Manuel de Falla

1876 - 1946

Spanish

Summary

Regarded as the greatest Spanish composer of the twentieth century, Falla developed an interest in native Spanish music - in particular Andalusian flamenco - while studying with Felipe Pedrell in Madrid in the late 1890s. From 1907 to 1914 he lived in Paris where he met, and was influenced by, Ravel, Debussy and Dukas. Works such as the ballet El amor brujo and the one-act opera La vida breve are notably nationalistic in character, though a Stravinskian neo-classicism can be heard in works such as the Harpsichord Concerto, composed when he lived in Granada from 1921 to 1939.

Biography

Born in 1876 in Cadiz, the historical seaport town at the southern-most tip of Andalucia, Manuel de Falla is the greatest Spanish composer of this century. His formal musical education began with piano lessons, and when Falla was twenty his family moved to Madrid where he studied with the distinguished teacher José Tragó. He then went on to study composition with Felipe Pedrell, the teacher and scholar who led the revival of Spanish music which took place towards the end of the nineteenth century.

In 1904 Falla's one-act opera La vida breve (Life is Short) won the composition competition of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes and at the same time he was awarded a prestigious piano prize organised by the piano makers Ortiz y Cussó. In 1907 he achieved a long-held ambition of travelling to Paris and was welcomed there by Ravel, Debussy (with whom he had previously corresponded) and especially by Paul Dukas. He completed several chamber works and began work on Noches en los jardines de Espãna (Nights in Gardens of Spain )before the outbreak of war in 1914 compelled him to return to his native country.

Two years later he was approached by Diaghilev to write a work for the Russian Ballet and in response composed a mime-play in two tableaux, El corregidor y la molinera (The Magistrate and the Miller's Wife) which, with some subsequent revisions, became El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-Cornered Hat), and was produced highly successfully in London in 1919 with choreography by Massine and designs by Picasso.

Following the deaths of his parents in 1919 he settled in Granada, where he remained until the end of the Civil War (1939), and composed several of his most important works including El retablo de maese Pedro (Master Peter's Puppet Show), Psyché and Concerto per clavicembalo (Harpsichord Concerto). He then moved to Argentina and worked there until his death in 1946 just a few days before his 70th birthday, leaving the vast oratorio Atlántida still unfinished.

News

Performances

7th July 2020

PERFORMERS
Orquesta de Cámara del Gran Teatre del Liceu
LOCATION
Foyer del Gran Teatre del Liceu of Barcelona, Spain

8th July 2020

PERFORMERS
Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra
CONDUCTOR
Gergely Kesselyák
LOCATION
MÜPA Concert Hall, Budapest, Hungary

22nd October 2020

PERFORMERS
Symphoniker Hamburg
LOCATION
Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

31st December 2020

SOLOISTS
Junichiro Murakami, viola; Oren Shevlin, violoncello
LOCATION
Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany

30th April 2021

PERFORMERS
Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal
CONDUCTOR
Juanjo Mena
LOCATION
Maison Symphonique, Montréal, QC, Canada

Photos

Discography