Siete canciones populares españolas
Fortas Chamber Music Concerts: Sharon Isbin, guitar and Isabel Leonard, mezzo-soprano - Tue., Mar. 24, 2015, 7:30 PM
These two dynamic American performers come together for a special recital of Spanish duo and solo works as part of the Kennedy Center international festival Iberian Suite: arts remix across continents.
About the Work
Manuel de Falla wrote his Siete canciones populares españolas originally for voice and piano. The work was first transcribed for violin and piano by Paul Kochanski in the early 20th century. The guitar is a very prominent instrument in Spanish music, and many of the folk forms, for example the jota, would originally have been sung with guitar accompaniment. In his piano accompaniments, Falla is often trying to imitate the sounds of the guitar. We have chosen five of Falla's original seven songs. El paño moruno is a lament about a piece of Moorish cloth that has been stained and will now fetch only a low price at the market. The overly dramatic tone (with many cries of "Ay! Ay!") is enigmatic. Could the stained cloth be a symbol of lost innocence? Asturiana is an extremely mournful song. The weeping protagonist seeks consolation near a green pine. Instead of giving comfort, the pine tree starts weeping as well. Jota is a passionate song about two lovers. Since they are not seen talking to one another, people around them don't think they love each other-but anyone who looks into their hearts knows the truth. The next song, Nana, is a tranquil lullaby. The Moorish influence is most clearly heard in this song. Occupying Spain from 711 until 1492, the Moors left a strong mark on Spanish music and architecture, in addition to many other areas of their culture. The cycle ends with Polo, a type of flamenco. The singer, in great despair, is cursing love and fate.