Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"El paño moruno" by Manuel de Falla



Teresa Berganza, mezzo soprano
Gabriel Estarellas, guitar
"El paño moruno" from Siete Canciones Españolas by Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)
Text: Traditional

Al paño fino, en la tienda,
una mancha le cayó;
Por menos precio se vende,
Porque perdió su valor.
¡Ay!
*********************************
On the fine cloth in the store
a stain has fallen;
It sells at a lesser price,
because it has lost its value.
Alas!

13 comments:

  1. I love the intro! The music is going along just fine, and then all of a sudden, there are these cool chromatic descending figures that interrupt it. I think they are supposed to illustrate the stain that falls on the cloth, or in reality, the lover that strayed.

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  2. Each time through the lines, the first iteration seems to fit the blatant explanation of the poetry at face value and the second iteration tells the story behind the metaphor. Often going from major for the first iteration of the line to minor for the second.

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  3. The poem is at once simple and profound, and de Falla has captured both these elements in his musical setting. Teresa Berganza also reflects this in her performance. Her performance is extraordinary because she refrains from commenting on the song, which would have been very easy to do. Instead, she gives a performance that is focused and poignant, but just ambiguous enough to communicate the magical mystery of the poem to the audience.

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  4. What gets me on this piece is the melody. I'm not sure if it's based on the harmonic minor scale, but there are moments that remind me of this scale that I really like hearing with the guitar's repetitive motif.

    I really like hearing these performers again from the previous recording. The vocalist has such an open and full sound that seems to really compliment this style of music.

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  5. What gets me on this piece is the melody. I'm not sure if it's based on the harmonic minor scale, but there are moments that remind me of this scale that I really like hearing with the guitar's repetitive motif.

    I really like hearing these performers again from the previous recording. The vocalist has such an open and full sound that seems to really compliment this style of music.

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  6. This short piece contains so much with just four lines of text. It reminds me a lot of Wolf's compositional style and ability to add a fullness and drama in his relatively short compositions. It is important that the fullness of meaning is there with the poem and all of it's double meanings.

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  7. I love the historic nature of this folk song. The structure of the piece feels very traditional, yet also very lively. I think the interplay between the piano and the vocal line are quite fine, as both the guitar and the vocalist take turns with the melody line.

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  8. This piece displays a really nice sense of conversation between the guitar and singer, especially because the singer usually finishes her line on a note that wants to continue moving the line forward, but the line is continued and resolved by the guitar. The folk text and light interplay between the voice and guitar make me think that not only is this piece conversational, but it is almost like being let in on an inside joke between the voices. There's a sense of humor that I don't really understand, but I know it's there.

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  9. I find that text in this particular song has a more folk-like element which is reflected in a folk quality in the music. I hear a certain pride in national identity in this song.

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  10. The repeated notes sound much better on guitar than on piano as there is greater clarity (it's never easy to play repeated notes on piano...) My favorite part is "It sells at a lesser price, because it has lost its value." as it is set to a descending melodic line. With rubato at the end of the phrase, the sadness and disappointment just sounds so vivid.

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  11. This piece reminded me also of Wolf's work. The playfulness of both the piano and vocal lines, while intertwining around each other is at once both traditional folk song and also profound poetry. De Falla does such a beautiful job at capturing both of these characteristics. I love the humor, so much like Wolf's!

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  12. The decorations in the vocal line and accompaniment in this piece, and Spanish music in general, always sound unforced and natural to me. There's something about folk influence that connects a musician to a grounded and unaffected performance. I feel that I would benefit from keeping this in mind for decorations in music from the Baroque, Classical, and other eras and regions as well.

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  13. I really feel the effectiveness of the guitar accompaniment in this song. I have sung the piano version and it really does not feel as satisfying as hearing it with guitar. The grace notes are done with such a feeling of clarity and economy of sound and effort. I feel that there is too much of a tendency for the short notes to be over exaggerated. In this case, they sound effortless and yet are completely integrated into the phrase.

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