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CPR Classical Presents

PRIETO CONDUCTS RAVEL, RODRIGO, & FALLA

Sinfónica de Minería Pablo Sáinz-Villegas, guitar ~ Isaac Tovar, flamenco dancer ~ Esperanza Fernández, flamenco singer
Orchestral Series
Saturday, June 22, 2024 at 6pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

CPR Classical Night at Bravo! Vail

World-renowned guitarist Pablo Sáinz-Villegas, cantaora Esperanza Fernández, and flamenco dancer Isaac Tovar join Minería in a Spanish- and French-inspired program, including works by Ravel, Rodrigo, and Falla.

LAWN SCREEN: Bravo! Vail is pleased to offer the lawn screen experience this evening's concert. 

Did you know?

This concert’s Spanish masterworks contain very famous highlights. Everyone will recognize the soulful slow movement of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and Falla’s riotous Ritual Fire Dance, heard here in the context of the complete stage-work for which it was written.

Featured Artists

Carlos Miguel Prieto

conductor

Pablo Sáinz-Villegas

guitar

Esperanza Fernández

flamenco singer

Isaac Tovar

flamenco dancer

Program Highlights

  • Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor 
  • Pablo Sáinz-Villegas, guitar 
  • Esperanza Fernández, cantaora (flamenco singer)
  • Isaac Tovar, flamenco dancer 

RAVEL Le Tombeau de Couperin 

RODRIGO Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra 

FALLA El amor brujo (Love Bewitched)

PRE-CONCERT TALK 5:10PM - Heeseung Lee (University of Northern Colorado), speaker in the Gerald R Ford Amphitheater Lobby.

Program Notes

Le Tombeau de Couperin

(16 minutes)

MAURICE RAVEL (1875 - 1937)

Le tombeau de Couperin 
     Prélude
     Forlane
     Meneut
     Rigaudon

At first exempted from World War I military service due to his stature and weight (five foot-three and 108 pounds), Ravel managed to get assigned to the front lines at Verdun in 1916 as a driver in the Army Motor Transport Corps. His eagerness to serve may have exceeded his skill behind the wheel, as his correspondence reveals several incidents of one-car fender-benders. After illness and depression forced his withdrawal from service, he gradually started composing again.

Le tombeau de Couperin embraced that period of his life. In a 1914 letter to his pupil Roland-Manuel, Ravel reported: “I’m beginning ... a French Suite—no, it’s not what you think—the Marseillaise doesn’t come into it at all but there’ll be a forlane and a jig; not a tango, though.” He later explained, “The homage is directed less in fact to Couperin himself than to French music of the eighteenth century.” The Couperin family of musicians spanned almost 150 years of French music history, but the “Couperin himself” to whom he referred was François Couperin (1668-1733), harpsichordist extraordinaire and court musician to Louis XIV.

By the time Ravel finished his suite—six movements for solo piano— what had started as a celebration of French musical tradition had become a personal memorial, its movements individually dedicated to friends lost in combat. In June 1919 he selected four of the suite’s movements for orchestral arrangements. It would be hard to argue that the piano originals come close to making the effect of the crystalline orchestral versions, in which, as Roland Manuel observed, “strict necessity governs every move” and “with extreme economy and simplicity Ravel obtains translucence and variety of color throughout the whole work.”

Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra

(22 minutes)

JOAQUÍN RODRIGO (1901-99)

Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra 
     Allegro con spirito
     Adagio
     Allegro gentile

The Concierto de Aranjuez earned Joaquín Rodrigo a place on the list of classical music’s one-hit wonders. His Fantasía para un gentilhombre (1954), also for guitar and orchestra, is his only non-Aranjuez work you might encounter, but it runs a very distant second; and he also composed other concertos for one, two, and four guitars, as well as for cello, piano, violin, and flute—almost all of them ignored.

Blind since the age of three, Rodrigo began his musical studies in Valencia before moving to study in Paris. There he composed the Concierto de Aranjuez, which was inspired by a dinner where he encountered the noted guitarist Regino Sainz de la Maza. “All of a sudden,” Rodrigo recalled, “Regino, in that tone between unpredictable and determined which was so characteristic of him, said: ‘Listen, you have to come back with a Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra’—and to go straight to my heart, he added in a pathetic voice: ‘It’s the dream of my life’—and resorting to a bit of flattery, he continued, ‘This is your calling, as if you were ‘the chosen one.’ I quickly swallowed two glasses of the best Rioja, and exclaimed in a most convincing tone, ‘All right, it’s a deal!’”

The concerto stands as a tribute from a Spanish composer to a Spanish city rich in history. The medieval city of Aranjuez was widely known for its ancient palace. The composer wrote, “The Concierto de Aranjuez, a synthesis of classical and popular in both form and emotion, lies dreaming beneath the foliage of the park that surrounds the Baroque Palace, and only wishes to be as agile as a butterfly and as precise as a matador’s cape pass.

INTERMISSION

(18 minutes)

El amor brujo (Love, the Sorcerer)

(24 minutes)

MANUEL DE FALLA (1876-1946)

El amor brujo (Love, the Sorcerer)
     Introduction and Scene
     In the Gypsies’ Cave: Night-time
     Song of Sorrowful Love
     The Apparition
     Dance of Terror
     The Magic Circle (The Fisherman’s Story)
     Midnight: the Spells
     Ritual Fire Dance (To Scare Away the Evil Spirits)
     Scene
     Song of the Will-o’-the-Wisp
     Pantomime
     Dance of the Game of Love
     Finale: The Bells of Dawn

As a young, indigent composer, Manuel de Falla turned out six zarzuelas (peculiarly Spanish operettas), only one of which reached the stage. Still, those early experiences prepared him to realize his first certifiable masterpiece, La vida breve (The Brief Life), a true opera, dating from 1904-05. When plans to produce it fell through, Falla left in 1907 for where the action was—Paris. The outbreak of World War I forced his return to Spain, where he was invited to create a piece for the flamenco dancer-and-singer Pastora Imperio; she wanted a gitanería—a “Gypsy
piece”—that she could perform as a solo work. He settled on a scenario and libretto by Gregorio Martínez Sierra revolving around Candélas, a Romany woman in southern Spain obsessed by memories of her dead, no-good lover, whose image appears every time she embraces her new lover, Carmélo. Martínez Sierra compared Candélas’ obsession to “a hypnotic dream, a morbid, gruesome, maddening spell.” To rectify the situation, another girl is located to serve as a stand-in for Candélas, and while the girl diverts the attention of the dead lover, Candélas and Carmélo exchange a perfect kiss, after which the spell is broken and a new day dawns. 

Constructed as a series of (mostly) brief songs, dialogues, and dances, El amor brujo featured Pastora Imperio and several members of her immediate family, accompanied by a small instrumental ensemble. It met with mixed success at its premiere, but Falla quickly revised it into a more typical ballet, excising the dialogue and expanding the orchestration. In that form it was a resounding triumph, and the orchestral suite he derived from the score quickly became a
classic, no part more than the ultrapopular “Ritual Fire Dance.”