Hall. She is a multiple Grammy Award winner, most recently for Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges with Seiji Ozawa on Decca and The Tempest from the Metropolitan Opera on Deutsche Grammophon, both Best Opera Recording. Ms. Leonard is the recipient of the Richard Tucker Award and joined the supporters of the Prostate Cancer Foundation to lend her voice in honor of her father who died from the disease when she was in college.

This season, she appears at the Metropolitan Opera (Le nozze di Figaro), Vienna State Opera and Bavarian State Opera (La Cenerentola), and Washington National Opera (Il barbiere di Siviglia). In concert, she performs Ravel’s L’heure espagnole with Charles Dutoit and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. To celebrate the 100th birthday of Leonard Bernstein, Ms. Leonard will perform Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, as well as her first performances of Maria in West Side Story in concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. To further commemorate the Bernstein centennial, Ms. Leonard will give an all-Bernstein recital celebrating his music for the stage, screen, and concert stage in New York, San Francisco, Fort Worth, Chapel Hill, and Washington DC. She sings SongFest with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood and will sing excerpts from West Side Story with the Boston Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas at Tanglewood on August 25, 2018, Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday.

 

Sharon Isbin

Sharon Isbin, guitar

Artist Website Listen Watch

Acclaimed for her extraordinary lyricism, technique and versatility, multiple GRAMMY Award winner Sharon Isbin has been hailed as “the pre-eminent guitarist of our time.” She is the winner of Guitar Player magazine’s “Best Classical Guitarist” award, and the Munich, Toronto, and Madrid international competitions. She has appeared as soloist with over 170 orchestras and has given sold-out performances in the world’s finest halls, including New York’s Carnegie and Avery Fisher Halls, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center, London’s Barbican and Wigmore Halls, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Paris’ Châtelet, Vienna’s Musikverein, Munich’s Herkulessaal, Madrid’s Teatro Real, and many others.

She has served as Artistic Director/Soloist of festivals she created for Carnegie Hall, the Ordway Music Theatre (St. Paul), New York’s 92nd Street Y, and the acclaimed national radio series Guitarjam. A frequent guest on NPR’s All Things Considered and Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, she has been profiled on television throughout the world, including CBS Sunday Morning, and was featured as soloist on the GRAMMY-nominated soundtrack of Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award-winning The Departed. On September 11, 2002, Ms. Isbin performed at Ground Zero for the internationally televised memorial. Among other career highlights, she performed in concert at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama, and was the only classical artist to perform in the 2010 GRAMMY Awards. She has been profiled in periodicals from People to Elle, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as well as appearing on the cover of over 45 magazines. Her recent national television performances on PBS include the Billy Joel Gershwin Prize with Josh Groban, Tavis Smiley, and American Public Television’s presentation of the acclaimed one-hour documentary Sharon Isbin: Troubadour seen by millions on over 200 PBS stations across the US, and winner of the 2015 ASCAP Television Broadcast Award. Foreign television broadcasts include Europe, Japan and Mexico, and the film was released with bonus performances on DVD/Blu-ray. Watch the trailer at: www.sharonisbintroubadour.com

Sharon Isbin is the recipient of numerous Grammy Awards as well as awards from Echo Klassik, Gramophone, and more. In 1989, she established the classical guitar program at Juilliard.

Ms. Isbin’s catalogue of over 25 recordings — from Baroque, Spanish/Latin, and 20th Century to crossover and jazz-fusion — reflects remarkable versatility. Her latest releases, Sharon Isbin: 5 Classic Albums (Warner) and Sharon Isbin & Friends: Guitar Passions (Sony) with rock/jazz guests Steve Vai, Steve Morse, Heart’s Nancy Wilson, and Stanley Jordan, have been #1 bestsellers. Her 2010 GRAMMY Award-winning CD Journey to the New World with guests Joan Baez and Mark O’Connor spent 63 consecutive weeks on the top Billboard charts. Other GRAMMYs include her world premiere recording of concerti written for her by Christopher Rouse and Tan Dun, and Dreams of a World which made her the first classical guitarist in 28 years to receive the award. She received a Latin GRAMMY nomination for her disc of Rodrigo, Ponce, and Villa-Lobos concerti with the New York Philharmonic — their only recording with a guitar soloist. Other honors include Germany’s Echo Klassik Award and Gramophone‘s Recording of the Year.

Sharon Isbin has been acclaimed for expanding the guitar repertoire with some of the finest new works of the century. She has commissioned and premiered more concerti than any other guitarist, and her American Landscapes with works written for her by Corigliano, Schwantner, and Foss is the first-ever recording of American guitar concerti. Her latest world premieres include Affinity: Concerto for Guitar & Orchestra composed for her by Chris Brubeck, and a song cycle by Richard Danielpour commissioned by Carnegie Hall for their 125th anniversary and by Chicago’s Harris Theater.

Other recent highlights include tours with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Austria’s Tonkünstler Orchestra and Belgium’s Philharmonique de Liege, a week of performances at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, MIDEM Classical Awards in Cannes, a 21-city Guitar Passions tour with Stanley Jordan and Romero Lubambo, performances with the National Symphony, with Sting, and sold-out recitals in Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and the Kennedy Center. Highlights in 2017 include performances with the Detroit Symphony, Corigliano’s Troubadours concerto in New York City, tours with the Pacifica Quartet, and with opera star Isabel Leonard with whom she has recorded an all-Spanish album.

Ms. Isbin appears as soloist with orchestras throughout the world, including the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony, Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, St. Louis, Nashville, New Jersey, Louisville, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Buffalo, and Utah Symphonies; Saint Paul, Los Angeles, Zurich, Scottish and Lausanne Chamber Orchestras; the London Symphony and Orchestre National de France; and BBC Scottish, Lisbon Gulbenkian, Prague, Milan Verdi, Belgrade, Mexico City, Jerusalem, and Tokyo Symphonies. Her festival appearances include Mostly Mozart, Aspen, Ravinia, Grant Park, Interlochen, Santa Fe, Mexico City, Bermuda, Hong Kong, Montreux, Strasbourg, Paris, Athens, Istanbul, Ravenna, Prague, and Budapest International Festivals.

Sharon Isbin began her guitar studies at age nine in Italy, and later studied with Andrés Segovia and Oscar Ghiglia. A former student of Rosalyn Tureck, Ms. Isbin collaborated with the noted keyboardist in publishing and recording the first performance editions of the Bach lute suites for guitar (Warner Classics/ G. Schirmer). She is the author of the Classical Guitar Answer Book, and is Director of guitar departments at the Aspen Music Festival and The Juilliard School, which she created in 1989.

About the Music.

Program at a Glance

In 2013 celebrated Argentinian-American mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard expressed interest in collaborating with renowned classical guitarist Sharon Isbin on a recording as well as live performances of all Spanish repertoire. Fluent in Spanish, Leonard had often performed Spanish songs in recital, and Isbin had likewise included Spanish repertoire on many of her concerts, inspired by her travels in Spain and working with artists such as La Argentinita (Encarnaciín López Júlvez) and Victoria de los Angeles. United through their mutual management (Columbia Artists), they began researching — well-aware, as Isbin noted, that there hadn’t been a major recording of Spanish art songs since Narciso Yepes and Teresa Berganza had recorded Lorca’s 13 Canciones española antiguas and Falla’s Siete canciónes populares españolas four decades before.

Leonard and Isbin knew that they would include these two cycles, but Isbin found the guitar accompaniments somewhat lacking. She fashioned new arrangements of the Lorca accompaniments and made revisions of existing guitar accompaniments for the Falla, which in turn had been made from piano originals. Leonard shared in the process throughout so that they arrived at authentic sounding versions that ideally suited both performers. They wanted to add some other works showing a wider range, so Leonard suggested songs by Monsalvatge, whose piano accompaniments Isbin then transcribed. Isbin also proposed interspersing several complementary works for guitar alone — something that had worked extremely well “on the road.” Bridge Records released the result — their masterful album Alma Española (Spanish Soul) — in 2017, and they have continued to present this evocative repertoire live in concert with stunning success.

 


FEDERICO GARCÍA LORCA
1898–1936
Arranged by Sharon Isbin

Canciónes españolas antiguas

García Lorca may be best known for his literary achievements, yet few great poets and playwrights have been involved in music to the extent that he was. Reported to have hummed tunes before he could talk, he received early musical training; by the age of eleven he was studying piano in Granada with Antonio Segura and Francisco Benítez. Pedro Revuelta, in his article “Lorca and Music” somehow assigned the precise figure of 87% to his life activities revolving around music.

Lorca’s poems frequently bear musical titles — Songs, Gypsy Ballads, Suites; and many of his essays are devoted to musical topics — Ancient Spanish Lullabies, How a City Sings and Sleeps, and El cante jondo (often translated as “deep song,” referring to the whole body of flamenco or Gypsy music). Lorca’s inspiration came not only from his native Spanish music, but from composers of Western art music. He apparently listened obsessively to Bach’s Cantata 104: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme while writing the second act of his famous tragedy Blood Wedding (1933). Lorca loved the music of Debussy, particularly his Spanishinspired works; he is said to have given exquisite performances on the piano of “La soirée dans Grenade” from Estampes and La puerta del vino from the second book of Préludes.

Lorca formed one of the greatest friendships of his life with composer Manuel de Falla, to whom he was introduced as a prodigy poet when Falla visited Granada in 1919. Falla settled there permanently the following year and the two collaborated on many projects, including the celebrated cante jondo festival in 1922 for which Lorca wrote his lecture/essay El cante jondo. This discussion of the history and techniques of flamenco singing is notable for its consideration of the guitarist as the equal of the singer, since the latter had always been considered the main attraction.

In his lecture/essay Ancient Spanish Lullabies, first given at Vassar College in 1930, Lorca dealt with a subject that had been part of him since birth. He particularly stressed that Spanish lullabies, unlike other European lullabies, are not sweet, soft, and monotonous, but they “awaken” the child to the dangers outside the mother’s protective arms; aware of the dangers, the child will realize the security of those arms and fall asleep. Eventually, however, the child must realize that he or she is alone.

Lorca collected and arranged many Spanish folk songs, particularly from his native Andalusian region in the south, perhaps tinkering with their words himself. His moving performances of them, sometimes singing and accompanying himself on piano or guitar, became well known to millions of Spaniards before he was shot in the early days of the Spanish Civil War, apparently by supporters of Franco. His refusal to write down his arrangements is in keeping with the history of the oral tradition that so fascinated him. He also disliked the inability of the musical notation to reflect the characteristic microtonal and rhythmic complexities of this music. Fortunately, in 1931 he made five records of his arrangements, sung by La Argentinita and accompanied by himself on the piano; these have been transcribed and performed countless times since.

This evening’s selections of Canciones españolas antiguas, all arranged by Sharon Isbin, begin with “El café de Chinitas,” a song taught to Lorca by his great uncle, who earned his living playing in this flamenco nightclub in Málaga. The song’s protagonist brags that he is a better bullfighter and Gypsy than his brother and will kill the bull before four-thirty. The open-ended harmony (dominant) that ends all the song’s phrases and verses seems fitting in that we never find out what happens in the bullfight, but it is actually a typical practice in Spanish folk song, as in “Romance de Don Boyso.” Here, with distinctive melodic leaps of a fourth, we hear the story of a Spanish nobleman who finds a Christian girl held captive by the Moors, who turns out to be Rosalinda, his long-lost sister. Caramoor Summer 2018 V The vivacious “Sevillanas del Siglo XVIII” (Sevillanas of the Eighteenth Century) takes its name from the fast, triple meter, major-mode couples dance from Seville, which originated as an Andalusian variant of the Castilian seguidilla. The dance is typically performed to a traditional type of verses of four or seven lines with footwork reflecting the animated rhythms of the guitar, castanet, or tambourine. Triana and La Macarena in the poem refer to neighborhoods in Seville, Triana being associated in particular with flamenco.

 

ENRIQUE GRANADOS
1867–1916

Danza española No. 5 in E Minor, “Andaluza”

Enrique Granados is known chiefly for his colorful Spanish Dances (1892– 1911) and his Goyescas (1911), piano pieces inspired by the paintings and etchings of Goya. He achieved great fame as a pianist in his native Spain and in Paris, where he had studied for two years, but his intense dislike of travel limited his touring. Many of Granados’s activities centered around Barcelona, where he had received much of his early musical training. In 1901 he founded a school there — the Academia Granados. Tragically, travel was at the heart of his untimely death. In 1916 he had reluctantly made the sea voyage to attend the Metropolitan’s highly successful premiere of his opera Goyescas and had postponed his voyage home in order to play for President Woodrow Wilson. Having missed his ship to Spain, he sailed instead to Liverpool where he boarded the Sussex for Dieppe. The Sussex was torpedoed by a German submarine and, though Granados was picked up by a lifeboat, he jumped into the water to save his wife; both were drowned.

Granados had published his Spanish Dances in four sets of three beginning in 1892. They were greatly admired by Massenet, Cui, Saint-Saëns, and Grieg because of their new and distinctive expression of folk characteristics of many different regions of Spain. The Dances are often referred to by descriptive titles, only one of which, Villanesca (No. 4), appeared in the original edition. Several of the Dances acquired titles when they were published separately during Granados’s lifetime. The famous No. 5 is often referred to as “Andaluza” as it represents that southern region of Spain. It follows a simple A-B-A form, with the interesting touch that the chordal “B” section is previewed toward the end of the “A” section. The strumming and picking effects that the piano imitated in the original, return to the instrument of their inspiration in the transcription by Miguel Llobet.

 

JOAQU.N RODRIGO
1901–1999

“Aranjuez, ma pensée”

Rodrigo, blind since the age of three, showed great musical talent and was sent to Paris to study, where he became a student of Paul Dukas. In the 1930s he traveled extensively in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, returning to Spain with the outbreak of war in 1939, the year he composed his famous guitar concerto, Concierto de Aranjuez. Although he was highly regarded by Dukas and also by his friend Manuel de Falla, he did not receive public recognition until the premiere of the Concierto in November 1940 by Regino Sainz de la Maza. Rodrigo became famous overnight.

In addition to composing over the next six decades, Rodrigo wrote many articles about music, toured and lectured, gave piano recitals, and received numerous awards. His musical style was conservative yet imaginative—he called it “faithful to a tradition.” The successful combination of Classical influences with nationalist idioms was enhanced by his ability to write inspired melodies.

One of these, from the slow movement of his famous Concierto, became the basis of “Aranjuez, ma pens.e,” arranged in 1988 by the composer himself with lyrics in French by his beloved wife Victoria Kamhi. She frequently translated or adapted anonymous texts for many of his songs in addition to contributing her own poetry. They invited Sharon Isbin to meet them in 1979 after she was a winner of the Queen Sofia Competition playing the Concierto, and they maintained a warm friendship for two decades—Kamhi died in 1997 and Rodrigo two years later. Ms. Isbin writes that Rodrigo played this melody “during the sleepless nights spent grieving over the stillborn birth of his first child and his wife’s ensuing illness. He wrote it as they reminisced about their honeymoon in the majestic gardens of Aranjuez, the magnificent eighteenth-century sight of kings and courtiers. It is both a love song and a song of painful yearning.”

After many unauthorized arrangements of this ultra-popular theme appeared, some instrumental and some supplied with texts, the Rodrigos tried to reclaim the rights in court in 1967 but lost. Finally in 1987, Cecilia Rodrigo, their daughter, won the rights and it was she who encouraged Kamhi to pen the lyrics.

 

XAVIER MONTSALVATGE
1912–2002
Arranged by Sharon Isbin

Canción de cuña para dormer a un negrito

Born in the Catalonian region in the north of Spain, Montsalvatge studied at the Barcelona Conservatory, became a critic for the weekly Destino, and also taught at the San Jorge Academy, the Conservatory, and the Destino Academy in Barcelona. His Catalan teachers had been drawn to the Germanic composers, but Montsalvatge leaned toward the French style of Stravinsky and Milhaud, one of Les Six. One of the most significant events in his life was his traveling around the Costa Brava during the 1940s collecting West Indian and Cuban folk songs, which particularly attracted him because of the close ties between Cuba and Catalonia. His music of the 1840s–1850s reflects the influence of Milhaud, who had fallen under the spell of Afro-American music, and the rhythms of Cuban music.

The West Indian influence that surfaces in Montsalvatge’s Tres divertimenti of 1941 becomes particularly pronounced in his Cinco canciones negras of 1945–46, which became his most frequently performed songs. He was more interested in modern “art music” trends than Lorca — coming close to abandoning tonality in his later works — he also recognized the importance of his Spanish heritage and sought ways to incorporate it even during the censorship of Franco. Caramoor Summer 2018 VII Montsalvatge’s Canciones negras began with “Canción de cuña para dormer a un negrito” on a text by Uruguayan poet Ildefonso Pereda Valdés, which he intended as a single song for a recital by soprano Mercédes Plantada in mid-May 1945. After the rave response he decided to flank the lullaby with two songs on texts by Nicolás Guillén, “Chévere” and Cante negro,” and add settings of poems by Spanish friends Néstor Luján and Rafael Alberti to form a group of five. Plantada premiered the set to an enthusiastic reception on June 14. The success of the orchestrated version, presented to an audience of 6,000 just after Falla’s death in 1946, represented a passing of the nationalistic torch. The popularity of “Canción de cuña para dormer a un negrito” (Lullaby for a Little Black Boy) rests on its gently lulling habanera rhythm, coupled with the jazz touches in its harmonies and syncopations.

FEDERICO GARCÍA LORCA
1898–1936
Arranged by Emilio de Torre and Sharon Isbin

“La Tarara”

The jaunty style of Lorca’s “La Tarara” provides a marked contrast to the pensive style of “Aranjuez, ma pens.e” by Rodrigo. One might be tempted to ascribe it to the difference between the southern Andalusian style and that of the area in central Spain where Aranjuez lies (to which Rodrigo pays tribute), except that “La Tarara” has often been traced back to Castilian roots. It is such an old children’s song (there’s a Spanish saying that something is “as old as Tarara”) that it has many regional variants, and Lorca may have picked up one in Analusia. The protagonist, “La Tarara,” is a freespirited, dancing, flirting girl (some say alma gitano or Gypsy soul) who likes to wear all manner of crazy clothing — some versions have her wearing pants completely covered in buttons or a white dress on Maundy Thursday in addition to the verses with frills and bells. More recently she has been seen as a cross-dresser. In any case, this remains one of Lorca’s most lively and popular songs, here arranged by Emilio de Torre and for guitar by Sharon Isbin.

 

FRANCISCO TÁRREGA
1852–1909

Capricho árabe

At the age of ten, Tárrega studied classical guitar with Julian Arcas, followed by training at the Madrid Conservatory, where he also studied theory, harmony, and piano. He soon began to teach and at the same time to establish himself as a guitar virtuoso. His international reputation grew after successful appearances in Paris and London in 1880; he was acclaimed as “the Sarasate of the guitar.”

Tárrega did much to promote the guitar at a time when the piano had almost completely overshadowed the instrument. He not only composed some 80 original works for the guitar — Recuerdos de la Alhambra, Capricho árabe, and Danza mora are among his best-known solo pieces — but he transcribed over 140 works by other composers for guitar.

 

MANUEL DE FALLA
1876–1946
Arranged by Emilio Pujol and Miguel Llobet

Siete canciónes populares españolas

In 1907 Spanish composer Manuel de Falla went to Paris, where he formed friendships with Debussy, Dukas, and Ravel that greatly influenced his career. At the time of the Paris production of his opera La vida breve in the winter of 1913–14, a Spanish singer in the cast asked Falla for advice about which Spanish songs she should include on a Paris recital. He decided to arrange some Spanish songs himself using his own system of harmony, which he had just tried out for the harmonization of a Greek folk song that had been requested by a Greek singing teacher.

This system stemmed from Falla’s study of Louis Lucas’s L’acoustique nouvelle, a mid-nineteenth-century treatise that he had picked up as a young man in Madrid at an open-air book stall, and which was to influence his later style profoundly. It consisted of deriving harmonies from the natural resonance of a fundamental tone, that is, its harmonics, then using these harmonics as new fundamental tones. Though Falla never lost sight of traditional harmony he claimed that this system, which anticipated harmonic theories of the twentieth century, revolutionized his entire conception of harmony.

He completed the Siete canciones (from which various instrumental arrangements were made, often titled Suite populaire espagnole) in Paris before the outbreak of World War I forced him to return to Madrid in 1914. He did not permit the singer who had sought his advice to perform them on a Spanish-themed program in Paris because of a bad experience he himself had had performing on a similar Spanish program. They were first performed by Luisa Vela (who had just sung in the Madrid premiere of La vida breve) accompanied by the composer in Madrid on January 14, 1915. The first Paris performance was delayed until May 1920. The songs are dedicated to Madame Ida Godebski, a great friend of Falla; Cipa and Ida Godebski’s famous salon in Paris was a gathering place for many other composers and writers including Roussel, Stravinsky, Ravel, Gide, Val.ry, and Cocteau.

Falla chose to set seven folk songs from various regions of Spain. Garc.a Matos, in his detailed study of Falla’s sources in the Madrid periodical Música in 1953, found that the first and third songs closely follow the folk sources as to the tunes and texts, the second and sixth songs were retouched slightly, the seventh song was modified slightly and expanded, the fifth reworked considerably, and the fourth was probably created from a combination of other sources.

The plaintive “El pa.o moruno” (The Moorish Cloth) comes from the province of Murcia; Falla later characterized the Murcian miller in Three-Cornered Hat by employing the first fours bars of the song’s bass line. The lively “Seguidilla murciana” takes up a popular Murcian dance form. Its original piano accompaniment imitates a guitar playing in punteado (plucked-sting) style — returned in this arrangement to the instrument of its inspiration.

“Asturiana” moves the listener to the North of Spain for a peaceful lament. The passionate “Jota” takes Summer 2018 IX the name of one of the most widely known Spanish song and dance forms, associated with the region of Aragon. Falla employs the characteristic alternation of sections of rapid accompaniment in 3/8 meter with those in a slower tempo for the voice.

“Nana” is a lullaby, which Falla said he heard as a child from “his mother’s lips before he was old enough to think.” The tune stems from Andalusia, and as such differs from other Spanish cradle songs because, according to the composer, much Andalusian vocal music originated in India. The geographical origin of the “Canci.n” is uncertain, although Falla followed the popular theme fairly faithfully according to Matos. At the end a canon between the voice and the accompaniment provides textural interest. The last song, “Polo,” of Andalusian origin, reflects the flamenco or Gypsy world. The original piano accompaniment again evokes the guitar’s punteado style — again returned to its source of inspiration — and the accents represent palmadas (handclapping) of the spectators.

The songs have been performed far and wide in all manner of arrangements. Ernesto Halffter, student and friend of Falla, orchestrated the accompaniment, and subsequent adaptations have appeared for various instruments taking the vocal part, as well as transcriptions of the piano accompaniment for guitar, here adapted by Miguel Llobet from the version by Emilio Pujol.

— Jane Vial Jaffe