Author Topic: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde  (Read 12783 times)

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snyprrr

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La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« on: October 21, 2010, 07:14:59 PM »
A group of Composers is coming more into focus, alongside the very well known Italians, as one of the cornerstones of High Modernism. Together as "la Generacion del '51", Cristobal Halffter, Luis De Pablo, Tomas Marco, and Francisco Guerrero (d.) have emerged as a block of unique creativity, the three former Composers representing some of the last living exponents of the 20th Century's zenith.

Halffter stands (sits?) as the doyen of Spanish Music, and has a story similar to other oppressed Composers of the day. I'm no expert on Creativity under the Franco regime, but Paul Naschy is a hoot, haha! ::) Seriously, Halffter's music is laden with pieces for dead poets and such, though, as one begins to notice with CH, things aren't quite as they seem.

On the strength of hearing his SQ No.3, I declared Halffter one of the Greastest Modern Experimental Composers. Much of Ligeti, Xenakis, the Italians, and the such like (Ruzicka), are present here in Halffter, and, thankfully, in a very personal style. The SQ No.3 is pure blazing placidity, Total Complexity in the style of Ligeti, Xenakis, and Ferneyhough.

I now have 3 cds of chamber music, the new SQ/Arditti disc, and the Cello Concerto No.2 with Slava/Erato. His music in the late '60s and early '70s has a feral, uncompromising outlook. This is some austere stuff in the vein of 1960's Xenakis. By the late '70s, after Franco's death, Halffter became disillusioned with his hopefulness for a New Spanish Era, and his music has been evolving since this crisis. The mid '80s Cello Concerto No.2 has a lot of the same stuff that Concertos from Penderecki and Schnittke have from the same era, a generally brooding atmosphere that was apparently quite prevalent during the time (1985?, 1985?, hmmm?). It is quite beautiful.

A Piano Trio, Cancion Callada (for Mompou), is like if Xenakis had written an actually lovely lullaby, whilst the sax quartet Fractal is one of the best, and most vicious and violent, representatives for that combination. Halffter has range.

He has written Operas on Classic Spanish Themes such as Don Quixote, and has had a late flowering of Piano Music. All of a sudden Halffter has shot up into my Inner Circle. I suggest you look into Cristobal Halffter.



Luis De Pablo and Tomas Marco were both introduced on the same Arditti disc with the Halffter. De Pablo is talked about (he has a pretty famous cd on Harmonia Mundi, Tarde de Poetas), but I wonder if anyone hear can say two sentences about him. I have a Stradivarius disc with two chamber orchestra pieces and a Piano Quintet (Metaforas), also written for the Ardittis. He exhibits the same traits many Great Modern Composers do: imagination and mystery, command of technique, and things to say. I'd say he's happy sounding, like Donatoni: joyful in making music. I see a few things in his discography that would completment what I have. I'm hoping someone has a word on this Interesting Composer.

Marco also has many of the same characteristics. Though I wasn't as impressed initally, on the original Arditti disc, the Arditti disc with his SQs 1-4 is great. He has Symphonies (at least 5) and Concertos and Piano Music and various Chamber pieces, but I have yet to explore further. Still, I'd keep him on the radar.

There are a few discs, such as one for Spanish Music for 8 cellos, that contains all three composers, but you can get most all of Fracisco Guerrerro's music on just a few discs. If you can handle it. He's pretty rough, like Xenakis with rabies, but not really in the noise factor. There is a ColLegno disc of his Complete Orchestral Works, an Arditti disc of string combos, a chamber disc, and a piano disc.

I have the Arditti, and, it's one of my least favorite things, really. It's very, very hermetically sealed music, very claustaphobic and amorphously searching, like parts of Xenakis (though, here, those parts are expanded). Guerrero is not a Composer you will "like", I don't think, but, if you're like me, that's all you need to start collecting! ::) Oy vey!



I am hoping someone will be able to add here. I know this can be an iffy place for most folks, but, I suspect many would love Halffter's Cello Concerto No.2, or other pieces by these Composers, if giving a fair shot. For anyone already attuned to the Avant-Garde, this should represent a pretty swift rabbithole! I simply thought it was time to bring this group on line. Viva la fiesta!! ;D


Offline petrarch

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2010, 05:39:11 AM »
It's been a very long time since I listened to Halffter; I only have two works by him, Variaciones sobre la resonancia de un grito and Planto por las víctimas de la violencia, the first one widely mentioned in the literature. To be honest, I don't remember anything about either of those works, that's how long I haven't listened to them :), though this thread will prompt me to listen to them again right away.

Of Pablo I only have one work, Il violino spagnolo, which I like quite a bit. I based my own Menons Klagen um Diotima for tape on about 20 seconds of the work's third movement.

I know of Marco and Guerrero, but I don't have anything by them (well, I do have a few works by the Francisco Guerrero of the 16th Century, though ;)).
« Last Edit: October 22, 2010, 05:43:20 AM by petrArch »
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snyprrr

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2010, 08:37:34 AM »
Variaciones sobre la resonancia de un grito and Planto por las víctimas de la violencia,

Of Pablo I only have one work, Il violino spagnolo, which I like quite a bit. I based my own Menons Klagen um Diotima for tape on about 20 seconds of the work's third movement.

The two Halffter pieces are in the earlier, austere style. YouTube has the Piano Concerto, from the '80s, very nice.

I'll have to listen to that Arditti violin recital.

Seeing as you're the only poster, and knowing your pedigree, I think it's safe to say we probably have the market cornered here! :'(,...oy,... well, at least it's nice to know there IS "one", haha! We ARE the Club, haha! Boy, this makes me feel exclusive! 8)

snyprrr

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2010, 10:14:12 AM »
Luis De Pablo: 2e2m recital/Paul Mefano



With this release, I'm starting to get a better picture of De Pablo. There are five pieces on this album, four with ensemble. My first thought is "a Spanish Donatoni": De Pablo has the same, percolating high spirits, and he doesn't seem to sound dreary in the least. The coolest feature of this release is a piece De Pablo wrote especially for the cd, a Notturino he quickly jotted down (only 2.5mins), utilizing all the instruments in the other pieces. This piece is a great introduction to modern music in general, having a scintillating atmosphere that is infectious.

De Pablo is fond of tube-y, metallic sounds that seem to reflect a sunny Spanish disposition (very unlike the more dour Halffter). There is a new Claves cd that features a harp concerto and a cello concerto, that might be the next on the list. Beware, though: it appears a lot of De Pablo, like Segunda Lectura, appear on multiple cds, so, his discography is in reality pretty small.

Does anyone have Tarde des Poetas on HM?

Anyhow, if you like Donatoni, you should like De Pablo.

Offline some guy

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2010, 07:48:28 PM »
I have only the Stradivarius times future disc of Portrait imagine and Com un epileg.

On Amazon, I only saw one other de Pablo disc from Stradivarius, with Los Novisimus and Vendaval.

On the Stradivarius site, I found nothing by de Pablo. In fact, I didn't see any of the many Stradivarius times future discs that I have, though I saw a few I've also seen in stores. What's going on there; does anyone know?

(Wait a minute. I did just find one. A Javier Torres Maldonado. But that's it on that site.)

snyprrr

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2010, 08:07:59 PM »
I have only the Stradivarius times future disc of Portrait imagine and Com un epileg.

On Amazon, I only saw one other de Pablo disc from Stradivarius, with Los Novisimus and Vendaval.

On the Stradivarius site, I found nothing by de Pablo. In fact, I didn't see any of the many Stradivarius times future discs that I have, though I saw a few I've also seen in stores. What's going on there; does anyone know?

(Wait a minute. I did just find one. A Javier Torres Maldonado. But that's it on that site.)

Stradivarius seems a maddening company all of a sudden. I bought loads of their stuff in the '90s on the sheer strength of their awesome covers! Anyhow, the original De Pablo Strad has Segunda Lectura, Libro de Imagines, and Metaforas. It is slightly disguised on Amazon. But,... all those original, cool discs have either vanished, or their covers have been turned into their new, generic look (I was mortified when I first saw this, and contacted them directly to get a certain cd in the original cover,... yea, I'm like that ::)). That Donatoni disc with For Grilly is a great example. Great original cover, and probably the first Strad I got.

The Strad/De Pablo you have, is that vocals? What do you think?

PaulSC

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2010, 01:53:29 AM »
snyprrr, you make me want to check out Halffter, even though I'm deep into a JS Bach binge at the moment. He's a name know but have maybe never listened to. I tend to confuse him with his uncle Rodolfo, who was an early adopter in Spain of twelve-tone techniques.

De Pablo I know rather better; I have the violin piece that PetrArch mentions on an Arditti solo disc, plus your Stradivarius disc and 2e2m recital. Out of those last two I prefer the latter, possibly on the strength of the performances rather than the compositions. Your comparison to Donatoni is spot-on, and the resemblance is strongest in the 2e2m programme -- of course the same group has made excellent recordings of Donatoni.

The comparison to Donatoni may not be favorable to de Pablo, however. Donatoni has a faster rate-of-change -- amazing new ideas, or new twists on old ones, are always popping up -- and he has a lighter touch in his instrumental writing. De Pablo can seem a bit flat-footed in comparison. But his work is appealing on its own terms, and I should give the 2e2m disc a fresh listen even if I'm not in a hurry to acquire more. The back of the 2e2m booklet has that endearing photo of the composer sitting in a doorway with a cat at his side.

The others aren't familiar to me...

PaulSC

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2010, 02:06:12 AM »
Oops, after a quick browse I seem to like the Stradivarius disc more, and 2e2m on ADDA less well than I remembered. (Still, that cat picture!)

snyprrr

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2010, 08:03:08 AM »
snyprrr, you make me want to check out Halffter, even though I'm deep into a JS Bach binge at the moment. He's a name know but have maybe never listened to. I tend to confuse him with his uncle Rodolfo, who was an early adopter in Spain of twelve-tone techniques.

De Pablo I know rather better; I have the violin piece that PetrArch mentions on an Arditti solo disc, plus your Stradivarius disc and 2e2m recital. Out of those last two I prefer the latter, possibly on the strength of the performances rather than the compositions. Your comparison to Donatoni is spot-on, and the resemblance is strongest in the 2e2m programme -- of course the same group has made excellent recordings of Donatoni.

The comparison to Donatoni may not be favorable to de Pablo, however. Donatoni has a faster rate-of-change -- amazing new ideas, or new twists on old ones, are always popping up -- and he has a lighter touch in his instrumental writing. De Pablo can seem a bit flat-footed in comparison. But his work is appealing on its own terms, and I should give the 2e2m disc a fresh listen even if I'm not in a hurry to acquire more. The back of the 2e2m booklet has that endearing photo of the composer sitting in a doorway with a cat at his side.

The others aren't familiar to me...

The Cello Concerto No.2 might be the place to start with Halffter. The Erato cd also has the Handel Parafrasis, which is built around a beautiful Handel melody (don't know which one).

Glad to see someone else also has checked out De Pablo. I do think that the 2e2m playing is deliciously crisp and bubbly. And yes, Donatoni trumps here, though, as you say, De Pablo really doesn't come off any less.

Cool,... I'm glad there are a few people around. That gives me a little comfort that if I have a little nugget, there will be someone out there that I can share that with. Thanks! ;)

btw- I'm totally obsessed with what kind of Horton Hears A Who type of thing is going on in De Pablo's beard, haha! ;D

snyprrr

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2010, 08:04:10 AM »
btw- our humble little Thread has 125 hits now,...woo hoo! :-*

Looks like we have our guest list, haha!

Offline some guy

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2010, 11:20:09 AM »
The de Pablo I have is vocals, yes.

I'm still in the "this sounds like..." phase with de Pablo. And Messiaen and late Stravinsky are certainly nice things to sound like.

I think the instrumental bits of both these pieces are more interesting than the choral bits. His vocal writing doesn't come across as nearly as inventive as his instrumental writing. (There's a bass drum+ bit in Com un epileg that's delightful.)

I do hope, with you, that more people contribute to this thread, though. I discovered Gerhard early, and he's remained a favorite of mine. But after Gerhard, I jumped to the more recent Spaniards, especially Francisco Lopez. (Even Kairos has put out a Lopez album--not their usual kind of composer--and it's a five CD set, too.) So I'm interested in backtracking, as it were, and filling in some gaps. Halffter, for instance. I don't think I have any Halffter. I've picked up several Marco and one Guerrero in the past year.

snyprrr

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2010, 12:27:55 PM »
The de Pablo I have is vocals, yes.

I'm still in the "this sounds like..." phase with de Pablo. And Messiaen and late Stravinsky are certainly nice things to sound like.

I think the instrumental bits of both these pieces are more interesting than the choral bits. His vocal writing doesn't come across as nearly as inventive as his instrumental writing. (There's a bass drum+ bit in Com un epileg that's delightful.)

I do hope, with you, that more people contribute to this thread, though. I discovered Gerhard early, and he's remained a favorite of mine. But after Gerhard, I jumped to the more recent Spaniards, especially Francisco Lopez. (Even Kairos has put out a Lopez album--not their usual kind of composer--and it's a five CD set, too.) So I'm interested in backtracking, as it were, and filling in some gaps. Halffter, for instance. I don't think I have any Halffter. I've picked up several Marco and one Guerrero in the past year.

I can't seem to connect Gerhard with the Spanish AvantGarde. He remains one of those strange outsider/insiders who always end up living in London. This '51 Group reminds me more of the same type of group coming out of Russia (Denisov, Schnittke, Gubaidulina), though, the sound is totally different.



Go to Amazon and Search "temes grupo" in the music section. He's kinda like a Spanish Mefano, lots of interesting recitals.



Is the Guerrero the cd of chamber works? There seems to be one orchestral, one chamber, one strings, and one piano cd available. And that's his whole output (with an electronic piece too?). He's really gritty.



I'll say again with Halffter, that maybe the Erato disc with Rostropovich is the overall best/most professional/communicative entrance to this ultra serious sounding Composer. I definitely think CH is part of the overall generation of Great Composers (Xenakis, Ligeti, Boulez, Stoc...) that we all love. His most experimental phase would be the late '60s to late '70s. I'm sure someguy would be interested in the Grito electronic piece that PetRock,... I mean PetrArch ::) mentioned.

Offline some guy

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2010, 01:32:13 PM »
orchestral

snyprrr

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde/Joan Guinjoan
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2010, 10:39:58 PM »
boy I hope I spelled that right.

Is anyone familiar with Joan Guinjoan?

I take it that it's a man, baby? :-[ 8)

Offline lescamil

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde/Joan Guinjoan
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2010, 12:07:31 AM »
boy I hope I spelled that right.

Is anyone familiar with Joan Guinjoan?

I take it that it's a man, baby? :-[ 8)

Yes, he is a man. Joan is the Catalan equivalent of Juan, which is the Spanish equivalent of John, of course. He is a composer that I am personally still trying to figure out, personally, along with Cristóbal Halffter (don't forget the accents!). Both of their music is highly interesting, though. I really do enjoy the music of Jesús Rueda, a younger but still significant Spanish composer in this lineage who is a bit easier to wrap your head around, but of no less stock. Roberto Gerhard is possibly one of my favorite Spanish composers, even though he has since passed on, and his prime was in the 50s-60s. His brand of serialism is one of the most attractive of all of the 20th century, I would say, and that is quite a feat.
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Offline some guy

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2010, 12:17:17 AM »
I was not familiar with this guy until you mentioned him. But now I have three CDs of his music on order.

(The clips were very tasty indeed.)

Offline petrarch

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2010, 03:51:08 AM »
I'm sure someguy would be interested in the Grito electronic piece that PetRock,... I mean PetrArch ::) mentioned.

There. Tweaked my user name to avoid further confusion.
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snyprrr

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2010, 09:50:30 PM »
There. Tweaked my user name to avoid further confusion.
;D

snyprrr

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde/Joan Guinjoan
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2010, 09:55:31 PM »
Yes, he is a man. Joan is the Catalan equivalent of Juan, which is the Spanish equivalent of John, of course. He is a composer that I am personally still trying to figure out, personally, along with Cristóbal Halffter (don't forget the accents!). Both of their music is highly interesting, though. I really do enjoy the music of Jesús Rueda, a younger but still significant Spanish composer in this lineage who is a bit easier to wrap your head around, but of no less stock. Roberto Gerhard is possibly one of my favorite Spanish composers, even though he has since passed on, and his prime was in the 50s-60s. His brand of serialism is one of the most attractive of all of the 20th century, I would say, and that is quite a feat.

I can't seem to find the Rueda cd of String Quartets as played by the Arditti. Even the website has funny problems,... iberiautor?? But I've heard some clips from the other chamber disc, and he does seem to continue the hallucinatory aspects,... after all, Spain is Dali!

Dali, Lorca,...

Offline lescamil

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Re: La Generacion del '51: The Spanish Avant-Garde/Joan Guinjoan
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2010, 10:00:21 PM »
I can't seem to find the Rueda cd of String Quartets as played by the Arditti. Even the website has funny problems,... iberiautor?? But I've heard some clips from the other chamber disc, and he does seem to continue the hallucinatory aspects,... after all, Spain is Dali!

Dali, Lorca,...

Unfortunately, Rueda's discs, except for the ones on Naxos, are rather tough to find. It's not a huge loss, though, because I find the works on Naxos to be a bit better in quality, even though the String Quartets disk with the Arditti Quartet and another chamber works disc on Col Legno should not be missed.
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