Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"En el Cafe de Chinitas" by Federico Garcia Lorca


Teresa Berganza, mezzo soprano; Narciso Yepes, guitar

El café de Chinitas
Federico García Lorca (1898-1936)

En el café de Chinitas
dijo a Paquiro un hermano:
"Soy más valiente que tú
más torero y mas gitano."

En el café de Chinitas
dijo a Paquiro un Frascuelo:
"Soy más valiente que tú
más gitano y mas torero."

Sacó Paquiro el reló
y dijo de esta manera:
"Este toro ha de morir
antes de las cuatro y media."

Al dar las cuatro en la calle
se salieron del café
y era Paquiro en la calle
un torero de cartel.

Enlgish Translation

In Chinita's cafe Paquiro said to his brother:
I'm more courageous than you,  a better bullfighter and more of a gypsy.

In Chinita's cafe Paquiro said to Frascuelo:
I'm more courageous than you,
more of a bullfighter and more of a gypsy.

Paquiro took out his watch and said in this manner:
"This bull is going to die before 4:30.

When the 4 o'clock arrived in the street, they left the cafe,
and Paquiro was in the street, a star bullfighter!

Translation M. Vargas


20 comments:

  1. This brings me back to childhood and strong memories of Spain and Flamenco dancing. I love all the images that somehow appear as a stream of consciousness, but obviously are carefully planned. Lorca's words are strong and filled with passion. La Argentinita's singing and dancing are deeply rooted in Romani tradition. The lament-like singing is never held back. The music and dancing invite you on a journey to share some of that old tradition. Thank you!!

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  2. Wow! F.G.L. on the piano is refreshing! His playing is so loose and agile. The castonettes add a nice flavor as well. I love how matter of fact his playing is and the old recording quality is enchanting!

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  3. This performance is so full of life. Annika, it makes me want to experience some of this dancing you speak of first hand! Musically I am reminded of winter term when Prof. Vargas identified the importance of understanding the kind of rubato that Schumann's music requires. Lorca clearly has his own inidividual sense of rubato alive in his Songs.

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  4. Lorca is playing in the great "old style" of piano playing. The most important thing is the character, not the perfection of the voicing or execution. The opening reminded me of a mazurka.

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  5. I appreciate the rhythmic flexibility of the performers. It seems that such rhythmic nuance and rhythmic shaping is somewhat of a dying art. The playing is "in time" but not metronomic.

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  6. I really appreciate the castonettes all through the song. Very precised work, and powerful in the same time. This kind of ensemble requires special musicianship from all the performers. Extremely tight rhythm yet enjoyable. What a unique recording. I am glad that we actually have access to this kind of material. Superb!

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  7. To me, it sounds like a folk song - the hemiolas, the repetition, the vocal turns. It's flexible and expressive, yet still clearly maintains the dance rhythm. Beautiful.

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  8. The lamenting affect of the vocal line in this piece is really captivating. The rise and fall of each phrase is easily distinguished and Berganza captures the passion and depth of the text beautifully.

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  9. So many elements in this piece typify my idea of Spanish song--guitar, turns, modal chromaticism, dance rhythms. It is nearly impossible not to picture a flamenco dancer as I listen.

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  10. I think there is so much to appreciate in Spanish songs. I agree with Emily that it sounds like folk music. The turns sound improvisatory and not overdone, bringing out the sadness.

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  11. It's really interesting to listen to recordings from different times in Berganza's life. She performs exquisitely in all of them, but there is a distinct maturity that is present in the recordings of her later career (which I'm assuming this is one of). I will also take this time to mention that her melismas are effortless as if her voice just knows exactly where to go when she's doing the quick articulations.

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  12. Listening to this song with guitar (as we did with De Falla's Siete Canciones in class), it brings to my attention how this instrument is important for the imagery associated with Spanish music. It definitely should influence pianists while playing this kind of music! Love Berganza's voice!

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  13. I love the story of this song. Though the piece is strophic, one can really imagine the story unfolding as the song continues.

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  14. I was immediately struck by the guitar playing. The ornaments/turn in the guitar give it the sense of confidence and machismo that the character Paquiro embodies.

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  15. The dance aspect of this piece instantly hit me on my first listen. The atmosphere of this piece is clearly evoked in the accompaniment and the story is able to shine through in strophes that allow for slight variations in the telling of this short story.

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  16. This piece really exemplifies what I think of when I think "Spanish music". The guitar, chromaticisms, and turns all conjure images of a red dress-clad flamenco dancer in the streets of Barcelona.

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  17. This song strikes me as being very folk like in that the guitar accompaniment sounds like it is or can be improvised easily. Additionally, the strophic nature of it gives a semblance of simplicity. It seems like this melody could be sung by any Spanish folk singer.

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  18. I find this song very fascinating. I really love the Flamenco dance rhythm and vocal turns. The song is very repetitive and the melodic range is narrow. However, I don't feel bored at all. I guess it's because the song is too beautiful and captivating.

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  19. I appreciate how, even though this is a simple strophic piece, the addition of a substantial prelude and postlude helps evoke the character of the piece.

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  20. Again, I am struck by the lightness, accuracy and expressiveness of the grace notes. The guitar sets the mood that the voice just takes over and seemlessly tells the story.

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