JESÚS GURIDI (1886 - 1961)
Descended from a musical family, the Basque composer Jesús Guridi studied in Madrid and Bilbao before spending two years at the Paris Schola Cantorum as an organ pupil of Gabriel Grovlez. His composition lessons included the study of fugue with Vincent d’Indy, and he returned to Bilbao, after further study in Liège and in Cologne, to become organist at the Basilica del Señor Santiago and to teach at the Conservatory. After the Civil War he moved to Madrid, where he taught organ at the Conservatory, of which he was in 1958 appointed director; he was also for a time music director for a film company.
Guridi’s first opera, Mirentxu, with a Basque libretto, was first staged in Bilbao in 1910. It was followed in 1920 by Amaya, based on a Navarrese legend of the shrine of San Miguel. The zarzuela El caserío (‘The Homestead’), set in a fictional Basque village, was completed in 1926 and followed by other works in the same genre.
Orchestral and Vocal Music
Guridi’s orchestral music ranges from Una aventura de Don Quijote in 1916 to his Homenaje a Walt Disney, a fantasia for piano and orchestra. His Sinfonía pirenaica is an evocation of his homeland, drawing on Basque folk-music.
Guridi wrote a wide range of piano music, ranging in style from the operatic Lamento e imprecación de Agar (‘Hagar’s Lament and Curse’) to the subtle impressionism of his Ocho apuntes (‘Eight Sketches’).