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Monday, July 11, 2022

Music in the Edad de Plata, or What I learned last week and today reading at the Centro FGL

 The cultural status of music in Spain in the 20s and 30, through the end of the Republic, seems ultra healthy. Composers begin to see themselves as intellectuals. Falla, Esplá, Pedrell, Adolfo Salazar. The group of 8 in Madrid and the corresponding group in Barcelona, with composers like Mompou. 

Stravinsky and Poulenc pass through several times. The Ballets Russes leaves the US and goes to Spain during the First World War.  Falla, in France, returns to Spain during the War too. The connections between French and Spanish music are strong. Debussy and Ravel like Spanish music. Mompou spends time in France too. 

There is a dislike or romanticism and Germanic music. Musical nationalism, impressionism, and neoclassicism are the dominant trends.  

Lorca is in the middle of this, as friend of Falla and Salazar. Falla and literary intellectuals like Lorca promote cante jondo. 

A lot of this is invisible (inaudible?) because Spanish music is not widely known. Also, the Spanish civil war puts an end to this mini-renaissance. Even the utra-Catholic Falla goes into exile. It could be that none of the composers manages to get to that elite, genius level, aside from Federico Mompou (in my opinion). 

Spanish music has a tremendous cultural capital, but it tends to be valued for its nationalism, its connection to folklore. The modernizing impulse of the music of the Edad de Plata, then, is going to be poorly appreciated. The prestige of Spanish music tends to be channeled into Lorca himself, given his proximity to all of these movements.    

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