Manuel De Falla (1876-1946)

Donald Macleod explores the life of Manuel de Falla, from his Andalusian beginnings, to his final days in Argentina.

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Episodes

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01*20080331

Following a period of piano study in Madrid, Falla moved to Paris where he met his mentors - Debussy, Ravel and Dukas.

El gran teatro del mundo (opening excerpt)

Victoria de Los Angeles (mezzo-soprano)

Cor Lieder Camera

Orquesta de Cambra Teatre Lliure

Josep Pons (director)

Nocturno; Allegro de concierto

Miguel Baselga (piano)

El Gran Teatro del Mundo

La Vida Breve (Act 2, first tableau)

Manuel Mairena (Cantor)

Juan Pons (El tio Salvador)

Alicia Nafe (La abuela)

Tesera Berganza (Salud)

Paloma Perez Inigo (Carmela)

Jose Carreras (Paco)

Ramon Contreras

Ambrosian Opera Chorus

London Symphony Orchestra

Garcia Navarro (conductor)

Siete canciones populares espanolas

Gonzalo Soriano (piano).

01A Single Sheet Of Notepaper20141124

Donald Macleod explores Falla's early work, before his departure for Paris in 1907.

Born on Cadiz in Andalucia in 1876, Manuel de Falla was a diffident and reserved figure. Over the course of his long life - seven decades - he composed relatively little: one of his biographers points out that the entire list of his compositions could be written on a single sheet of note paper. He reached his artistic maturity at the time of Spain's so-called "Silver Age", with the emergence of Lorca, Bunuel, Miro and Dali, when artists were fully engaged in a debate over national identity. Manuel de Falla sustained this debate in his music and can be seen as the pre-eminent Spanish composer of the 20th Century. In this programme Donald Macleod explores Manuel de Falla's early work, until his departure for Paris in 1907.

02*20080401

Donald Macleod focuses on how Falla's success in Paris with his opera La vida breve opened doors for him in Madrid and how he returned to his homeland having taken on a distinct Parisian influence in his composing.

Trois melodies

Nuccia Focile (soprano)

Ingrid Surgenor (piano)

El amor brujo (original version 1915, Act 1)

Claire Powell (mezzo-soprano)

Aquarius

Nicholas Cleobury (conductor)

Noches en los jardines de Espana

Martha Argerich (piano)

Paris Orchestra

Daniel Barenboim (conductor)

Homenaje (Le tombeau de Claude Debussy)

John Williams (guitar).

02An Extension Of My Home Country20141125

Donald Macleod focuses on Falla's move to Paris in 1907.

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Spanish composer Manuel de Falla. In 1907 Falla moved to Paris, with a promise of a concert tour that in the end never materialised. He managed to gather together enough pupils to be able to afford stay on, and lived there for the next seven years. He said he found in Paris "what became an extension of my home country." It was in France that Falla's opera La Vida Breve first found success, after which it seems that he was intending to settle permanently in Paris. He hoped his parents and his sister would be able to join him: "not in Paris but a healthy quiet village, cheerful and picturesque, within an hour of the Gare Saint-Lazare." However, very soon afterwards he found Paris mobilising for WW1 and, in common with thousands of other foreigners, left the city, and he returned to neutral Spain.

03*20080402

Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)

3/5. Donald Macleod explaing how World War I was to prove particularly beneficial for Falla, as Spain played host to a number of performing artists seeking refuge, including Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes, for whom Falla provided music.

Oracion de las madres que tienen a sus hijos en brazos

Montserrat Caballe (soprano)

Miguel Zanetti (piano)

El sombrero de tres picos

Teresa Berganza (mezzo-soprano)

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Seiji Ozawa (conductor)

Fantasia Baetica

Alicia de Larrocha (piano).

03Battles With The Muscovite Theatre20141126

Donald Macleod continues an exploration of Falla's life and work.

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Spanish composer Manuel de Falla. In later life Manuel de Falla made considerable efforts to distance himself from politics, but while World War One was raging, he put his name to a manifesto which had been prepared by the philosopher, Jose Ortega y Gasset. This document decried Spain's neutrality in the light of what it called Germany's "fermenting of egotism, of domination and of shameless violence." Spain's neutral position led a number of prominent artists to visit the country, including Diaghilev and his famous Ballet Russes company. Ever the shrewd businessman, Diaghilev realised that they could really ingratiate themselves with audiences in Spain if they gave them a Spanish ballet. Manuel de Falla was prompted to turn his pantomime The Magistrate and the Miller's Wife into the ballet The Three-Cornered Hat, staged with sets by Pablo Picasso.

04*20080403

Donald Macleod explains how after moving back to Andalucia, Falla ironically turned his back on the folk and flamenco music of the region, and became interested in the music of Spain's historic past instead.

Psyche

Annette Betanski (soprano)

Susan Miron (harp)

Jacques Zoon (flute)

James Sommerville (horn)

Catherine French (violin)

Burton Fine (viola)

Martha Babcock (cello)

El retablo de maese Pedro

Jordi Galofre (Maese Pedro)

Natacha Valladares (El Truijaman)

Ismael Pons-Tena (Don Quijote)

I Cameristi

Maurizio Dini-Ciacci (conductor)

Concerto for harpsichord and five instruments

John Constable (harpsichord)

London Sinfonietta

Simon Rattle (conductor)

Pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas

Josep Colom (piano).

04Music Is A Thing Of Mystery20141127

Donald Macleod on Falla's exploratory music from a settled period between 1920 and 1939.

In the autumn of 1920, Manuel de Falla moved to Granada with his sister Maria del Carmen. The house in which they lived, from 1920-1939, in a little alley in the old Moorish quarter of Granada, overlooked by the Alhambra palace, is now the Manuel de Falla House-Museum. Living in Granada was the realisation of a dream for Falla. He now had a refuge from the public world of concert tours. He told one newspaperman: "I am absolutely dedicated to music, and music must be lived, must be inside you; it must be formed naturally. Music is a thing of mystery!" Donald Macleod celebrates Falla's exploratory music from this settled period.

05 LAST*20080404

Donald Macleod explores how, in 1939, Falla was tempted to leave Granada by an offer to conduct a concert of his works in Argentina, and he remained there for the rest of his life, living in the mountains of Cordoba Sierra with his sister.

Soneto a Cordoba

Maria Kareska (soprano)

S Nikolesco (harp)

Homenajes

Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela

Eduardo Mata (conductor)

Danse rituelle du feu

Jean-Francois Heisser (piano)

Atlantida (Part 2)

Soloists of the Spanish National Youth Orchestra

Balearic Islands University Choir

La Laguna University Polyphonic Choir

Navarro Reverter Choral Society

Simon Bolivar University Choral Society

Valencia Boys' Choir

Edmond Colomer (conductor).

05 LASTA Deeper, More Noble Revolution?20141128

Donald Macleod focuses on Falla's final years and his move to Argentina.

Donald Macleod explores Manuel de Falla's final years. In the late spring of 1936, the newspaper El Sol informed its readers: "Spain... exudes an atmosphere of civil war." Manuel de Falla's position on the political tensions which were threatening to tear Spain apart was somewhat ambivalent. Both sides - the Republicans and the extreme Right Wing - tried to woo him to their cause. He didn't sign up with either but made this statement: "The French Revolution was not fundamentally the work of writers and philosophers, but rather the result of the fact that Catholics had forgotten their principles of justice and love... which are essential to Christian belief... the only solution for this is not a conservative counter-revolution... but rather another deeper and more noble revolution, guided by the love of God." His memories of the civil war seem to have left such deep scars that he no longer felt at home in Granada, and shortly after Franco's nationalists had ousted the government in Madrid, Falla and his sister left for Argentina, where he had accepted a conducting engagement from the Buenos Aires Cultural Institute.