Commission: Fernando Puchol, with support from the CCA

Why, after the extraordinary contribution of Albéniz, Granados, Falla, Mompou and others to the piano literature, is a composer of today interested again in Spanish folk music? The answer is because there are perhaps other ways of handling the material of folk tunes. The folk melody has enough value in itself, simple as it is without the need for development and there is no necessity that it be treated within the tonal language, i.e. harmonized with chords. As a matter of fact, many folk tunes are monodic originally, without harmonic accompaniment (still today many of them are performed that way) and they often exhibit modal features which are difficult to reconcile with the harmonic tonal language.

In my piece, the melodies are presented as such, or at most repeated, without formal developments or modulations. There is a systematic use of ornamentation and heterophony which sometimes nearly gives the impression of a real polyphony, but with no counterpoint or chords. My purpose is to emphasize the validity of Spanish folk music in its pure linear dimension, that is, as melody.

The 18 movements of this piece are of unequal length ranging from 20 seconds to 3 minutes. The melodies come from Valencia, Salamanca, and other parts of Spain. There are worksongs, ballads, entertainment songs, dances, etc. Two of them are well known religious melodies: no 14 from the “Llibre vermell” and no 18 from the “Misteri d’Elx”, a liturgical play.

  • Score available at CMC, Région du Québec.
  • Recording: CD: Salabert-Actuels SCD 9102