Written in 1915, this work is a collection of three
movements – impressions of gardens in the southern Andalusia region of Spain.
Colorful and vibrant like the country and its history, garden evenings are full
of veiled mystery and hidden images. De Falla explores pianistically a vast
color pallette. In this work, De Falla
fully shows off the piano’s dominant percussive capabilites within its nature,
as well as its penchant to be a chameleon instrument – possessing the ability
to transform through imitating touch and timbre.
The opening movement, En el Generalife (In the Generalife) depicts beautiful
jasmine filled gardens. Rippling sounds of fountains can be heard in the
opening of the piece, and in the plaintive, harp-like entrance of the piano.
Garden scenes appear and gently evaporate.
Boisterous percussive textures in piano are intermingled with imitations
of harp glissandi, and of fast Spanish
Guitar rasgueado. Fast repetitions in piano portray this
Spanish guitar strumming technique, executed using the fingers of the strumming hand in
rhythmically precise, rapid patterns.
The first movement erupts
into a thunderous culmination and quickly evaporates with a smokey
diminuendo. Danza lejana enters as the 2nd mvmt.
Rhythmic flamenco melodies, accompanied by the sounds of the Spanish guitars
and singers linger throughout.
En los jardines
de la Sierra de Córdoba, as the 3rd part of this
work, shows off its sparkling fountains from the very start, and the dancing
musicians carousing on its grounds. Here, the rippling fountains, Spanish
guitars and the dancers – all heard in the previous movements intermittently,
come together in one boisterous celebration of music and sound.
DeFalla’s masterpiece is
colorful, vibrant and great fun to play.
It has been exciting to explore the various tonal capacities of the
piano – from fast repetitions and ostenato octaves, to white and!:) black-key glissandi, and pianissimo chords.
I can’t wait to take you
on the journey of sounds in the beautiful Spanish gardens at night, with the
ASO and M/O Mann!