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Lorca in Tune with Falla

Lorca in Tune with Falla: Literary and Musical Interludes

Series: Toronto Iberic
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Lorca in Tune with Falla
    Book Description:

    Lorca in Tune with Fallais the first book to trace Lorca's impact on Falla's music, and Falla's influence on Lorca's writings.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6774-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations and Musical Examples
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Nelson R. Orringer
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Musical Glossary
    (pp. xv-2)
  7. Introduction: The Intersection of Two Artists’ Lives
    (pp. 3-33)

    Seldom does chance bring together two artists in different media with decisive impact on each other’s works. When that mutual influence occurs, epoch-making creation emerges. The friendship that developed between Manuel de Falla and Federico García Lorca while both resided in Granada led to some of their most celebrated writings. Both approached art between the two poles of music and letters, though from different directions. Falla, one of the most performed twentieth-century Spanish composers, wrote music often inspired by literature. Federico García Lorca, one of the most published twentieth-century Spanish poets, penned verse often stimulated by music. As a pre-adolescent,...

  8. 1 Music in the Letters of Lorca before Meeting Falla
    (pp. 34-49)

    García Lorca’s brother Francisco puzzles over his first published book,Impresiones y paisajes[Impressions and landscapes, 1918]. These travel essays appear dedicated to the memory of the author’s former music professor, Don Antonio Segura Mesa, deceased two years earlier. Under his direction, Federico had studied Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Schubert, Chopin, Glinka, Liszt, Wagner, Strauss, Debussy, and Ravel. Francisco thinks that Federico should instead have dedicated the book to Don Martín Domínguez Berrueta, his art history professor, who organized excursions to study artworks and monuments throughout Andalusia and Castile while encouraging students to keep a journal of their impressions. From such...

  9. 2 Fantasía Bætica and “Baladilla de los tres ríos”: Two Searches for Andalusian Wellsprings
    (pp. 50-63)

    “Alhambrism,” as defined by Michael Christoforidis, denotes “the Romantic construction of Granada as the last European refuge of Arab culture.” This stylized nostalgia originated in Ginés Pérez de Hita’sHistoria de las guerras civiles de Granada[Civil wars of Granada, 1595].¹ A historical novel on the feuds between noble families in Granada, the Zegri and the Abencerage factions, the work originated the prototype of the Moor as “brave, spirited, courtly, and chivalric.” The idealization affected Spanish Golden Age and Enlightenment authors and spread abroad to Romanticists F.-R. Chateaubriand, Victor Hugo, Washington Irving, and Théophile Gautier (Haboucha, “Pérez de Hita” 1260)....

  10. 3 “Poema de la siguiriya gitana”: Return to the Sources of Deep Song
    (pp. 64-74)

    Falla’s presence in Lorca’s poetry endows it with depth, a third conceptual and intuitive dimension that it might otherwise lack. Every artistic element refers to every other. In “Poema de la siguiriya gitana” [Poem of the Gypsy siguiriya], first section ofPCJ, Lorca develops motifs not emphasized in the introductory “Baladilla de los tres ríos,” written with Falla’s musical theory and practice in mind. The initial ballad offers return to the sources of deep song in the Andalusian collective character – a lesson in ethno-anthropology, poetically expressed. Awareness of the precariousness of existence, a pain without object and solution, pervades the...

  11. 4 “Poema de la soleá”: Consciousness-Raising of Pain in Lorca and Falla
    (pp. 75-82)

    “Poema de la soleá” [Poem of the soleá], the second poetic division ofPCJ, parallels the first, “Poema de la siguiriya gitana” [Poem of the Gypsy siguiriya]. Both begin with Andalusian landscapes, offer verses on screams preceding the dance, and introduce female personifications of the dance in the central poem. In Lorca an arabesque emerges with direct links between its components. The poet remarks, perhaps with his own art in mind, “The arabesque tradition in the Alhambra palace, complicated and covering little space, weighs heavily on all the great artists of that land [Granada].”¹ In Lorca’s poem, an interlocking of...

  12. 5 “Poema de la saeta”: The Oblation of Pain in Seville
    (pp. 83-92)

    Sevillian-born modernist poet Manuel Machado ranks the saeta at the apex of deep song. The religious quality of that genre, he finds, does not deny its Gypsy roots. Unaccompanied except for street sounds of Seville on Holy Week nights, this music employs commonplaces of deep song like love, death, pain, and motherhood. However, in this festive context, Machado observes that love is divine, and the mother the Virgin.¹ To paraphrase the poet, whatever passion an individual singer experiences – a failed love, death of a loved one – that artist sublimates such passion, offering it up to honour the suffering Christ or...

  13. 6 “Gráfico de la Petenera” and Falla’s Guitar Elegy to Debussy
    (pp. 93-105)

    Lorca dedicated to Falla the first published version of the poetic section “Gráfico de la Petenera” [Graph of the Petenera]. With its semi-serious elegy played on an imaginary guitar, these verses offered a posthumous tribute to a fabled flamenco songstress. Because of one unrequited love, this Doña Juana, in defiance of established social gender roles – a habit that must have endeared her to Lorca – resolved to avenge herself on all men (Demarquez,Falla50). The poetry first came into print in 1924 under the title “Petenera” in Jean Cassou’s French translation for the reviewIntentions.² In August 1923, Lorca had...

  14. 7 Openness to Death in Flamenco Artists and in Southern Cities
    (pp. 106-118)

    In a 1933 lecture, Lorca presented Spain as a “country open to death” [país abierto a la muerte] (Obras completas3:312), chief obsession of the poet himself. The nation, he felt, derives creative energies from its reactions to dying. Two sections of poems inPCJillustrate this attitude: “Viñetas flamencas” [Flamenco vignettes] and “Tres ciudades” [Three cities]. While arranging in 1931 the publication ofPCJ, Lorca must have sensed their relatedness (PCJ39), although he subsequently separated them (PCJ43). On a written fold of paper enclosing the manuscript passed to his friend Rafael Martínez Nadal, he grouped them all...

  15. 8 “Seis caprichos” or Virtuosity and Art at a Distance
    (pp. 119-123)

    Mocking continues without transition from the poem “Baile” to the next section ofPCJ, “Seis caprichos” [Six caprices]. Lorca dedicates this eighth part, originally intended to be the last, to his friend, the guitar virtuoso Regino Sainz de la Maza (PCJ253). Sainz’s virtuosity offers a key to the “capriciousness” of this poetry. In music, the capriccio or caprice normally consists of an instrumental piece more or less free of formal rules, with a lively tempo and surprising virtuosity at the performer’s whim (Kennedy,Oxford Dictionary of Music115).¹ An example is Rimsky-Korsakov’sCapriccio espagnol, mentioned by Lorca in his...

  16. 9 Falla on Deep Song and Lorca’s Romancero gitano
    (pp. 124-149)

    InRomancero gitano[Gypsy ballads], the most reprinted and critiqued poetry book in Spanish literature (Gibson,Life212), critics have yet to examine the author’s admitted debt to Falla (Lorca,Obras completas3:953). His impact largely explains Lorca’s differences from other artists of his age group. The anthology, published in June 1928, drew immediate fire from his contemporaries. In a letter of September 1928, Salvador Dalí synthesized the main reservations of others: docility to traditional poetic norms, stereotyping and conformist commonplaces, excessive coherence and rationality deforming poetic objects, unnecessary detail in customs and anecdotes, and literary immorality à la Cocteau (Gibson,...

  17. 10 Andalusia’s “Cultural Spirit” in Two Trios of Gypsy Ballads
    (pp. 150-174)

    Poema del cante jondoandRomancero gitanostem from Lorca’s attempt to preserve an endangered Andalusian “cultural spirit.” This regional creative principle, as applied to Andalusia by Falla and as modified by Lorca, provides a basis for at least six of Lorca’s Gypsy ballads. Three concern individuals: the triptych of “Martirio de Santa Olalla” [Martyrdom of Saint Olalla], “Burla de don Pedro a caballo” [Mockery of Don Pedro on Horseback], and “Thamar y Amnón” [Tamar and Amnon];¹ and three deal with cities: “San Rafael (Córdoba)” [Saint Raphael (Cordoba)], “San Miguel (Granada)” [Saint Michael (Granada)], and “San Gabriel (Sevilla)” [Saint Gabriel...

  18. 11 Lorca’s Artistic Tributes to Falla
    (pp. 175-198)

    Between 1920 and 1929, Lorca habitually paid tribute to his friend Falla. His postcard to Falla of 8 May 1923 contains a gratuitous expression of admiration, provoked by the Belgian triumph ofLa vida breve: “I already know the great success that you had in Brussels and that gladdens me as if it had been my own, since you already know the affection and great, enthusiastic admiration that I hold for your work and your person.”² At three points in their lives, Lorca’s admiration assumed artistic form. On 31 December 1920, he engineered a musical prank, but one showing high...

  19. Postlude with Coda
    (pp. 199-218)

    The most salient conclusion that a book on the Falla-Lorca relationship can reach is its own inconclusiveness. The mutual impact of both artists has so many aspects and subtleties that exploration can proceed endlessly. To review our finds, a mantle of saintliness, religious hero-worship linked to music, passed from the shoulders of the teenaged Lorca’s piano teacher Segura Mesa to those of the renowned Falla in the poet’s youth and maturity. Trained by his mother to look for beauty in religion, he made a religion of beauty. Vicenta Lorca Romero also loved classical piano music, just as her husband Federico...

  20. Notes
    (pp. 219-270)
  21. Works Consulted
    (pp. 271-286)
  22. Index
    (pp. 287-300)
  23. Back Matter
    (pp. 301-301)