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El amor brujo (Ballet Suite)

El amor Brujo
Manuel de Falla
b. Cádiz, Spain / November 23, 1876; d. Alta Gracia, Argentina / November 14, 1946


Falla’s music blends Spanish folk roots with the impressionism of Debussy and Ravel. He composed the ballet El amor brujo (Love, the Magician) in 1915, shortly after his return to Spain from a period of study in France. Only the dancers found it to their liking, leading Falla to make major revisions. It is the second, more compact and more colourfully orchestrated version that has been performed ever since. The scenario revolves around the gypsy girl Candélas, whose former lover was a handsome but evil man. Since his death, his ghost has driven away anyone who’s interested in her. Carmélo, a young gypsy determined to win Candélas, arranges a midnight ritual of exorcism. As this is taking place, in a cave illuminated by torchlight, Carmélo persuades another gypsy girl to divert the ghost’s attention. This gives him the chance to convince Candélas of his love for her. When they kiss, the power of the ghost is broken, and as dawn breaks the lovers are free to spend a happy life together. The jewel of the score, the hypnotic Ritual Fire Dance, was first made famous, in transcription, by the legendary pianist, Artur Rubinstein. The first time he performed it, the audience demanded that he play it three times.

Program Notes Don Anderson 2012

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