¡Qué bien rima la guitarra · las sonrisas de Sevilla,
los suspiros de Granada · con el silencio de Córdoba
y la alegría de Málaga!
Almería, sus amores · sueña al pie de su alcazaba,
Jaén se adormece a la sombra · de un olivo y una parra…
Huelva, la heroica y altiva · Adelantada de España,
¡sueña con un Nuevo Mundo · en el seno de otras aguas!
Y Cádiz, la danzarina, · baila desnuda en la playa
más blanca en sus desnudeces · que las espumas más blancas.
Francisco Villaespesa (1877—1936)
About the Production
Isaac Albéniz’s Iberia led Claude Debussy to enthuse: ‘Never has music achieved such diversified, such colourful impressions; one’s eyes close, dazzled by such a wealth of imagery.’ The hunger for musical exoticism that broke out in the 19th century could even be satisfied on European soil. Under the tutelage of the Catalan Felipe Pedrell, young Spanish composers also began to concentrate on the authentic sounds of their homeland, in order to incorporate them more subtly and artfully into their musical language, and in some instances to reinvent them. Albéniz’s Iberia, with its collection of scenes mostly inspired by places, features rhythmic zest, exhilarating pianistic virtuosity, and gradations of colour and mood influenced by Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Enrique Granados’s piano cycle Goyescas, on the other hand, is based on the art of Francisco Goya — although his technically very challenging pieces can only be identified with a particular painting or drawing in a couple of cases. The third and youngest member in this group of ‘classical’ Spanish composers was Manuel de Falla, whose El amor brujo (Love, the Magician), a ‘gitanería’ later reworked into a ballet, grew out of a distinctive combination of dance, acting and singing, as embodied by the flamenco artist Pastora Imperio.