Tag Archives: ritual fire dance

great compositions/performances: Falla: Ritual Fire Dance from El Amor Brujo / Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Charles Dutoit


Falla: Ritual Fire Dance from El Amor Brujo / Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Charles Dutoit

“El amor brujo (Love, the Magician, rarely translated as Wedded by Witchcraft) is a piece of music originally composed by Manuel de Falla for a chamber group, then re-scored as a symphonic suite, and eventually as a ballet. The texts were by Gregorio Martínez Sierra.

The work is distinctively Andalusian in character with the songs in the Andalusian Spanish dialect of the Gypsies. The music contains moments of remarkable beauty and originality; it includes the celebrated Ritual Fire Dance, Cancion del Fuego Fatuo (Will-o’-the-Wisp) and the Dance of Terror.

El amor brujo was initially commissioned in 1914-15 as a gitanería (gypsy piece) by Pastora Imperio, a renowned flamenco gypsy dancer. It was scored for cantaora voice, actors, and chamber orchestra. It was performed at the Teatro Lara, Madrid on 15 April 1915 but was not successful.

The following year, Falla revised the work for symphonic orchestra, with three short songs for mezzo-soprano. This version was performed on 28 March 1916 with the Madrid Symphony Orchestra under Enrique Fernández Arbós.

In 1925, de Falla transformed it into a one-act ‘ballet pantomímico’. The work’s United States premiere was presented by the Philadelphia Civic Opera Company at Philadelphia’s Metropolitan Opera House on March 17, 1927 with mezzo-soprano Kathryn Noll and conductor Alexander Smallens.

El amor brujo is the story of a young Andalusian gypsy girl called Candela. Candela falls in love with a man called Carmelo, after her unfaithful husband, whom she had been forced to marry, had died. The dead husband’s ghost returns to haunt Candela and Carmelo. To rid them of the ghost, all the gypsies make a large circle around their campfire at midnight. In this circle Candela performs the Ritual Fire Dance. This causes the ghost to appear, with whom she dances. As they whirl around faster and faster, the magic of the fire dance causes the ghost to be drawn into the fire, making it vanish forever.”

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Manuel de Falla – El Sombrero de Tres Picos – Complete Ballet

Manuel de Falla (1876 – 1946)

Español: Estatua de Manuel de Falla en la Aven...

Español: Estatua de Manuel de Falla en la Avenida de la Constitución de Granada (España). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

El Sombrero de Tres Picos – Complete Ballet
(The Three-Cornered Hat / Le tricorne / Der Dreispitz – 1919)

Orquesta Sinfónica de RTVE
Carlos Kalmar – Conductor

Maria del Mar Campo – Mezzosoprano

Introducción y escena – Introduction and Scene
La tarde – Afternoon
Danza de la molinera (Fandango) – Dance of the Miller’s Wife
Las uvas – The Grapes
Danza de los vecinos (Seguidilla) – Dance of the Neighbors
Danza del molinero (Farruca) – Dance of the Miller
Danza del corregidor – Dance of the Magistrate
Danza final (Jota)

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Manuel de Falla – Serenata Andaluza – De Larrocha

Manuel de Falla y Matheu (November 23, 1876 – November 14, 1946) was a Spanish composer.

Serenata andaluza (1899)
Alicia de Larrocha, piano

Manuel de Falla was born in Cádiz. His early teacher in music was his mother; at the age of 9 he was introduced to his first piano professor. Little is known of that period of his life, but his relationship with his teacher was likely conflicted. From the late 1890s he studied music in Madrid, piano with José Tragó and composition with Felipe Pedrell. In 1899 by unanimous vote he was awarded the first prize at the piano competition at his school of music, and around that year he started to use de with his first surname, making Manuel de Falla the name he became known as from that time on. When only the surname is used, however, the de is omitted. Continue reading