Dancing with Falla

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

This week All Ears dances with Falla. Terrance McKnight presents music by Manuel de Falla including a performance by the composer. Among Falla's many compositions, his celebrated El amor brujo (Love, the Magician) is featured this week.

Born in 1876, Falla was raised in Cádiz, Spain, and grew up surrounded by the alluring sounds of Spanish music. He began piano lessons with his mother, showing an innate gift for music early on. He later became fascinated with the works of Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky, before moving to Paris in 1907. During Falla's time in his Paris, he flourished as a pianist and composer.

He studied with Debussy and befriended prominent musicians such as André Messager and Paul Dukas. Though he was influenced by the great French composers of his day, Falla's love for his country is visible in his compositions. Many of them sound distinctly Spanish in character, harmonically and rhythmically, and often employ traditional Spanish melodies.

Opening this week's show is Falla's boisterous Ritual Dance from El amor brujo. We hear cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, and a swinging rendition by Hazel Scott. Later on, The composer himself performs at the piano in a performance of El amor brujo  with soprano Maria Barrientos. Like Falla, the legendary Miles Davis had an affinity for the colorful sounds of Spain. We hear Miles in an arrangement of Falla's Will' o' the wisp by Gil Evans. Complementing the works of Falla and the Spanish influence, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Michael Barrett perform music by Joaquin Rodrigo.


Playlist (in alphabetical order by composer):

Samuel Barber
"Excursions for Piano," Op. 20
John Browning, piano
Music Masters

Gavin Bryars
Glorious Hill
Hilliard Ensemble

Manuel De Falla
El amor brujo
Maria Barrientos, soprano; Manuel de Falla, piano

Manuel De Falla
"El amor brujo": 'Ritual Fire Dance'
Mstislav Rostropovich, cello; Alexander Dedyukhin, piano

Manuel De Falla
Gil Evans, arranger
El amor brujo: Will o' the Wisp
Miles Davis, trumpet

Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Pasquinade, Op. 59 (Caprice)
Noel Lester, piano

Judd Greenstein
Nadia Sirota, viola
New Amsterdam

Aram Khachaturian
Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano
Zodiac Trio
Vanessa Mollard, violin; Riko Higuma, piano; Kliment Krylovskiy, clarinet

James Hubert ("Eubie") Blake
"Jassamine Lane"
Amherst Saxophone Quartet

John Musto
Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano (1998)
Jesse Mills, violin; James Wilson, cello; Michael Boriskin, piano

Todd Reynolds
Uh...it all happened so fast

Joaquin Rodrigo
Nani, nani
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, mezzo-soprano; Michael Barrett, piano

Jason Treuting
Fire Escapes
So Percussion


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