“Spanish Passion”: Chamber music and song by composers of the Spanish Silver Age

“Spanish Passion”: Chamber music and song by composers of the Spanish Silver Age


An evening of chamber music and song

Music by Manuel de Falla, Joaquín Rodrigo, Joaquín Turina, Isaac Albéniz and

María Rodrigo

August 21, 2014 at 6 PM

“Classical at The Cornelia Cafe”

29 Cornelia Street in the West Village (NYC)

$10 cover charge, $10 drink minimum

For more information:



Anna Tonna, Olga Vinokur, Eva León and Anna de la Paz at Brooklyn Pier (NY)

What started out as a casual meeting over coffee in the Upper West Side (NY) this past June to talk of  a possible chamber music and song project had an unexpected first showing this past August 8th at Bargemusic at the  Brooklyn Pier.  Russian pianist Olga Vinokur, a regular at Bargemusic proposed the idea of “Spanish Passion” at the Barge, and we premiered our musical experiment comprised of music for piano and violin, songs for voice and piano and a special guest,  Spanish dancer/castanet artist Anna de la Paz.  Spanish born violinist Eva León joined us in this adventure with a beautiful and virtuosic sonata by Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999); she is currently under contract with Naxos to record the complete opus for piano and violin for both Joaquín Rodrigo and Catalan composer Xavier Montsalvatge.


Spanish born violinist Eva León is a Brooklyn resident http://www.evaleon.com

The program at Bargemusic on August 4, 2014 gathered a group of composers who are emblematic to late 19th century and early to mid 20th century Spanish repertoire. These composers, with the exception of Joaquín Rodrigo are part of the period known as the “Silver Age” of Spanish culture, which had its first flowering in the 1850’s Madrid, bringing forth in the course of time several Noble Prize poets; philosophers and painters of world acclaim, and culminating in the brilliant works of the younger generation with Federico García Lorca, Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel, to just name the more well known figures. Tonight’s program pre-dates this first modern wave, and mostly showcases the figures of the earlier generations of this so called Spanish Silver Age.

 If you didn’t get a chance to hear us at the Barge, we repeat the concert at the Cornelia Café in the West Village on August 21, 6 PM.  Spanish dance artist Anna de la Paz will not be with us on that evening, but we will perform the rest of the program as follows:


Ayes…three songs for voice and piano by Maria Rodrígo

Dos canciones de Maria Lejarrága by Manuel De Falla

Saeta by Joaquín Turina

Sonata for piano and violin by Joaquín Rodrigo

The songs Caterpillar and Il en n’est de l’amour by Isaac Albéniz

Asturias and Tango by Isaac Albéniz

Suite populaire espagnole by Manuel de Falla


Playwright Maria Lejárraga (1874-1974)

The program begins with a set of songs inspired in southern Spain by the female composer María Rodrigo, followed by a relatively unknown song cycle born out of the friendship between Falla and the playwright Maria Lejárraga (Martínez-Sierra). Lejárraga and Falla collaborated in what are considered the pillars of Spanish 20th century ballet works: El amor brujo and The Three Cornered Hat. Lejarrága, author as well of the texts used by María Rodrigo, was a close collaborator to the well known composers of the Silver Age. 


Composer María Rodrigo (1888-1967)


Me at the Bargemusic, singing the “Ayes…” with pianist Olga Vinokur by María Rodrigo

Saeta by Joaquín Turina uses a text by the Quintero Brothers, and is inspired in the spontaneous prayers that are sung in cante jondo style from balconies during Seville’s Holy Week procession.

Joaquín Rodrigo of Concierto de Aranjuez fame is author of works of all genres, and his Sonata is his most important opus for violin and piano. Full of contrast, delightful melodies and energy, it is was dedicated to the memory of his friend, the composer Joaquín Turina.

Olga Vinokur

Olga Vinokur at Bargemusic

In addition to Isaac Albeniz’s well known piano pieces from his suite España, of which two are included tonight arranged for violin and piano, we add two salón songs by Albéniz: one upon the text of his protector and patron F. B. Money Coutts, and the second a song that clearly drinks from the fountains of late French romantic music, Il est ne de l’amour, dedicated to Madame Ernest Chausson.

Isaac Albeniz

Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909)

In the concert at Bargemusic on August 4, we included a piece by Tomás Bretón is a late 19th century Spanish composer known for his contributions to Spanish theatrical music known as zarzuela. We showcased a movement from his piano suite and orchestral work Escenas andaluzas with the sounds of castanets. The super imposition of the castanets on instrumental music by such Spanish dance artists as Antonia Mercé “La Argentina” (1890-1936) were common collaborations during this time period, were dance artists, composers, painters and playwrights created works for the Spanish theater in early 20th century Spain.

Anna de la Paz

Spanish dance artist Anna de la Paz with Olga Vinokur at Bargemusic, August 2014

The program ends with an excerpt of Falla’s emblematic Siete Canciones Populares Españolas, or as they are known when they are played by violin or cello Suite Populaire Espagnole composed by Falla under the influence of the ideas of the musicologist Louis Lucas and his ideas regarding harmonies, modality and folk song. The songs are part of Falla’s Paris period, in which he enjoyed the friendship among many others of Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky. We did our own arrangement for voice, piano and violin.  The castanets of Anna de la Paz joined me in the first song of the set “Paño Moruno”.


Olga Vinokur, Anna de la Paz and Anna Tonna performing El pano moruno by Falla

 Premiered in 1914 and soon after part of the repertoire of well known opera divas of the day, this cycle continues to be considered a masterpiece of early 20th century song and chamber music repertoire.


The artists of “Spanish Passion” after the concert at Bargemusic, at Brooklyn Pier with the NYC Skyline


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