From the origins of Flamenco, to innovative arrangements, Serouj Kradjian discusses what’s in store at ¡España!:

 

October 5th’s program is a journey of rediscovering and reinterpreting Spanish classical music by going back to the roots of the Andalusian Flamenco tradition; its melodic, rhythmic and harmonic concepts. We take the music of Manuel de Falla   or Isaac Albeniz  back to its source of inspiration, giving particular attention to each rhythmic pattern, dance style, scale and harmony that these composers incorporate and “quote” in their works. In a sense, imaginatively reconstructing the route they have taken when conceiving their masterpieces and presenting them to you in new, innovative arrangements.

 a journey of rediscovering and reinterpreting Spanish classical music

The program starts with Spanish pianist and composer Alberto Guinovart. Fantasia sobre Goyescas is based on themes from the piano suite Goyescas, composed by Enrique Granados who was inspired by paintings of Francisco Goya.  He would later compose a one-act opera by the same name and based on those same themes. Guinovart forever remains faithful to Granados’ piano language. Today’s arrangement uses clarinet to replace the voice in these gems.

In my new arrangement of Manuel de Falla’s Siete canciones populares Espanolas (in its instrumental form known as “Suite Populaire Espagnole”), I add the flamenco guitar to the cello and the piano, highlighting the flamenco characteristics of each song. After all, de Falla (together with Spanish poet, dramatist, theatre director and musician Federico Garcia Lorca), organized the first flamenco festival in Spain in the 1922, at a time when flamenco was still considered to be the music of the culturally oppressed.

We conclude the first half of the program with a new arrangement of the famous Asturias by Isaac Albeniz which becomes a passionate, accentuated exchange between the piano and the guitar, bringing out and emphasizing the bulerias and the cante jondo character of the different sections of the piece.

We open the second half with El Albaicin (from Book 3 of the Iberia Suite for piano). The Seguidillas rhythm, or Panaderos dance characteristics, are taken over by the guitar, while the piano retains the grand orchestral sections of the piece accompanied by the percussive effects of the guitar.

Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona is probably the first successful “crossover” composer and musician.  He had a remarkable ability to embed Afro-Cuban music in his compositions. Malaguena,  from his Suite Andalucia (1927), is his most famous work.

Historia de Paganini is kind of a musical joke on my part, where I combine Liszt/Paganini’s “La Campanella” with the famous love song “Historia de un amor”, in a bulerias rhythm.

This concert is also a tribute to the legendary flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia who passed away earlier this year. Paco truly took this music to a higher and more spectacular level, in the same way Astor Piazzolla did with the tango. The works we will perform attest to his legacy as a founder of the Nuevo Flamenco (New Flamenco) and his immense contribution to its development, nurturing and inspiring numerous other flamenco artists.

 

-Serouj Kradjian