Falla 1915

Canción Fuego Fatuo


The album Falla 1915 offers us the opportuni- ty to experience a composer reborn through two of his masterpieces. In Siete canciones populares españolas, the orchestral imagination of composer Francisco Domínguez enriches the original piano accompaniment without losing any folkloric substance. The first version of El amor brujo rediscovers a title that was created to be much more jondo [deeper], rawer and with more gypsy soul than the ballet it later became. Passion and spirit, sensuality and colour come to- gether to highlight what Falla loved and de- fended most: the preservation of our memory and our cultural heritage.


Iconic Works

Two iconic works by Manuel de Falla (1876- 1946) were premièred in Madrid in 1915, El amor brujo [Love, the Magician] and Si- ete canciones populares españolas [Seven Spanish Folksongs] – two works that brought into being the Cadiz-born composer’s life purpose of sublimating Hispanic folklore. Artistic manifestations derived from the soul of the people, especially the vitality and dynamism of Andalusian sonorities and cante jondo [deep song], became his most fertile source of inspiration. However, Falla’s production was not limited to transcribing or literally reusing this popular material, but rather manipulating it creatively, searching for its very essence and integrating it into the musical language of the time.

El amor brujo (1914-1915) came about in response to a commission for a song and dance for Pastora Imperio through the me- diation of the literary couple María de la O Lejárraga and Gregorio Martínez Sierra, close friends of the composer. The mother of the gypsy cantaora and dancer, Rosario Monje “la Mejorana”, acted as an informant in the pre- vious fieldwork carried out by the authors, to whom she narrated mysterious legends and sang different flamenco palos [styles]. The first version, which was longer than the final 1925 El amor brujo, was subtitled “gitanería en un acto con dos cuadros” [Gypsy Ballet in One Act and Two Scenes]. María Lejárraga’s libretto, as well as the number and order of the movements, vary considerably from the final ballet. The plot of the gypsy piece focus- es on the tricks and spells that a desperate, unrequited gypsy, Candelas, employs over the course of a single night to get her belov- ed to return to her. Over the course of sixteen movements, instrumental passages are in- terspersed with sung or recited pieces, as well as spoken dialogues that disappeared in the ballet. This recording enables us to listen to some of those narrations so that we can appreciate some of the divergences between the two adaptations.

In the original score of Siete canciones populares españolas (1914), the last work completed by the composer during his stay in Paris, the simplicity and melodic freshness of the voice, without unnecessary ornamen- tation and without going beyond the range of a sixth, contrasts with the captivating and virtuosic piano texture of intricate rhythms. The uniqueness of the present recording, per- formed by the up-and-coming BilbaoSinfo- nietta under the baton of Iker Sánchez Silva, lies in the recording of a new instrumentation for small orchestral ensemble arranged by the group’s composer-in-residence, Francis- co Domínguez, in 2019. The vocal part is not the usual lyrical voice, but that of a genuine cantaora [flamenco singer] like María Toledo. The ensemble chosen by Domínguez includes flute in G, flute in C, English horn, clarinet in B flat, bass clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, percussion and strings with divisi. The arrangement preserves the melodic, rhythmic and harmonic foundations of Falla’s original version, but also provides a contem- porary perspective in the timbres and extend- ed techniques proposed.

Bilbao Sinfonietta

Bilbao Sinfonietta is a versatile and highly flex- ible chamber orchestra capable of embracing classical-contemporary music in different con- texts with a clear aim: to reach the heart of to- day’s cultural scene through coherent and daring renditions. BilbaoSinfonietta comprises instru- mentalists with a long and distinguished track record who endorse the talent of this energetic and strong ensemble. Works such as “L’Histoire du soldat” by I. Stravinsky (Palau de Congresos de Castellón, 2018), “Requiem” by W. A. Mozart (XX Musika-Música Festival, Euskalduna Con- cert Hall, Bilbao 2021) or “Bariolage Sauvage” by M. Chamizo (XI Contemporary Music Circuit, Musikagileak, Donostia–San Sebastián 2021), are testament to this versatility. Some of its most recent projects include “L’Elisir D’ Amore” by G. Donizetti (Arriaga Antzokia Theatre, Bilbao 2021), “The Seven Deadly Sins” by Kurt Weill / Bertolt Brecht (Teatro Arriaga Antzokia, Bilbao) or the world première of the chamber operas in Basque “Bigarren Sexua” (Asier López Iraola) and “Arrosa Xuriaren Artean” (Francisco Domínguez).

Iker Sánchez

Musical director of the opera company Opus Lírica and artistic director of BilbaoSinfonietta, he has been the guest of prestigious international formations, such as the Barcelona Symphony Or- chestra and National Orchestra of Catalonia, the orchestras of Bilbao, Euskadi, Principado de Asturi- as, Tenerife, Oviedo, Ciudad de Pamplona, Oporto Casa da Música, Bayonne-Côte Basque, Concen- tus Alius Berlin, the Orchestra of the Humboldt University of Berlin or the Symphony Orchestra of Montenegro. In 2006, Iker Sánchez Silva won the competitive examination for assistant conductor at the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, and in 2020, he was nominated for the Opera XXI Awards. Trained as an instrumentalist in Donostia-San Sebastián, Bordeaux and Munich, he combined conducting classes with maestros Peter Eötvos, Jesús López Cobos and Arturo Tamayo with his work as assistant to big names in orchestral con- ducting such as Raymond Leppard, Juanjo Mena, Vasily Petrenko, Pablo González or Michael Ju- rowsky, in orchestras such as Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philharmonique du Luxembourg or Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

María Toledo

As the cantaora [flamenco singer] who has performed Falla’s “El Amor Brujo” [Love, the Magician] most often, her collaboration with BilbaoSinfonietta enables her to sparkle and offer new nuances to a work she knows inti- mately. Critics have praised her ability to give flexibility to the depth of flamenco singing without betraying its essence, in a career that has been endorsed by several Latin Grammy nominations and awards such as the Noble Prize at the international Cante de Las Minas festival and First Prize at the Flamenco Bien- nial in Cádiz. María Toledo has performed on a long list of prestigious stages: Konzerthaus Berlin, Barbican Centre London, Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid, Philharmonie de Paris, Florence Opera House or Teatro Regio in Turin, and accompanied prestigious orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Spain, RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Scot- tish Chamber Orchestra or the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

Francisco Domínguez

After studying composition with Gabriel Erkore- ka at Musikene (Donostia–San Sebastián) and completing a master’s degree in the speciality at Kunst Universität Graz (Austria) with Beat Furrer and Klaus Lang, Francisco Domínguez completed his training with Helmut Lachen- mann, Ramón Lazkano, Alberto Posadas and Rebecca Saunders, among other artists. He has worked with Iñaki Alberdi, Michael Faust, Henri Bok, L’Instant Donné, Schallfeld Ensemble, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Castile and León Symphony Orchestra and the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra. His talent and reputation have been recognised by numerous awards in prestigious international competi- tions: “Pablo Sorozabal” (1st Prize in the XV edition), “Francisco Escudero” (1st Prize in the VII and IX editions), “Franz Schubert” (Honour- able Mention in the X edition), “SGAE [Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers] Young Com- posers’ Competition” (Honourable Mention in the XXVI edition) and the “Toru Takemitsu Composition Award” (3rd Prize).