Flamenco purists may carp at Paco de Lucía’s incorporation of classical, Afro-Cuban, and jazz elements into his music, but no one can deny his prodigious knowledge of flamenco’s traditions or his ability to perform it like no other guitarist before him.
He insisted that all of his musical explorations and innovations are based on a solid commitment to flamenco tradition. “Everything I have heard has influenced me as a musician. But I have been careful about putting it in the music—my flamenco is not a fusion. I have always been careful that it doesn’t lose the essence and the roots and the traditions of flamenco. I have incorporated other styles, but they have not altered the philosophy of my music.”
This according to “Flamenco buena: Paco de Lucia’s guitar sings” by Felix Contreras (JazzTimes XXXIV/6 [July–August 2004] p. 44).
Today would have been Paco de Lucía’s 70th birthday! Below, performing in Carlos Saura’s Flamenco, flamenco (2010).
In 2017 Brill launched Brill’s companions to the musical culture of medieval and early modern Europe, a peer-reviewed series of volumes providing high-level and up-to-date surveys of research into all aspects of medieval and early modern musical culture in Europe—composers, schools, genres, instruments, education, dance, musical manuscripts and printing, and the musical cultures of given cities, chapels, religious orders, and courts.
Written by the foremost specialists, the books offer balanced accounts along with overviews of the state of scholarship and debates, pointing the way for future research. The books are normally multi-author volumes, thoroughly planned out at an editorial level to ensure comprehensiveness and cohesion and maximizing their value to the student and scholar.
The inaugural volume, Companion to music in the age of the Catholic monarchs, offers a major new study that deepens and enriches understanding of the forms and functions of music that flourished in late medieval Spanish society. The fifteen essays present a synthesis based on recently discovered material that throws new light on different aspects of musical life during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabel (1474–1516): sacred and secular music-making in royal and aristocratic circles; the cathedral music environment; liturgy and power; musical connections with Rome, Portugal, and the New World; theoretical and unwritten musical practices; women as patrons and performers; and the legacy of Jewish musical traditions.
Below, a work by Francisco de Peñalosa, one of the composers discussed in the book.
In 2015 Reichenberger launched the series Iberian early music studies with New perspectives on early music in Spain, edited by Tess Knighton and Emilio Ros-Fábregas.
The volume brings together research by scholars—both well established and of younger generations, both Spanish and from all over the world—that offers new perspectives on many aspects of early musical culture on the Peninsula, whether regarding the Ars Nova or the Counter-Reformation, music historiography or analysis, early improvisation techniques or imitatio in Renaissance polyphony, or questions of performance practice or ambassadorial musical networks, making an important contribution to establishing and sustaining a valuable discourse with the broader European context.
Below, a selection from the Cantigas de Santa Maria, the subject of one of the articles in the inaugural issue.
The Fons de Música Tradicional at the Institució Milà i Fontanals (CSIC-IMF) in Barcelona has more than 20.000 melodies, copied on paper, collected between 1944 and 1960 throughout Spain; most of them were compiled through the 65 folkloric missions and 62 notebooks presented to competitions organized by the Folklore Section of the former Instituto Español de Musicología of the CSIC, in which 47 researchers participated.
Launched in 2015, Una colección de patrimonio musical español/Una col·lecció de patrimoni musical/A Spanish collection of traditional music heritage is an open-access database comprising digitized materials of the music collected in the competitions and missions of Andalusia, Balearic Islands, Castile-La Mancha, the Castile and León region, Catalunya, Galicia, the Murcia region, and the Valencian community; more materials from these and other Spanish regions will be incorporated later.
The site can be navigated in Spanish, Catalan, or English; searches may be organized by source, location, researcher, informant, genre, or title. Audio files of the melodies will eventually be added.
Above, notation for the instrumental tune Paciendo el rebaño; the full record, which includes other visual materials, is here.
Historically Catalunya has been a place where people from different cultures have found a home in which to exchange ideas and develop creative projects.
EYECatalunya provides an interactive platform where people from all over the world can meet and interact with the most innovative creators living in Catalunya.
Launched in 2014, the open-access website is a portal for a monthly program dedicated to promoting Catalan creativity to the world, broadcast live from Arts Santa Mònica in Barcelona; it includes previous broadcasts, a calendar of upcoming talks, and a way to register as a creator.
Below, a brief English-language introduction.
Carmen Tórtola Valencia (1882–1955), who may have reinvented herself as Spanish, made a flamboyant contribution to early modern dance in Spain, Western Europe, and Latin America between 1908 and 1930.
Her rapport with Spanish modernismo enabled her elevation from a music hall and musical theater performer to a solo concert dance artist with a large repertoire of classic, Oriental, and Spanish numbers. Tórtola Valencia’s career particularly flourished in the Hispanic world, while elsewhere she cultivated the figure of the exotic Other.
This according to “Early modern dance in Spain: Tórtola Valencia, dancer of the historical intuition” by Iris Garland (Dance research journal XXIX/2 [fall–winter 1997] pp. 1–22). Below, photographs of Tórtola Valencia and her exotic costumes.
Related article: Loïe Fuller’s serpentine success
Launched by the Fundación Juan March in 2011, Clamor: Colección Digital de Música Española presents open-access documentation of performances of over 800 Spanish works—mostly from the 20th or 21st century—at over 130 concerts presented by the Foundation since its inception in 1975.
In addition to the concert recordings, this resource presents pre-concert talks given by composers or specialists, program notes, scores, photographs, and over 230 composer biographies and works lists.
Below, Suzana Stefanović performs Jesús Rueda’s Love song nº 3 at the Foundation in October 2011.