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Flamenco - the soul of Andalucia?
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The work of composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) ranges from late-romantic salon pieces to evocations of flamenco to stark neoclassicism. Yet his work has met with a variety of reactions, depending on the audience. In his native Spain, he is considered a leader in the avant-garde and the greatest composer in the Spanish cultural renaissance that extended from the latter part of the nineteenth century until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936.
In the United States his music was imported as part of the "Latin" music craze of the 1930s and 40s and arranged by pop artists and used in MGM musicals. Similarly enigmatic are the details of Falla's life. He never sustained a lasting, intimate relationship with a woman, yet he created compelling female roles for the lyric stage.
Although he became incensed when publishers altered his music, he more than once tinkered with Chopin and Debussy. Despite insisting that he was apolitical, he ultimately took sides in the Spanish Civil War. All his life, his rigorous brand of Roman Catholicism brought him both solace and agony in his quest for spiritual and artistic perfection.
In Sacred Passions: The Life and Music of Manuel de Falla, Carol Hess explores these contradictions and offers a fresh understanding of the life and work of Manuel de Falla. Building on over a decade of research on Spanish music, Hess examines his work in terms of musical style and explores the cultural milieu in which he worked. Biographical, historiographical, and cultural threads are explored against the compelling backdrop of early twentieth-century Spain, where Falla was a pivotal figure in a group that included not only his Spanish contemporary Enrique Granados, but also composers Dukas, Stravinsky, Ravel, and the group known as les Apaches, and many other artists and writers.
During this remarkable cultural renaissance known as the "Silver Age," Lorca, Bunuel, Dali, Unamuno--and de Falla--created some of their greatest works. Hess explores a number of myths in earlier biographies, including his life as an ascetic saint, his supposed misogynistic tendencies, and the accusations of homosexuality. She also offers a balanced view of his behavior during the Spanish Civil War, a wrenching event for a Spaniard of his generation and which Falla biographers have left largely unexamined.
Hess also examines the notion of de Falla as merely a high-class pop composer, the quintessentially Spanish composer of colorful and exotic dances from The Three-Cornered Hat and El amor brujo. She incorporates recent research on de Falla, draws upon untapped sources in the Falla archives, and reevaluates de Falla's work in terms of current issues in musicology. Ultimately, Hess places de Falla's appealing music, which straddles popular and serious idioms, securely among the best of his better-known European contemporaries.
What emerges is a portrait of a man whose lofty spiritual values inspired singular musical utterances but were often at odds with the decidedly imperfect wrold he inhabited.
Welcome to Books4Spain - the leading online bookshop for eBooks and books about Spain
Spain is not just about sun, sea and sangria, its about the Moors, the Reconquest by Isabel and Ferdinand (the Catholic Kings), Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar - better known as El Cid, Hernan Cortes and the conquistadors from Extremadura, Spain's Golden Age, Don Quijote, the Camino de Santiago, flamenco, Rioja, Ribera del Duero, paella, seafood, the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spanish football from world champions La Roja, El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona football clubs, Spanish painters such as Velazquez, Goya and Murillo, composers like Andres Segovia and Joaquin Rodrigo, Carmen by Bizet, The Peninsular War where the Duke of Wellington saw off Napoleon and his Marshalls, the Spanish Armada sent by King Philip II to invade England, beautiful regions including Catalyuna (Catalonia), Andalucia, or Andalusia if you prefer, Aragon, Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria, Spanish sportsmen such as Rafael Nadal and Fernando Alonso, world beating cuisine from chefs such as Fernan Adria - the list goes on and on.
For example, did you know that Spain has the second highest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites - after Italy? It also has many UNESCO Intangible Cultural assets, including Flamenco, the Mediterraen Diet, the Castells of Catalonia and, added in December 2012, the Fiestas of the Patios in Cordoba Andalucia.
Authors such as Hemingway, Orwell, Laurie Lee, Gerald Brenan, George Borrow, Richard Ford, Washington Irving have long been fascinated by Spain and its rich history and culture and Books4Spain can help you to discover Spain. As a result, there are thousands of books about Spain and books set in Spain in English and Books4Spain has a fantastic selection in many categories, including books to help you Learn Spanish, Travel & Holiday guidebooks, books about Spanish History,Spanish Literature in translation, Crime Fiction books set in Spain, books about Living in Spain, Novels set in Spain, Spanish Cook & Recipe books and much more as well as books about Spanish authors and artists such as Federico García Lorca, Salvador Dali, Picasso, Bunuel etc..
In addition, we have created Spanish Themes to help you learn more about special aspects of Spanish history and culture. Currently Books4Spain has 3 Spanish Themes: Flamenco, the Spanish Civil War, and the Camino de Santiago Books within each of these Themes are categorised into books about People, Objects and Places related to that Theme. For example, you can find books with information about the cockle shell of St James, the Holy Grail in the Monastery of San Juan de la Pena and the Codex Calixtinus - the first travel guidebook for pilgrims in the Camino de Santiago Theme.