El amor brujo (1925)
Manuel de Falla (1876 - 1946)
El amor brujo (“Love, the Magician”) was originally written in 1914-15 as a gitanería (“Gypsy Piece”) for a renowned flamenco dancer, but went through a number of other versions before released in its final version as a one-act ballet pantomímico. The plot is essentially boy-meets-girl, but in this case the girl is tormented by the ghost of her former lover, who is eventually lured away so that the two protagonists can exchange the “kiss of perfect love.” The composer described trying to capture the character of the Andalusian gypsy in the music, but I’ve always appreciated how he went beyond the mere imitation of folk music. The orchestration is lean and transparent (even the famous “Ritual Fire Dance” has a more sparse sound than some of the more bombastic re-arrangements of it).
Austin Piazzolla Quintet
Part of my job description as conductor of the Wilmington Symphony is to choose programming and guest artists. Last year, the Austin Piazzolla Quintet performed at Ted’s Fun by the River, and the reaction by those fortunate enough to be there was so enthusiastic that the idea of bringing that energy to a collaboration with the Symphony was suggested (in particular by my wife Sandy, who likely exerts more influence on me that perhaps other audience members). Their name-sake composer Astor Piazzolla, in a way similar to what de Falla did with his Andalusian sources, used Argentinian popular music as a departure-point. APQ’s take on nuevo tango adds many harmonic twists, metrical surprises, and influences from jazz, contemporary classical music, and beyond, above all with a great flair for the dramatic and emotional elements.
Steven Errante, conductor
Unless indicated, all program notes are researched and written by Joan Olsson.