Monday, November 26, 2012

The Moorish Cloth

Just as a follow-up to my post yesterday about going over some of my songs with Roberto Limón, I thought you might like to hear a little of him and soprano Chérie Hughes. He gave me a small sample CD which I hope he won't mind me sharing with you.

Two of the songs on the CD are by Manuel de Falla, prehaps the greatest Spanish composer, though not without a great deal of competition. He was born in 1876 in Cádiz, the heart of Andalucia, but died in exile in Argentina in 1946, one of the many artists who fled Spain after the civil war of 1936-39. Though deeply imbued with the music of Andalucia, Falla drew on many influences, especially that of French music, following his studies in Paris in the years just before the First World War. He is perhaps most famous for two fine ballets, El Amor Brujo (of which there is also a brilliant film version) and El Sombrero de tres picos. He wrote just one piece for guitar, a Homenaje on the death of Debussy, but it is an extremely well-crafted work. He is also renowned for a brilliant set of songs for voice and piano in the style of Spanish popular song. The accompaniments are so evocative of the guitar that they are often heard in that transcription. Unfortunately, thought they sound just like guitar music, they are not written so comfortably, so it takes a very fine guitarist to bring them off--oh, and singer too, of course!

Here are Chérie Hughes and Roberto Limón with El paño moruno, the Moorish cloth.

Al paño fino, en la tienda,
una mancha le cayó;
Por menos precio se vende,
Porque perdió su valor.
 On the fine cloth in the store
 a stain has fallen;
 It sells at a lesser price,
 because it has lost its value.


You might imagine how much I'm looking forward to their performance
of my Songs from the Poets!

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