|About this Recording
8.570420 - PALOMO: Cantos del alma / Sinfonia a Granada
In September 2000, Jesús López Cobos conducted Andalusian Nocturnes, my ‘suite concertante’ for guitar and orchestra (featuring Pepe Romero as soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra). During the days of rehearsal before the concert, the Maestro and I agreed that I should compose a work and he would conduct its world première. I asked him to suggest the kind of work which would meet with his approval and he came up with something which seemed immediately attractive – a composition for soprano, clarinet and orchestra. The combination of soprano and clarinet revived in me the fascination that I had felt when I first heard Schubert’s song The Shepherd on the Rock. The nature of the enterprise required something lyrical and evocative, a composition in which voice, clarinet and orchestra would establish a poetic dialogue, both intimate and idyllic. For that the only appropriate selection were four poems from Juan Ramón Jiménez, whose words express such tenderness and beauty. Thus my Cantos del alma (Songs of the Soul) were born.
¡Pájaro del agua! (Water Bird!) describes the total fascination felt by a young soul listening to the beautiful sounds of this water bird. In Tientos de la alborada (Dawn Tientos), a dance song of Sephardic character (given the title Naked by the poet), two souls dance the tiento and complain about the eternal delay – “I will say to you, ‘Today!’… and you will slip away and say to me, ‘Tomorrow!’”
Serenata antillana (Antillian Serenade) offers a little tribute to Zenobia Camprubí, the wife of the poet, Juan Ramón Jiménez. Zenobia’s family came from Puerto Rico, ‘the island of charm’ as the poet used to call it, and indeed the charm of this island always brought the couple closer together. The soul of Zenobia suggest rhythms and cadences… the sensuality of the Antillian nights.
Viaje a la luz (Journey to the Light) is the transition to the celestial sphere where young souls enjoy themselves and play at the entrance to ‘the white palaces’. Los palacios blancos (The White Palaces) is based on the poem Silence! where the passionate words of the poet’s soul reach limits that few poets were ever able to achieve. The thin orchestral texture accompanies the lyrical plaintive song of voice and solo clarinet, mourning the death of an angel.
Sinfonía a Granada (Granada Symphony)
Granada has fascinated and inspired innumerable artists, poets, painters, and musicians from every race and nationality. For Granada is the eternal Muse, loved by all. Because of this the Regional Government of Granada commissioned me to compose a musical work dedicated to the province, an immense honour which also provided an opportunity to fulfil one of my lifelong dreams.
The Regional Government’s offer carried a very clear, particular message. They were not interested in the composition of a work which was merely a new tribute dedicated to the beautiful city and its province. The Government’s requirements in this undertaking were made explicit in a written statement: A musical composition which helps to establish bonds of union and brotherhood between the people of the different territories of our province and draws together in its music the variety and rich geographical and cultural diversity which characterizes us.
These instructions contain a message of a significance extending beyond simply praising yet again the beauty of the ‘City of the Carmenes’ (‘villas with gardens’) and its province. Luis García Montero, the great poet of Granada, has written some marvellous poems that were a true source of inspiration for me when composing the Granada Symphony.
One may ask where the title Sinfonía a Granada (Granada Symphony) originated. It is very simple. The work commissioned by the Regional Government of Granada could not be given any other title. In various ways Granada in itself offers us a symphony because Granada is indeed a symphony of dreams, fountains, colours…
In this composition I have included soprano voice and guitar (especially considering the profound roots of this instrument in the life and culture of Andalusia). In terms of musical language, I have been faithful to the most authentic Andalusian music, introducing a number of Arabic and Hebraic melismas as well as cadences characteristic of flamenco.
Sinfonía a Granada comprises five movements or scenes:
I. ‘… landscapes with dream factories’
II. ‘Going up to the Alhambra’
III. ‘The Land and the Sea’ The vivid rhythm of the bulerías resounds through the countryside and on the sea of Granada. Country dwellers and mariners tell of their troubles and laments. In a distant tavern an anguished voice and a guitar can be heard:
IV. Dance of Sacromonte
V. A Snow Painted Sky
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