About this Recording
8.553499 - FALLA: Amor Brujo (El) / El Retablo de Maese Pedro

Manuel de Falla (1876 -1946)

Manuel de Falla (1876 -1946)

El Amor Brujo (Love the Magician)

Gitaneria en un acto y dos cuadros (Gypsy Ballet in One Act and Two Scenes)

Libretto: Gregorio Martinez Sierra

Original Version (1915) Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Mezzo-Soprano Dialogue: Natacha Valladares .Ismael Pons-Tena

Cameristi Diego Dini-Ciacci, Conductor

Cuadro primero I Scene 1

[1] Introducci6n y Escena I Introduction and Scene

[2] Canci6n del amor dolido I Song of the Pain of Love

[3] Sortilegio (A media noche) I Enchantment (At midnight)

[4] Danza del fin del dia I Dance of the End of the Day

[5] Escena (El amor vulgar) I Scene (Ordinary Love)

[6] Romance del pescador I Romance of the Fisherman

[7] Intermedio (Interlude)


Cuadro segundo I Scene 2

[8] Introducci6n (El fuego fatuo) I Introduction (Will-o'-the-Wisp)

[9] Escena (El Terror) I Scene (Terror)

[10] Danza del fuego fatuo I Dance of the Will-o'-the-Wisp

[11] Interludio (Alucinaciones) I Interlude (Hallucinations)

[12] Canci6n del fuego fatuo I Song of the Will-o'the-Wisp

[13] Conjuro para reconquistar el amor perdido I Spell to win back lost love

[14] Escena (El amor popular) I Scene (Common Love)

[15] Danza y Canci6n de la bruja fingida I Dance and Song of the False Witch

[16] Final (Las campanas del amanecer) I Finale (Bells of Morning)


El Retablo de Maese Pedro (Master Peter's Puppet Show) Adaptaci6n musical y escenica de un episodio de El Ingenioso Caballero Don Quixote de la Mancha de Miguel de Cervantes (Musical and Dramatic Adaptation of an episode from The Ingenious Knight Don Quixote de la Mancha of Miguel de Cervantes)

Maese Pedro Jordi Galofre, Tenor El Truijamiin Natacha Valladares, Soprano Don Quijote Ismael Pons- Tena, Baritone

I Cameristi .Maurizio Dini-Ciacci, Conductor

[17] El Pregon! The Proclamation

[18] Sinfonia de Maese Pedro! Sinfonia of Master Peter

[19] Cuadro I. La Corte de Carlo Magno / Scene 1. The Court of Charlemagne

[20] Cuadro II. Melisendra ! Scene 2. Melisendra

[21] Cuadro III. El suplicio del Moro / Scene 3. The Moor's Punishment

[22] Cuadro IV. Los Pirineos / Scene 4. The Pyrenees

[23] Cuadro V. La fuga! Scene 5. The Escape

[24] Cuadro VI. La persecucion / Scene 6. The Pursuit

[25]Final! Finale


Manuel de Falla was born in Ciidiz in 1876 and had his early musical training and education there, deciding at the age of seventeen to embark on a career as a composer. He studied at the Madrid Conservatory and from the turn of the century earned a living from the composition of zarzuelas, most of which have not survived. Study with Pedrell, an important figure in the creation of Spanish musical nationalism in an acceptable international musical language, was followed by a seminal period of nearly seven years in Paris, during which he had encouragement from Paul Dukas, as well as from Debussy, Ravel and the Spanish composer Albeniz. Spain had exercised a musical fascination over French composers, from saint-saens and Bizet to Debussy and Ravel and now Falla could exert his own Spanish influence over contemporary French composers with whom he consorted. His reputation was definitively established with the staging of the opera La vida breve in Nice in 1913 and a collaboration with Dyagilev that led to the staging in London in 1919 of El sombrero de tres picas (The Three-Cornered Hat) by the Ballets russes, with decor by Picasso and choreography by Massine.


After his return to Spain in 1914, with the outbreak of war, Falla continued his study of the traditional cante jondo of Andalucia. h11915 he presented his gitaneria, a gypsy piece, in Madrid, followed the next year by his evocative work for piano and orchestra Noches en las jardines de Espafla (Nights in the Gardens of Spain). Settling in Granada, the inspiration for the Fantasia betica, commissioned by Rubinstein, he fulfilled a commission from Princess Edmond de Polignac (nee Winnie Singer) for the small-scale theatre piece, El retablo de Maese Pedro, a profoundly Spanish work, based on Cervantes, and composed the neo-classical summary of his work of synthesis of the national and international, the Concierto para clavicembalo. Much of his later life was spent in work on Atltintida, a choreographic poem based on a text derived from the Catalan of Jacinto V erdaguer .This remained unfinished at the time of FaI1a's death in Argentina in 1946. He had spent the years of the Civil War in Granada. His deeply Catholic sympathies led him to deplore the appalling excesses of the Republicans, the burning of churches and the persecution of the clergy, as much as he deplored and lamented the murder of his friend Federico Garcia Lorca, and his move to Argentina came about by the accident of an invitation in 1939 to present concerts in Buenos Aires, rather than for any political motives. War-time difficulties and dangers of travel, even in neutral ships, will have played a part in keeping him abroad. After a funeral service in the Cathedral of the Argentinian Cordoba, his body was brought back to Spain, to be interred with due honour in Cadiz Cathedral.


El amor brujo owes its origin to the inspiration provided by the gypsy dancer Pastora lmperio and her mother, Rosario la Mejorana, from whom Falla learned much about gypsy songs and traditions. The scenario was provided by Gregorio Martinez Sierra. Candelas, a beautiful and passionate gypsy girl, has loved a dissolute and faithless young gypsy. Her life with him was difficult, but now that he is dead she cannot forget him. The scene opens at night in a gypsy house, where two gypsy girls are sitting on the floor, reading the cards. Candelas remembers her faithless lover, whose absence still haunts her, now that he is dead. She is resolved to seek revenge, and this she does by resource to magic, entering the witch's cave and, in spite of the Will-o'the-Wisp that frequents the place, making use of her magic to summon the spirit of her dead lover back, only to spurn him, treating him as once he treated her.


The original version of El amor brujo, in which Pastora Imperio performed at the first staging at the Teatro Lara in Madrid in 1915, uses a relatively small group of instruments and contains material that was omitted from the more familiar revised concert version. The best known element in the score must be the Danza ritual del fuego (Ritual Fire Dance), para ahuyentar los malos espiritus (to banish evil spirits) which, in the original version, is the Danza delfin del dia (Dance of the End of the Day), a dance that has appeared in a wide variety of arrangements, for better or worse.


El retablo de Maese Pedro (Master Peter's Puppet Show) dramatizes an episode in the Cervantes novel Don Quixote, a work that is quintessentially Spanish, a natural source for a composer whose own inspiration was derived from Spanish traditions. The work had its first performance in Seville at a concert of the Sociedad Sevillana de Conciertos on 23rd March 1923, followed by the first private staging for the dedicatee, Princess Edmond de Polignac, in Paris on 25th June, with a public concert performance in Paris five months later. This piece for puppets involves two groups, the smaller puppets of Master Peter's show, representing Charlemagne, Don Gayferos, Don Roland, Melisendra, King Marsilio and the enamoured Moor, with heralds, knights, soldiers, executioners and Moors. The audience and puppeteers, with puppets of larger size, include Don Quixote, Master Peter, the boy, Sancho Panza, the inn-keeper, the scholar, a page and the man with lances and halberds. The first three of these have vocal parts. The voice of Don Quixote is provided by a bass or baritone, that of Master Peter by a tenor and that of the boy, El Trujaman (the story-teller, dragoman, or, in the original Turkish, tercuman), by a boy treble or, if this is not possible, by a woman's voice that may reproduce something of the roughness of a boy shouting in the street. The other puppets, both on stage and in the audience, are silent. The instrumentation includes, with the chamber orchestra, an important part for harpsichord, played at the first Paris performance by Wanda Landowska.


In the novel by Cervantes Don Quixote, a simple country gentleman, has been inspired by his reading of romances, tales of the adventures of knights errant of old, to imitate their example and go out in search of wrongs to right. He is accompanied by Sancho Panza, a villager now appointed squire to the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance. Throughout the novel Don Quixote is misled by his imagination, tilting at windmills that he sees as giants, attacking a flock of sheep that he sees as a hostile army. In the episode of Master Peter's puppet show, Don Quixote mistakes the puppets of the story, one of knightly adventure, for heroes in need of his help. He intervenes to destroy the enemies of Don Gayferos and Melisendra, thinking to secure their escape from the pursuing Moors. In doing this he breaks the puppets, leaving Master Peter to do what he can with what is left of his business.


El Retablo de Maese Pedro opens with [17] El Pregon (The Proclamation). The scene is an inn stable in La Mancha. Master Peter appears, ringing a bell, with a monkey on his shoulder. He calls for attention. During the [18] Sinfonia de Maese Pedro, the audience comes in, Don Quixote being bowed to a place in the front row, his long legs stretched in front of him or crossed during the following performance. Master Peter enters his booth and the boy comes in, carrying a wand, and begins the story of Don Gayferos, whose wife Melisendra, putative daughter of Charlemagne, has been taken prisoner by the Moorish King Marsilio. Don Gayferos, however, remains idle, preoccupied with his games of chess. The scene is now revealed of the court of Charlemagne, where Don Gayferos is playing chess with Don Roland. The boy draws attention to Charlemagne himself, who is angry and urges Don Gayferos to action. The latter refuses the help of Roland and will set out himself to rescue Melisendra. The scene is acted after the narrative explanation, the two knights rising from their game as the Emperor enters to appropriately stately music and confronts Don Gayferos, striking him with his sceptre, before turning away. Left alone, the two knights quarrel and Don Gayferos storms out in anger. The boy now resumes his story, telling of the captive Melisendra in her tower of the Alcazar of Saragossa, thinking of her husband and Paris. A Moor approaches stealthily and kisses her: he is seen by King Marsilio and seized.


[20] Melisendra is seen leaning from her balcony, while King Marsilio is visible from time to time, walking along the outer gallery of the castle. The Moor approaches Melisendra and kisses her: she calls for help, tearing her hair, and the Moor is seized by the guards. The boy continues the story, telling how the Moor is taken through the streets to the town square, where he will be given two hundred blows, condemned almost as soon as the crime had been committed: he adds that the Moors have no due criminal process. Don Quixote takes exception to this and stands up to make his objection: Master Peter tells the boy to keep to the story, without adding his own embellishments. The puppeteer returns to his booth and Don Quixote sits down.


[21] The scene of the Moor's punishment is acted, the blows of the executioners in time with the music. The Moor falls and is dragged away by the guards. The curtain closes again and the boy describes the approach of Don Gayferos.


[22] Don Gayferos rides through the mountain passes of the Pyrenees. He is wrapped in a long cloak and carries a hunting-horn, which he blows now and again. The curtain closes again and the boy describes how Melisendra, at the window of her tower, talks to a stranger in the street below, asking him to ask in Paris for Don Gayferos: the knight reveals his identity and sets her on his horse, riding now to Paris once more.


[23] The scene is acted, with Melisendra on her balcony and Don Gayferos, his face covered by his cloak, approaching. they talk, Don Gayferos reveals himself, Melisendra descends and they ride away together. [24] The boy wishes them well, with happiness in lives as long as Nestor's, a comment that induces Master Peter to tell him to keep to the point. [25] The curtain now opens for the last time, showing King Marsilio summoning his guards, the boy pointing with his wand to the figures, as he tells the story. All the city is in turmoil, with bells ringing from the minarets. Don Quixote jumps up to object, since the Moors do not have church bells, but drums and shawms. Master Peter pokes his head out of the booth to tell Don Quixote not to be such a stickler for accuracy, since plays are always full of inaccuracies of this kind. Don Quixote agrees and sits down again, while the boy points out the figures now pursuing Don Gayferos and Melisendra, with trumpets and drums, about to catch the fugitives. This is too much for Don Quixote, who leaps up, drawing his sword and attacking the puppets in indignation, knocking some down, beheading others and narrowly missing Master Peter himself. The latter begs Don Quixote to stop, but cannot pacify him, who exults in his victory, declaring his name and his loyalty to the beautiful Dulcinea, his imagined lady, whom he now addresses, enraptured (Dulcinea del Toboso is, it may be recalled, a serving wench in a nearby inn and in no way shares Don Quixote's illusions). Don Quixote continues to extol his own exploit and those of the knights of old, while Master Peter can only stare in despair at the havoc wrought on his puppets.


Close the window