Falla (y Matheu), Manuel (Maria) de

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Falla (y Matheu), Manuel (Maria) de

Falla (y Matheu), Manuel (Maria) de , great, Spanish composer; b. Cadiz, Nov. 23, 1876; d. Alta Gracia, Cordoba province, Argentina, Nov. 14, 1946. He studied piano with his mother; after further instruction from Eloisa Galluzo, he studied harmony, counterpoint, and composition with Alejandro Odero and Enrique Broca; then went to Madrid, where he studied piano with Jose Trago and composition with Felipe Pedrell at the Cons. He wrote several zarzuelas, but only Los amores de la Ines was performed (Madrid, April 12, 1902). His opera La vida breve won the prize of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes in Madrid in 1905, but it was not premiered until 8 years later. In 1905 he also won the Ortiz y Cusso Prize for pianists. In 1907 he went to Paris, where he became friendly with Debussy, Dukas, and Ravel, who aided and encouraged him as a composer. Under their influence, he adopted the principles of Impressionism without, however, giving up his personal and national style. He returned to Spain in 1914 and produced his tremendously effective ballet El amor brujo (Madrid, April 2, 1915). It was followed by the evocative Noches en los jardines de Espana for piano and orch. (Madrid, April 9, 1916). In 1919 he made his home in Granada, where he completed work on his celebrated ballet El sombrero de ires picos (London, July 22, 1919). Falla’s art was rooted in both the folk songs of Spain and the purest historical traditions of Spanish music. Until 1919 his works were cast chiefly in the Andalusian idiom, and his instrumental technique was often conditioned by effects peculiar to Spain’s national instrument, the guitar. In his puppet opera El retablo de maese Pedro (1919–22), he turned to the classical tradition of Spanish (especially Castilian) music. The keyboard style of his Harpsichord Concerto (1923–26), written at the suggestion of Wanda Landowska, reveals in the classical lucidity of its writing a certain kinship with Domenico Scarlatti, who lived in Spain for many years. Falla became president of the Institute de Espana in 1938. When the Spanish Civil War broke out, and General Franco overcame the Loyalist government with the aid of Hitler and Mussolini, Falla left Spain and went to South America, never to return to his homeland. He went to Buenos Aires, where he conducted concerts of his music. He then withdrew to the small locality of Alta Gracia, where he lived the last years of his life in seclusion, working on his large scenic cantata Atldntida. It remained unfinished at his death and was later completed by his former pupil, Ernesto Halffter.


DRAMATIC La vida breve, opera (1904–05; Nice, April 1, 1913); El amor brujo, ballet (1914–15; Madrid, April 2, 1915; concert version, 1916); El corregidor y la molinera, farsa mimica (1916–17; Madrid, April 7, 1917; rev. and expanded as El sombrero de tres picos); El sombrero de tres picos, ballet (rev. and expanded from El corregidor y la molinera; 1918–19; 2 orch. suites, 1919; London, July 22, 1919); El retablo de maese Pedro, puppet opera (1919–22; concert perf., Seville, March 23, 1923; private stage perf. in the salon of Princess de Poligna, Paris, June 25, 1923; public stage perf., Paris, Nov. 13, 1923); Atldntida, cantata escenica (1925–6; unfinished; completed by E. Halffter; Milan, June 18, 1962; rev. and perf. in concert form, Lucerne, Sept. 9, 1976); also several zarzuelas, including Los amores de la Ines (Madrid, April 12, 1902); incidental music, and a comic opera, Fuegofatuo (1918–19). ORCH.: Noches en los jardines de Espana for Piano and Orch. (1909–15; Madrid, April 9, 1916); Concerto for Harpsichord or Piano, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Violin, and Cello (1923–26; Barcelona, Nov. 4, 1926); Homenajes, 4 pieces: 1, a Cl Debussy (orig. for Guitar as Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy, 1920); 2, Fanfare sobre el nombre de E.F. Arbos (1933); 3, a Paul Dukas (orig. for Piano as Pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas, 1935); 4, Pedrelliana (1924–39; 1st perf. of entire suite, Buenos Aires, Nov. 18, 1939). CHAMBER : Melodia for Cello and Piano (1897–99); Mireya for Flute and Piano Quartet (1899); Piano Quartet (1899); Romanza for Cello and Piano (1899); Serenata andaluza for Violin and Piano (1899; not extant); Fanfare pour une fete (1921). KEYBOARD : Piano : Nocturno (1899); Serenata andaluza (1899); Cancion (1900); Vals-capricho (1900); Cortejo de gnomos (1901); Suite fantdstica (1901; not extant); Hoja de album (1902); Pieces espagnoles: Aragonesa, Cubana, Montanesa, and Andaluza (1902–8); Allegro de concierto (1903); Fantasia betica (1919); Canto de los remeros del Volga (1922); Pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas (1935; orch. version as Homenajes). G u i t a r : Homenaje “Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy” (1920; orch. version as Homenajes). VOCAL: Dos rimas (1899–1900); Preludios (1900); Tus ojillo negros (1902); Trois melodies (1909); Siete canciones populares espanolas (1914–15); Oracion de las madres que tienen a sus hijos en brazos (1914); El pan de ronda (1915); Psyche for Voice, Flute, Harp, and String Trio (1924); Soneto a Cordoba for Voice and Harp or Piano (1927).


Escritos sobre musica y musicos (ed. by F. Sopefia; Madrid, 1950; 3rd ed., 1972; Eng. tr., 1979, as On Music and Musicians)’, Cartas a Segismondo Romero (ed. by P. Recuero; Granada, 1976); Correspondencia de Manuel de Falla (ed. by E. Franco; Madrid, 1978).


J. Trend, M. d.F. and Spanish Music (N.Y., 1929; new ed., 1934); Roland-Manuel, M. d.F. (Paris, 1930); A. Sagardia, M. d.F. (Madrid, 1946); J. Thomas, M. d.F. en la Isla (Palma, 1947); J. Jaenisch, M. d.F. und die spanische Musik (Zurich and Freiburg im Breisgau, 1952); L. Campodonico, F. (Paris, 1959); R. Arizaga, M. d.F. (Buenos Aires, 1961); E. Molina Fajardo, M. d.F. y el “cante jondo” (Granada, 1962); J. Viniegra, M. d.F.: Su vida intima (Cadiz, 1966); A. Saeardia, Vida y Obra de M. d.F. (Madrid, 1967);J. Grunfeld, M. d.F.: Spanien und die neue Musik (Zurich, 1968);M. Orozco, M. d.F.: Biografia illustrada (Barcelona, 1968); A. Campoamor Gonzalez, M. d.F., 1876–1946 (Madrid, 1976); R. Crichton, M. d.F.: Descriptive Catalogue of His Works (London, 1976); B. James, M. d.F. and the Spanish Musical Renaissance (London, 1979); R. Crichton, F. (London, 1982); G. Chase and A. Budwig, M. d.F.: A Bibliography and Research Guide (N.Y., 1986);J. de Persia, Los ultimos anos de M. d.F. (Madrid, 1989); T. Garms, Der Flamenco und der spanische Folklore in M. d.F.s Werken (Wiesbaden, 1990); K. Pahlen, M. d.F. und der Musik in Spaniern (Mainz, 1993); A. Ruiz-Pipo, Catalogo de I’oeuvre de M. d. F. (Paris, 1993); N. Harper, M. d.F.: A Bio-Bibliography (Westport, Conn., 1998).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire