Concurso de Cante Jondo

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El Concurso del Cante Jondo (Contest of the Deep Song) was a well-known celebration of the art of flamenco, its music, song, and dance, held in Granada, Andalusia on Corpus Christi, the 13th and 14 June 1922.[1]

Falla's purpose[edit]

The Spanish classical composer Manuel de Falla (1876–1946), an Andalusian, was the principal organizer of the Concurso;[2] he sought to encourage and enhance the performance of flamenco, which had fallen into a period of decadence.[3] The gaditano Falla recognized in flamenco a musical art form of great value. It was music Falla had spent years studying, having grown up with it, hearing it directly from Gitano friends, cantaores and tocaores.[4][5][6] Enlisting the cooperation of Spanish intellectuals was considered crucial, to counteract the antiflamenquismo of the generación del '98; these reformers had condemned the flamenco arts as frivolous and regressive in their sweeping effort to modernize and transform Spain.[7][8] Thus Falla aimed for an audience encompassing not only flamenco circles, but also to influence the musical world and its culture.


In order to find colleagues to help sponsor and promote the Concurso, Falla gathered together an impressive group of musicians and artists. Included among them was the young poet Federico García Lorca. At twenty-three, Lorca became an activist in popularizing the Concurso, second only to Falla. Lorca worked to publicize the event by giving oral presentations and publishing essays about the Flamenco arts.[9][10][11][12] A third important figure was the Basque painter Ignácio Zuloaga.[13]

Among the broad array of music figures enlisted were the classical composers Joaquín Turina, Federico Mompou, Conrado del Campo, and Óscar Esplá, the pianist and composer María Rodrigo, the composer and conductor Kurt Schindler of New York, various orchestra directors, the classical guitarist Andrés Segovia, the Polish singer Aga Lahowska, and the popular guitarist Manuel Jofré. Juan Ramón Jiménez, the well-known Andalusian poet, joined the Concurso. Also contributing were writers such as Ramón Pérez de Ayala and Tomás Borrás, the surrealist painter Manuel Ángeles Ortiz, and those in an association assisting the Concurso effort, the Centro Artístico of Granada. Additional support came from two professors: the educational reformer Francisco Giner de los Ríos and the Catalan musicologist and composer Felipe Pedrell (who was Falla's early music teacher).[14] Later came the French writer Maurice Legendre, music critics including Adolfo Salazar of Madrid's El Sol, producers, and publicists, with nods from Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky.[15][16][17][18][19]

Flamenco and Falla[edit]

In previous classical compositions Falla often had been inspired by the artistry of flamenco, e.g., in his La Vida Breve (1904–1905, 1913),[20] Noches en los Jardines de España (1909–1916),[21][22] El Sombrero de Tres Picos (1917, 1919),[23][24] and El Amor Brujo (1915, 1925).[25] To promote the Concurso Falla wrote an essay, El "cante jondo" (canto primitivo andaluz),[26] in which he held on technical grounds that the primary foreign influences contributing to the origins of Flamenco music and dance in Spain were three: Byzantine church music coming from the eastern Mediterranean;[27][28] Moorish music from North Africa and Arabia;[29][30][31] and especially that distinct music of India and its rhythms brought by the Gitanos who began arriving in Spain over five hundred years ago.[32][33][34][35]

For nearly a century European classical composers had been drawing on the rich heritage of the music of Spain, with flamenco being a favored source.[36][37][38] The interest and attention given flamenco by the international music world contrasted unfavorably with what Falla saw as the contemporary debased state of the flamenco arts, and with the lack of respect then shown flamenco by the Spanish cultural elite.[39] In a recent book on Manuel de Falla, the intent of the Concurso has been portrayed as follows:

The cante jondo contest grew out of the conviction--shared by Falla, Lorca, and a host of Spanish intellectuals--that flamenco was being overtaken by urban popular song. The organizers' stated desire to hear the 'admirable sobriety' of classical cantaores shows the extent to which the contest was, in effect, a classicizing gesture... ."[40]

So it was that Falla hoped that the Concurso y Fiesta del Cante Jondo,[41] sponsored by its many musicians and cultural figures, and by the Centro Artístico of Granada, would "restore all the purity to these marvelous songs, that rightly constitute one of the best natural achievements of European music".[42] Yet this "rescue-fantasy" view has also been criticized.[43]

Public funding[edit]

The Alhambra in Granada, from Mirador de San Nicolás.

Financial support was obtained for the Concurso de Cante Jondo from the City of Granada,[44][45] but not without spirited opposition. While adherents praised the antiquity and purity of the flamenco art form, whose mysterious source lay in the very fountainhead of the human soul, their critics pointed out the sometimes lesser quality of the music and the mixed milieu of flamenco performances, which on the down-side at the fringe would include some notorious venues.[46]

The Concurso supporters, who saw themselves as saviors of the true and vernerable art of flamenco, evidently felt somewhat vulnerable to their opponent's charges.[47] Already, to escape the reproach regarding flamenco's unwanted baggage, the Concurso referred to the art form as Cante Jondo rather than by its more common name flamenco.[48][49] Here the Concurso followed the lead of Falla, whose opinion was: "Queremos purificar y hacer revivir ese admirable cante jondo, que no hay que confundir con el cante flamenco, degeneración y casi caricatura de aquél."[50][51]

The war of words over municipal financing was inconclusive; the funding continued.[52] Debate over the nature of flamenco in its many guises continues today, at times in a cauldron boiling with spiked ingredients, such as social class and ethnic origins, yet more commonly issues of a performer's merit, authenticity, and inspiration. As a developed art form, flamenco might suggest various ethnomusicological points of view. Although often rife with such controversies, as frequently they are ignored.[53][54][55] Due to expectations of a larger turn-out as the date for the event neared, the venue was changed from the plaza de San Nicolás del Albayzín to the more spacious Alhambra.[56]

Events of the Concurso[edit]

The artists[edit]

An announced aim of the Concurso was to discover unknown, unrecognized talent thought to be hidden, perhaps in remote rural areas. As a result, no professional over the age of 21 was allowed to compete for prize money in the Concurso contest;[57][58][59] however, the song and dance of professionals were encouraged.[60] The jury included the guitarist Andrés Segovia and the flamenco singer Antonio Chacón.[61] Although a diligent effort had been made, few unknowns were found. The poet García Lorca did meet a blind and aged woman who could sing a type of cante (the liviana) thought to be extinct.[62][63]

Audience and styles[edit]

The event ran the two evenings of the Corpus Christi holiday. It was attended by about four thousand supporters and aficionados. The large gathering was described as both elegant and jubilant. This audience would become focused when the performers began.[64][65] Contestants were invited to perform certain palos [styles] of flamenco song, those referred to as Cante Jondo (or Cante Grande),[66] grouped as follows: 1) Siguiriyas gitana; 2) Serranas, Polos, Cañas, Soleares; and, 3) Martinetes-Carceleras, Tonás, Livianas, Saetas Viejas (these last four being unaccompanied cantes a palo seco). On the other hand, flamenco styles explicitly forbidden (e.g., for a perceived lack of antiquity or profound expression) included: Malagueña, Granaínas, Rondeña, Sevillanas, Peteneras.[67]

Torre de la Justicia, original entry gate to the Alhambra; and, the walk way to the June evening's Concurso events.

Location of Concurso[edit]

The Concurso was held on the grounds of the Alhambra,[68] at the Plaza de Aljibes on the palace's west end, overlooking the Torre Bermeja and the old city of Granada to the southwest; to the north lay the rising slopes of the Sacromonte (the Gypsi quarter).[69] Perfumed by cypress trees, and with French lavender scattered on the ground for the event, the plaza lay across the crest of a ridge, to which one ascended, entering by way of the Torre de la Justicia. It was decorated for the occasion by the artist Ignacio Zuloaga, whose visual display employed brilliant embroidered textiles and mantones [capes] of Andalucia. After sundown the plaza setting would become a colorful region of lights beside the Arab palace.[70][71] The initial performance perhaps seemed ironic to some: Falla's classical composition Homenaje a Debussy para la guitarra, played by Segovia.[72][73][74]

The contestants[edit]

A long-retired flamenco cantaor of seventy-two years, Diego Bermúdez Cala (El Tenazas), became a surprise star of the Concurso. He had walked the hundred or so kilometers to Granada from his home in Puente Genil.[75] Evidently, thirty years before a punctured lung suffered at knife point had forced him to retire early from the flamenco circuit. The Concurso allowed him the "grand moment of his life" in which, very flamenco, he performed old palos that seemed to summon the duende of an earlier era. To many aficionados, Tío Bermúdez appeared as if he'd learned his cante directly from the legend, Silverio Franconetti; although for others he didn't know how to sing, but only flirt.[76][77]

"El Tenazas knew the old time cantes and was extremely flamenco and true in his interpretations." He sang with a purity not heard in decades, especially his siguiriyas, soleares, and cañas (a Franconetti favorite).[78][79] Listening to el Tío Tenazas ["Uncle Tongs"] "hurl into the air his song", Antonio Chacón exclaimed, "¡Válgame Dios, lo que oigo!"[80] Falla carried a copy of his recordings (Cantos de Diego Bermúdez) with him into exile in Argentina.[81] El Tenazas enjoyed his sudden renown and celebrity, and on its strength soon made a flamenco tour of Spain; yet sadly the following year would be his last.[82]

Beside Bermudez, the other first place prize winner was a twelve-year-old cantaor named Manolo Ortega later called El Caracol. Ortega came from the well-known Gipsy family (bull-fighting and flamenco). Later he would win great renown, and attract controversy.[83][84] Another winner was the popular cantaor of Granada, Francisco Gálvez Gómez (Yerbagüena), a friend of bull-fighters and politicians. In an inspired moment he created a lasting impression (he improvised flamenco lyrics in response to news of a local church fire); he was awarded a prize by the Concurso.[85] Altogether there were ten contestants who won prize money of varying amounts.[86][87]

The professionals[edit]

Active flamenco professionals were honored at the Concurso, although not eligible for prizes. Among those especially acclaimed and invited as guests of honor: the cantaora Pastora Pavón (La Niña de los Peines),[88] the cantaor Manuel Torre, and the bailaora Juana la Macarrona. Also especially esteemed was the cantaor Antonio Chacón, chosen as the presiding judge. These four were then each quite well known, luminaries of the flamenco world. Shown amid several dozen in a contemporary drawing of a crowded performance given before the event's organizers were La Niña de los Peines, the retired Diego Bermúdez (el Tío Tenazas) mentioned above, and Ramón Montoya Salazar, an innovative leader among guitar tocaores.[89] Also chosen as a judge was the popular tocaor Amalio Cuenca, an impresario who managed a flamenco cafe in Paris.[90] Professionals came to the event from all over Spain and from abroad.

During the Concurso the great Manuel Torre sang alegrías to the rhythm of palmas performed by the local Gypsy women of Sacromonte. To Pepe Cuéllar's guitar, María Amaya La Gazpacha sang bulerías and tarantas.[91] Hired by the Concurso were three guitarists who for the occasion became a trio of tocaores: José Cuéllar, the above Ramón Montoya, and the extraordinary Manolo de Huelva.[92] To their music the elder maestra Juana la Macarrona danced, including por alegrías.[93] La Macarrona, at various moments during the Concurso, would famously cry out, "¡Lapoteosis! ¡Es lapoteosis!", her expression somewhat like crying "thunderstruck!"[94] At an early Concurso performance, while Antonio Chacón was singing accompanied by Ramón Montoya on guitar, a poorly dressed, elderly Gypsy woman who had been seen quietly weeping, rose to her feet, drew her head back, and began to dance the soleares with remarkable style and grace. She turned out to be La Golondrina who had been many decades earlier a famous flamenco bailaora.[95]

News of the event[edit]

The Spanish press generally spoke in praise of the Concurso,[96] in contrast to the depressing news of the Moroccan war then current. A Madrid magazine published soon after the event described the Concurso as "unforgettable", with its alternating displays of yearning, vehemence, superstition, or fervor, "a simple seduction of sound, rhythms linear in the flesh". About the audience it said:

"The moon didn’t attend, but the place was swarming with gnomes, fairies and even the devil. A huge box-office hit. Not an empty seat. And it was a disciplined, cultured audience dominated by women, many of whom were wearing 1830 dresses, and others were in old trousers, and all of them with that poise which is the privilege of women from Granada. With fans, the crowd rumored and fluttered, unless suddenly a copla paralyzed them with its emotion... ."[97]

La Alhambra of Granada hailed the Concurso as "unas cuantas noches de brillantísima fiesta." In Madrid, press comments included the declaration: "Muy grande ha sido el éxito del Concurso."[98] Nonetheless Manuel de Falla became dissatisfied.[99]

Aftermath[edit]

Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)

The event's performances were well received and memorable. Although it could be argued that the general results of the Concurso were somewhat mixed,[100] success could well be claimed for the event itself, an enjoyable and seminal gathering of performers and aficionados. In addition, there followed a steady rise in status of flamenco among the cultural and intellectual leaders of Spain.[101] Recordings were made of the various cantes, some little known, some rediscovered.[102] For example, La Caña:

"[A]n ancient cante with religious overtones and chant-like passages that have made it a popular vehicle for the misa flamenca--the catholic mass performed to flamenco music. La Caña had all but disappeared by the twentieth century, but was partially revived after the Granada contest of 1922, when it was recorded by the contest winner, El Tenazas."[103]

On the other hand, the stated aim of elevating the root purity of flamenco performance was not to be achieved as a result of the Concurso.[104] An new era in the art's development was dawning, the period of Ópera flamenca, now often disparaged for its theatrical airs, its brand of syncretism and merger with other musical styles.[105][106]

Similar flamenco gatherings followed, as that same year both Sevilla and Cádiz celebrated Flamenco Concursos.[107][108] Several decades later in 1956, the city of Córdoba celebrated the first Concurso Nacional de Cante Jondo. Its "manifesto de convocatoria" expressed reasons and motives similar if not the same as those articulated by the 1922 Concurso in Granada.[109] In 1962 Jerez de la Frontera held its Concurso Internacional de Arte Flamenco. Such events have become a regular feature of flamenco culture.[110]

Reference Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Manuel de Falla, "La Proposición del Cante Jondo" in El Defensor de Granada (March 21, 1922); included as Appendix III in Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Universidad de Granada 1962; 2d edition 1988) at 169-175. It was the custom in Granada to hold such events during the fiesta of Corpus Christi. Ibid. at 169.
  2. ^ The idea for the Concurso crystallized one afternoon late in 1921, during a walk by Falla and Miguel Cerón through the gardens of the Generalife in Granada. As they continued with their many conversations about the fallen condition of the flamenco arts, Cerón said, "Do you dare put on a concurso?" Falla stopped, looked at Ceron and said, "¡Hombre, Si!" ["Man, yes!"]. Eduardo Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Universidad de Granada 1962; 2d ed. 1998) at 49.
  3. ^ Ángel Álvarez Caballero, El cante flamenco (Madrid: Alianza Editorial 1994) at 211.
  4. ^ Manuel de Falla, El "cante jondo" (canto primitivo andaluz), a folleto published in Granada by Urania in 1922 to promote the Concurso; it appears as Appendix V in Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (1962, 1998) at 209–226, with a facsimile of its cover at 96.
  5. ^ Eduardo Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Universidad de Granada 1962; 2d ed. 1998) at 49-51. For example, during 1904-1905 while composing his La vida breve Falla would listen while her mother sang and Pastora Imperio danced, the "soleares y siguiriyas, polos y martinetes". Ibid. at 15-16.
  6. ^ Anselmo González Climent, Flamencología. Toros, Cante y Baile (Madrid: Editorial Escelicer 1955, 1964) at 273–275.
  7. ^ Paco Sevilla, "Introductory History of Flamenco, Part II" in Jaleo VIII/2, originally published in Guitar and Lute (March 1983), at ¶7 and ¶14. Part I is in Jaleo VIII/1, coming from Guitar and Lute at v.25 (Nov. 1982).
  8. ^ E.g., expressing disapproval of flamenco in varying degrees were Miguel de Unamuno, José Ortega y Gasset, Pío Baroja, and Rubén Darío. Félix Grande, Memoria del Flamenco (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe 1979) at II: 425-465, 443.
  9. ^ The young poet Federico García Lorca (1898-1936), after Falla the most active in the Concurso, spoke and wrote on its behalf. His "Importancia histórica y artística del primitivo canto andaluz llamado Cante Jondo" was read before a "Conferencia" of the Centro Artístico of Granada on February 19, 1922, and published that month in Noticiero Granadino. It is reprinted now in Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (1962, 1998) as Apéndice IV, at 177-208. Lorca's often lyrical address began at 10 p.m. and was illustrated with guitar music by Manuel Jofré. Molina Fajardo (1962, 1998) at 64-68, 65.
  10. ^ Another version of Lorca's February 19, 1922 address has been printed in Frederico García Lorca, Prosa (Madrid: Aliana Editorial 1969, 1972) at 7-34, entitled "El cante jondo (primitivo canto andaluz)". Also therein, another two of his essays on flamenco: "Arquitectura del Cante Jondo" (1931) at 35-45, and "Teoría y juego del duende" (read in Habana, c.1930) at 169-189. Included at 47-90, is a record of Lorca reading from his 1928 long poem Romancero gitano, including his comments and intros.
  11. ^ Evidently Lorca wrote his well-known work Poema del cante jondo for the most part in November of 1921, before organizing efforts for the Concurso began in ernest. Yet Poema del cante jondo was not published until 1931. José Luis Cano, "Prólogo" at 7-32, 13-15, to Frederico García Lorca, Romancero gitano. Poema del cante jondo (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe 1988), the Poema at 101-197.
  12. ^ The next year Falla and Lorca would collaborate in producing a performance of a "Fiesta para los Niños" [Festival for the Children]. Jose Luis Cano, García Lorca (Barcelona: Salvat 1985) at 56-58.
  13. ^ D. E. Pohren, Lives and Legends of Flamenco (Madrid: Society of Spanish Studies 1964, revised 1988) at 73.
  14. ^ Betty Keim, "Manuel de Falla: the Guitar and his Music" in Guitar Review (Winter 1976) at 41: 22-23.
  15. ^ Eduardo Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Universidad de Granada 1962; 2d editión 1998, with new preface at ix-cviii by Andrés Soria), at lxi, lxx, and 54-57.
  16. ^ Ángel Álvarez Caballero, El cante flamenco (Madrid: Alianza Editorial 1994) at 212.
  17. ^ Félix Grande, Memoria del Flamenco (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe 1979) at II: 481.
  18. ^ Manuel Orozco Diaz, Falla (Barcelona: Salvat 1985) at 123-124.
  19. ^ Barbara Thiel-Cramér, Flamenco. The Art of Flamenco, Its History and Development until our Days (Lindingö, Sweden: Remark 1990 [Swedish], 1991 [Spanish, German, English]) at 51–52.
  20. ^ Eduardo Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Universidad de Granada 1962; 2d edition 1998) at 13-23, 17. The soleares in Falla's La Vida Breve is mentioned, during a review of Falla's classical compositions relating to flamenco music. Molina Fajardo at 15 gives his opinion as to how in general Falla incorporated flamenco elements in his art: by drinking in and assimilating their spirit, and then expressing their musical essence. Later he comments on the pervasive use of flamenco in Noches en los Jardines de España, El Amor Brujo, and El Sombrero de Tres Picos.
  21. ^ In Falla's Noches, Gypsies dance and sing during the feast of Corpus Christi, the days later selected by Falla for the Concurso.
  22. ^ Betty Keim, "Manuel de Falla: the Guitar and his Music" in The Guitar Review (Winter 1976) 41:22-23, wherein Keim mentions the melodies inspired by cante jondo, and the "rasgueado" and "punteado" in his Noches en los Jardines de España, which ends with a sevillana.
  23. ^ Cf., Lynn Garafola, Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (Oxford Univ. 1989) at 88-90, discussing Falla and flamenco dance projects circa 1916-1917. Falla's El Sombrero de Tres Picos [The Three-cornered Hat; Fr: Le Tricorne], choreographed by Leonide Massine, designs by Pablo Picasso, was produced by the Ballets Russes in 1919. Garafola (1989) at 88, 243, 253.
  24. ^ The flamenco and Spanish origin of both the music and the dance in Le Tricorne is described by Léonide Massine in his My Life in Ballet (London: Macmillan 1968) at 114-118, 122.
  25. ^ Betty Keim, "Manuel de Falla: the Guitar and his Music" in The Guitar Review (Winter 1976) 41:22-23. Keim mentions several other examples of Falla's use of flamenco: the modified farruca for the "Miller's Dance" [Danza del Molinero] in his El Sombrero de Tres Picos (at the end the miller becomes "possessed by the duende"); and, the "falsetas" and "paseos" in his Siete Canciones Populares Españoles (1914), where she again remarks that his piano pieces seem "written as if they were guitar music," especially regarding the "Polo", as well as the "Seguidilla Murciana". Keim also references the memorable "Ritual Fire Dance" in his El Amor Brujo, which is performed at night in a Gypsi camp.
  26. ^ Manuel de Falla, El "cante jondo" (canto primitivo andaluz), a folleto (Granada: Urania 1922); included in Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (1962, 1998) at 209-226 [Byzantine liturgical at 209-210; Arabic, Moorish at 210-211, 225-226; Gypsies of India at 211-216]; and collected in Falla's Escritos sobre música y músicos (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe 1950, 1972), Apéndice at 137-155. Falla here refers to his former music professor Felipe Pedrell (1841-1922).
  27. ^ Cf., Peter Crossley-Holland, "Ancient Greece" at 92-103; and, Alec Robertson, "Byzantine and Russian Rites" at 201-208; in: Robertson and Stevens (eds.), The Pelican History of Music (Penguin Books 1960).
  28. ^ Cf., Adolfo Salazar, La Música de España (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe 1953), vol. I at Chap. III/1: 137-149. Also, the religious music of the Jews, who had arrived in Hispania by 300 C.E. Salazar, La Música de España (1953), v. I at I/5: 42-46.
  29. ^ Cf., Julián Ribera y Taregó, La Música de las Cantigas (Madrid 1922), translated and abridged by Eleanor Hague and Marion Leffingwell as Music in Ancient Arabia and Spain (Stanford Univ. 1929).
  30. ^ Arcadio de Larrea Palacin, La Música Hispano-Árabe (Madrid: Ateneo 1957), a folleto.
  31. ^ Cf., Owen Wright, "Music in Muslim Spain" 555-579, in Salma Khadra Jayyusi, editor, The Legacy of Muslim Spain (Leiden: E. J. Brill 1992).
  32. ^ Aziz Balouchi, Cante Jondo. Su origen y evolución (Madrid: Editiones Ensayos 1955) at 30-38. The author, a sufi, discusses the spirit of Indo-Pakistani music, then describes six principal modes. A "tree" is shown (at 37) whose fruit is cante jondo, i.e., "serranas, soleares, polos, seguirillas, cañas". Earlier the author speculates that Ziryab the famous Persian musician, who arrived in Moorish Spain during the 9th century, was a master of "la música persa-baluchi," had studied "el cantar Sindhi" in India, and brought with him to Spain "la música indostánica". Balouchi (1955) at 24-28, 26.
  33. ^ Bernard Leblon, Gypsies and Flamenco (Univ.of Hertfordshire 1995). Leblon, who favored the view of a strong Gitano influence on the art, addresses the theories proposed by Falla (at 85-91). Leblon discounts Falla regarding the Byzantines, then endorses influence by the Moors. Regarding India and Gitano contributions to flamenco, Leblon writes that here Falla makes five points: 1) "use of intervals less than a demi-tone" (smallest interval common to western music) to modulate keys; 2) "a melodic ambitus which rarely exceeds the limits of a sixth" (nine half-notes); 3) "repeated, almost obsessive use of a single note" often with appoggiatura; 4) melody rich in ornamentation, suiting the emotion of the lyrics; 5) "shouts [jaleos] used by our people to excite the dancers and guitarists" following ancient custom. Leblon (1995) at 88.
  34. ^ Angus Fraser, The Gypsies (Oxford: Blackwell 1992, 2d ed. 1995) at 10-32 (origin), at 205-208 (flamenco).
  35. ^ The Gypsi road from India to Spain, with music along the way, is displayed in the 1993 French film Latcho Drom.
  36. ^ Manuel de Falla, El "cante jondo" (canto primitivo andaluz), a folleto (Granada: Urania 1922); included in Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (1962, 1998) at 209-226, 217-225; collected in Falla's Escritos sobre música y músicos (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe 1950, 1972), Apéndice 137-155. Falla noted that the foreign borrowing of Spanish music went beyond rhythm (usual with dances of other European countries, e.g., the jig, the saraband, the gavote, the minuet); it went further, to the basic modes of expression found in Spanish music. Falla (1922), reprinted in Molina Fajardo (1998) at 218.
  37. ^ Gilbert Chase, The Music of Spain (New York: W.W.Norton 1941; rev.ed., New York: Dover 1959) at 289-304, "The Spell of Spanish Music". Gilbert discusses Falla at 182-197.
  38. ^ The list would include these composers and works: Mikhail Glinka (Jota Aragonesa, 1845), Georges Bizet (Carmen, 1875), Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (Capriccio Espagnol, 1887), Claude Debussy (Ibéria, 1905-1908), Maurice Ravel (Rapsodie espagnole, 1907, and Boléro, 1928).
  39. ^ "Pues bien, señores: ese tesoro de belleza, no sólo amenaza ruina, sino que está apunto de desaparecer para siempre." "El canto grave, hierático de ayer, ha degenerado en el ridículo flamenquismo de hoy." Manuel de Falla, "La proposición del cante jondo" en El Defensor de Granada (March 21, 1922), reprinted in Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (1962, 1998) at 169-175, 173. "Well, gentlemen, this beautiful treasure not only is about to collapse, but may disappear forever." "The song of gravitas, majestic yesterday, has sunk now to this absurd flamenquismo."
  40. ^ Carol A. Hess, Manuel de Falla and modernism in Spain, 1898-1936 (University of Chicago 2001) at 175 [footnote omitted].
  41. ^ An entry ticket to the event reads: "Concurso y Fiesta del Cante Jondo, Corpus 1922. Entrada de Silla Preferente, para los días 13 y 14 de Junio. Entrada por la Puerta de Justicia. Preséntese a toda reclamación." Molina Fajardo (1998), insert at 129.
  42. ^ Would "renacieron en toda su pureza esos cantos de maravilla, que constituyen uno de los más legítimos orgullos de música natural europea". Manuel de Falla, "La proposición del cante jondo" (Granada 1922), reprinted in Molina Fajardo (1962, 1998) at 169-175, 174-175.
  43. ^ Timothy Mitchell, in his Flamenco Deep Song (New Haven: Yale University 1994), disputes the very notion of a traditional "purity" as advanced by Concurso proponents. For example, regarding the seguiriya gitana Mitchell describes it as a result of "lower-class gitanos, payo [non-Gitano] ruffians, blind beggars, female mourners for hire, and proletarian youth" which later was evolved in the 19th century by "professional cantaores" entertaining within the cultural maze of Spanish society, at venues including "private juergas [parties] and public saloons." Mitchell (1994) at 168.
  44. ^ Written application for support was made on December 31, 1921, giving artistic and cultural reasons as redacted by Miguel Cerón, and signed by several dozen adherents. Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (1962, 1998) at 51-58, 51-53; also, Solicitud Al Ayuntamiento de Granada reprinted in Molina Fajardo (1998) as Apéndice II at 163-167.
  45. ^ Álvarez Caballero, El cante flamenco (1994) at 217, gives the amount of city funding at 30,000 pesetas.
  46. ^ Eduardo Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Universidad de Granada 1962; 2d ed. 1998) at 69-87.
  47. ^ Timothy Mitchell, Flamenco Deep Song (New Haven: Yale University 1994) at 168-169.
  48. ^ Robin Totton, Song of the Outcasts (Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press 2003) at 84.
  49. ^ Leblon, Gypsies and Flamenco (University of Hertfordshire 1995) at 87-88.
  50. ^ "We want to purify and renew the admirable cante jondo, which is not to be confused with flamenco, a degeneration of it, almost a caricature." Falla's letter to London critic John Trend, cited by Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (1962; 1998) at 76-77.
  51. ^ Cf., Ángel Álvarez Caballero, El cante flamenco (Madrid: Alianza Editorial 1994) at 213-214.
  52. ^ Eduardo Molina Fajardo in his Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Universidad de Granada 1962; 2d ed. 1998) at 92-93, 141.
  53. ^ Among factors in the cauldron are the dynamic opposition of flamenco tradition versus innovation, the latter frequently including interpenetration with other musical styles. E.g., Manuel Ríos Ruiz, Ayer y Hoy del cante flameno (Madrid: Ediciones ISTMO 1997) at 85-95. Recent decades have seen Nuevo Flamenco emerge with rock and jazz connections.
  54. ^ Flamenco motivation is notoriously difficult to pin down. "Existe en plenitud anárquica, independiente de todo acicate organizado." "Fully anarchic, blind to organized incentives." Anselmo Gazález Climent, Flamencología. Toros, Cante y Baile (Madrid: Editorial Escelicer 1955, 1964) at 272. See Gazález Climent's comments on the nuance involved in the rôle of La guasa (the tricky, humorous rustic), at 329-341.
  55. ^ On occasion political passions may be stirred, in a sociological view of the art: as embodying the anguished expression of the poor, the oppressed classes. Yet to the contrary, others see flamenco performers of the past, who were often short of resources, as influenced by their wealthy patrons who had a taste for the exotic. An ethnic dimension also arises: as to how much the art owes to its strong Gitano elements, or to the Andalusian. Altogether contrary is the opinion that in flamenco what one hears is the cry of the soul, transcending class, patrons, ethnicity, etc. Wide-ranging views are held by flamencologos on the art and on what motivates a performer. E.g., Anselmo Gazález Climent, Flamencología. Toros, Cante y Baile (Madrid: Editorial Escelicer 1955, 1964); William Washabaugh, Flamenco. Passion, politics and popular culture (Oxford: Berg 1996) at 31-38.
  56. ^ Molina Fajardo in Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (1962; 2d ed. 1998) at 129, 131.
  57. ^ Andrés Soria, "Prefacio" at lxix, in Eduardo Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Universidad de Granada 1962; 2d edition 1998, with new preface at ix-cviii by Soria).
  58. ^ The performance of flamenco is very difficult and demanding; only someone who devotes a great deal of their life's nurture to the art will be able to express its subtleties and nuance, its drama and simplicity; often but not always such refinement will acquire wide attention. Cf., Paco Sevilla, "Introductory History of Flamenco, Part II" in Jaleo VIII/2, originally published in Guitar and Lute (March 1983), at ¶14.
  59. ^ The elimination of all professionals from the contest was considered a mistake by many flamencos, for there were those who had not fallen to the era's commercial tendencies. An example would be the professionals hired by the Concurso, the cantaora Pastora Pavón (La Niña de los Peines), the cantaor Manuel Torre, and the bailaora Juana la Macarrona. These had, unlike many paid performers of that decadent era, maintained a purity in their approach to flamenco. Cf., D.E.Pohren, Lives and Legends of Flamenco (Madrid 1964, revised 1988) at 73.
  60. ^ Paul Hecht in his The Wind Cried (New York: The Dial Press 1968) at 105-107, describes a "dream vision of a flamenco contest" in which the performers and local aficionados are given preference. Lasting at minimum several weeks, it would begin with a banquet and include hotel accommodations. Before each session time would be allowed for thawing out the voice and interacting with the listeners. At extra-official Juergas flamenco's "pure spontaneous essence" would be given rein.
  61. ^ Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Univ.de Granada 1962; 2d ed. 1998) at 116.
  62. ^ Timothy Mitchell, Flameno Deep Song (Yale Univ. 1994) at 170.
  63. ^ The liviana (derived from "liviano" meaning "light, frivolous" and also "the donkey who leads the pack") is a type of siguiriya sung without accompaniment. Andrés Batista, Maestros y Estilos. Manual flamenco (Madrid 1985) at 18-19, 74-75.
  64. ^ Marice Legendre, "El Corpus de Granada in 1922: El Cante Jondo" in the periodical Le Correspondant of Paris, July 1922; cited by Molina Fajardo (1998) at 131-132.
  65. ^ A storm threatened the first night, but the air remained light. The second night rain began to fall, yet the audience remained. Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (1998) at 132, 140.
  66. ^ Believed for the most part to be of Gitano (Gypsi) origin. I.e., by D. E. Pohren, Lives and Legends of Flamenco. A Biographical History (Madrid: Society of Spanish Studies [1964] 1988) at 17-20.
  67. ^ The brief Concurso prize and contest rules are reprinted in Manuel de Falla, Escritos sobre música y músicos (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe 1950, 1972), at 156-162 in the Apéndice, following his essay "El Cante Jondo (Canto Primitivo Andaluz)" at 137-155; translated as On Music and Musicians (London: Marion Boyars 1979), at end of Appendix (99-117).
  68. ^ The Alhambra had been the site of the opening for Falla's opera El Sombrero de Tres Picos [French: Le Tricorne] three years earlier in 1919. Léonide Massine, My Life in Ballet (London: Macmillan 1968) at 142.
  69. ^ Ricardo Villa-Real, The Alhambra and the Generalife (Granada: Ed. Miguel Sanchez 1988) at 6-7.
  70. ^ Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Univ.de Granada 1962; 2d ed. 1998) at 118-119.
  71. ^ Irving Brown, Deep Song (New York: Harper & Brothers 1929) at 149-150.
  72. ^ Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Univ.de Granada 1962; 2d ed. 1998) at 17-18. It was Claude Debussy who had first shown Falla how to find the flamenco's true spirit in the guitar music of the cante jondo.
  73. ^ Nota Bene: Segovia at this time played flamenco as well as classical guitar (to the latter he would soon devote his entire effort). Pohlen, Lives and Legends of Flamenco (Madrid 1964, revised 1988) at 73.
  74. ^ Cf., Betty Keim, in her "Manuel de Falla: the Guitar and his Music" published in The Guitar Review (Winter 1976) 41:22-23, notes that Falla called meeting Claude Debussy the "turning point" of his career. Falla wrote the Homenaje following Debussy's death in 1918, then gave it to the guitarist Miguel Llobet. The score is widely acclaimed for its mastery of the instrument and, while not flamenco, its beauty resonates with the music of Andalusia.
  75. ^ Puente Genil is about 50 km. south of Córdoba. Diego Bermúdez was born 1850 at Morón de la Frontera about 70 km. southwest of Puente Genil. Pohlen, Lives and Legends of Flamenco (1988) at 71.
  76. ^ Ángel Álvarez Caballero, El cante flamenco (Madrid: Alianza Editorial 1994) at 218-219. Burmúdez "había dejado de cantar treinta años antes al perder facultades a causa de una puñalada recibada en el pulmón durante una reyerta." His punctured lung, Ibid. at 218. Fixed to a wall of a cafe in Puente Genil could later be seen a certificate signed by Antonio Chacón that the Concurso had awarded to Tío Bermúdez (at 219). The walk from Puente Genil to Granada for the Concurso was said to have taken him only three days, but long and exhausting ones; but some doubt he walked the distance (at 218).
  77. ^ Cf., Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Univ. de Granada 1962; 2d ed. 1998) at 135-136, 140.
  78. ^ D.E.Pohlen, Lives and Legends of Flamenco (1988) at 71-72.
  79. ^ For cañas, cf., Polo (flamenco palo).
  80. ^ "Lord help me, what I hear!" Jose Luis Cano, García Lorca (Barcelona: Salvat Editores 1985) at 55.
  81. ^ Félix Grande, Memoria del Flamenco (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe 1979) at II: 507.
  82. ^ Before he died el Tío Tenazas traveled Spain performing his prize-winning singing style but, as his innovations had already been copied by younger singers, the tour was evidently not well received. Timothy Mitchell, Flamenco Deep Song (Yale Univ. 1994) at 171.
  83. ^ Eduardo Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Universidade Granada 1962; 2d ed. 1998) at 133, 141.
  84. ^ D. E. Pohren, Lives and Legends of Flamenco (Madrid: Society of Spanish Studies 1985) at 146-150, 148.
  85. ^ Ángel Álvarez Caballero, El cante flamenco (Madrid: Alianza Editorial 1994) at 219-220. Yerbagüena figured in the novel La oración de la tarde by González Anaya. The poet Alvarez de Cienfuegos recited at his burial.
  86. ^ Eduardo Molina Fajardo lists the prize winners in his Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Univ. de Granada 1962; 2d ed. 1998) at 141-142. The top two prize winners received 1000 pesetas each, with total prize money for the contestants being almost 5000. Yet he cites a newspaper of Seville to the effect that the biggest winners was the Concurso organizer, Centro Artístico, who after event expenses, with the gate (6,000 pesetas) added to public funding, managed to come out ahead. Molina Fajardo (1998) at 142.
  87. ^ Álvarez Caballero, El cante flamenco (1994) at 217 puts the gate at 30,000, and at 213 puts the public funding at 12,000. Expense amounts do not seem to be stated.
  88. ^ Pastora Pavón was also an honorary judge but without a vote. Paco Sevilla, Queen of the Gypsies (1999) at 153.
  89. ^ Ángel Álvarez Caballero, El cante flamenco (Madrid: Alianza Editorial 1994) at 216, 210 (drawing).
  90. ^ D. E. Pohlen, Lives and Legends of Flamenco (Madrid 1964, revised 1988) at 273 (Cuenca). Also, Pohlen's literary portraits at 112-114 (Pavón), at 91-97 (Torre), at 212-215 (Macarrona), and at 76-80 (Chacón).
  91. ^ Eduardo Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Universidad de Granada 1962; 2d ed. 1998) at 136-139. María Amaya was also a prize winner. Ibid. at 142.
  92. ^ Pohlen, Lives and Legends of Flamenco (1964, 1988) at 73.
  93. ^ Antonia Mercé la Argentina, after watching Juana la Macarrona dance during the Concurso, later knelt down at her feet, took off her shoes, and carried them away. Flamenco World article on Juana la Macarrona
  94. ^ Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y el "Cante Jondo" (1962, 2d ed. 1988) at 136, 139.
  95. ^ Timothy Mitchell, Flamenco Deep Song (Yale Univ. 1994) at 170.
  96. ^ Some Concurso critics, however, seemed to revisit the earlier contra position (see above the section "Public funding").
  97. ^ Frederico García Sanchíz, "Granada. El Concurso de Cante Jondo" in the magazine Nuevo Mundo of Madrid (June 23, 1922), English translation at flamenco-world.com.
  98. ^ "A few nights of brilliance." "Great has been the success of the Concurso." Eduardo Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (Universidad de Granada 1962; 2d ed. 1998) at 144.
  99. ^ Eduardo Molina Fajardo, Manuel de Falla y El "Cante Jondo" (1962, 1998) at 151-157.
  100. ^ The sevillano Rodriguez de Leon writing in El Sol lamented the Concurso as cause of the "funerales por el alma del cante, muerto recientemente en Granada, a manos de los intelectuales... ." Cited by Ángel Álvarez Caballero, El cante flamenco (Madrid: Alianza Editorial 1994) at 217. I.e., the lamented Concurso has caused "funerals for the soul of the cante, recently dead in Granada, at the hands of the intellectuals."
  101. ^ Félix Grande, Memoria del Flamenco (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe 1979) at II: 514.
  102. ^ Paco Sevilla, "Introductory History of Flamenco, Part II" in Jaleo VIII/2, originally published in Guitar and Lute (March 1983), at ¶ 14.
  103. ^ Paco Sevilla, Queen of the Gypsies. The Life and Legend of Carmen Amaya (San Diego 1999) at 197.
  104. ^ The initial elation and sense of accomplishment by those attending the event was manifest. Yet following the Concurso, in addition to the usual sniping at success in the press, there was a distressing sense of loss felt by the Concurso organizers. Hence they abandoned pursuit of their original long-term goals, plans scheduled to be implemented following the Concurso event.

    "It was disillusioning to the organizers that the true purpose of the concurso failed, at least during their lifetimes. ... The Granada contest was designed as only the first step. As a followup, they intended to open flamenco schools in Andalusian cities and to hire flamenco's old-timers to instruct the youngsters in the pure cante. The Centro Artístico of Granada, which was to have played an important part in this plan, at the last minute pulled out, and the whole idea collapsed." D.E.Pohren, Lives and Legends of Flamenco (Madrid: Society of Spanish Studies 1964, revised 1988) at 73-74.

    Yet the continuance of "Concurso" events in different cities and the current spread of flamenco schools perhaps means "that Manuel de Falla's dream may yet come true". D.E.Pohren (1964, 1988) at 74. Or perhaps now his dream has been realized, in part.
  105. ^ Félix Grande, Memoria del Flamenco (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe 1979) at II: 517-539.
  106. ^ Ángel Álvarez Caballero, El cante flamenco (Madrid: Alianza Editorial 1994) at 229-244.
  107. ^ Félix Grande, Memoria del Flamenco (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe 1979) at II: 513.
  108. ^ Cf., Paco Sevilla, Queen of the Gypsies (1999) at 40-41.
  109. ^ Ángel Álvarez Caballero, El cante flamenco (Madrid: Alianza Editorial 1994, 1998) at 262.
  110. ^ Félix Grande, Memoria del Flamenco (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe 1979) at II: 513-514.

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