Manuel de Falla

With MANUEL DE FALLA (born Manuel María de los Dolores Clemente Ramón del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús Falla y Mateu – according to Spanish tradition, the mother’s last name is added after the father’s last name), alongside Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Granados, is associated the idea of the Spanish composer school of the early twentieth century. Raised in Andalusia, he retained an interest in Andalusian folklore and particularly in flamenco, the influence of which can be felt in his music, and his early opuses include several zarzuela pieces. He began writing chamber-instrumental works at the age of 14, and at the same time he took up literature, founding two literary magazines at the age of 15. He studied at the Madrid Conservatory under Felipe Pedrell, one of the central figures of the Renascimento, the Spanish cultural renaissance. His very first opera,  La vida breve (Life is Short, or The Brief Life) (1905), was widely acclaimed, was awarded a prize by the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, and was staged in Nice in 1913. The time spent in Paris between 1907 and 1914 and the contacts with Debussy, Ravel and especially Paul Ducca brought De Falla closer to the quest of musical impressionism. Later, in Madrid and Granada, his most famous opuses were born – Noches en los jardines de España (Nights in the Gardens of Spain), the ballets Love Magic and The Three-Cornered Hat (commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev for a production by his company, the Russian Ballet in London, with set design and costumes by Pablo Picasso), the suite for voice and piano Seven Spanish Folk Songs, also popular in editions for various instruments, and a number of other orchestral, chamber-instrumental and vocal opuses. After a failed attempt to save his close friend, the poet Federico García Lorca, from death in 1936 and the establishment of the Franco regime, De Falla left for Argentina, where he remained for the rest of his life.

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