MANUEL CASTILLO (1930 - 2005)
Manuel Castillo Navarro-Aguilera began lessons in piano and composition in Seville with Norbert Almandoz and Antonio Pantón. Later he moved to Madrid where he studied composition with Conrado del Campo and pianoforte with Antonio Moreno. He went on to become a pupil of Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He eventually returned to Seville where he taught piano and composition at the Seville Conservatory, serving there as its principal between 1964 and 1978. He wrote many pieces for piano and organ, but also composed radio scores, orchestral pieces, symphonies and concertos, chamber works, vocal music, and other instrumental music. In 1992 he was commissioned to contribute the official music of the Universal Exposition of Seville (1992).
Castillo has been described by the Spanish composer and author, Tomás Marco, as ‘a very talented composer with a sure professional touch who achieved an individual language capable of evolving without going so far as the avant-garde or experimental music’. Marco defines him among the Generation of ’51 as ‘a moderate’, who did not pursue ‘advanced aesthetics and techniques’ but preferred ‘more moderate musical idioms’ without displaying an ‘entrenched conservatism’. Castillo’s style has been classified as trans-avant-garde, his music being a merging of traditional and contemporary characteristics without extending too far in one direction or the other.
Up until now, Castillo’s guitar music has been neglected mainly because very little has been published and the rest remains in manuscript. However, his work in this area reveals a close empathy with guitar idioms and an awareness of the virtuosic possibilities of the instrument as well as some profoundly expressive writing.