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Thread: Is Spain least musically talented nation of Europe?

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    Senior Member SiegendesLicht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    As to the OP: Everyone knows that the British are about as good with music as they are with food.
    They make up for it in the field of literature more than sufficiently though.
    ... yet for us will still remain the holy German art... (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)
    ***
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    But since our hearts are small,
    Ordained for each one spot should prove
    Beloved over all.
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    Senior Member Xaltotun's Avatar
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    The Spanish have always charted their own waters in culture... they almost bypassed the Renaissance and went straight from the Middle Ages to Baroque... and then from Baroque to Romanticism, bypassing the Enlightenment... I am drawn to Spanish culture for this very reason, that they skipped the periods of "reason" and embraced the periods of "emotion/faith".
    Wäre das Faktum wahr, – wäre der außerordentliche Fall wirklich eingetreten, daß die politische Gesetzgebung der Vernunft übertragen, der Mensch als Selbstzweck respektiert und behandelt, das Gesetz auf den Thron erhoben, und wahre Freiheit zur Grundlage des Staatsgebäudes gemacht worden, so wollte ich auf ewig von den Musen Abschied nehmen, und dem herrlichsten aller Kunstwerke, der Monarchie der Vernunft, alle meine Thätigkeit widmen.

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  5. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huilunsoittaja View Post
    Besides politics, there's also the issue of patronage. In the renaissance and baroque eras, many historians would admit that Spain's upper class didn't put in a lot of money into patronizing artists, particularly musicians, because they were quite focused on their colonization aspirations across the globe. It's not so much about how rich they were, Spain was extremely rich at that time, but what kind of priorities the country's leaders had. It happened in England too, that in the great years of searching and conquest, the least amount of money was put into the arts, money being reserved elsewhere.

    Also, the education of music. Spain started making conservatories rather late in the game like the US, and its oldest one in Madrid didn't gain stability of location for many decades. Thus, there are few of them, and very small. Education is one of the key factors in raising great artists, because that's where they get their foothold and mentoring. Because of Spain's weak history of music patronage, it's likely that the conservatories have had trouble gaining patronage too. In sheer number of conservatories and number of students in each, Spain is dwarfed by the big names of Europe: Italy, France, Austria and Germany.
    I think that's a good point, in terms of some things I know. Eg. Boccherini was employed throughout most of his life in Spain by the aristocracy. So was Scarlatti, I think. Boccherini died in poverty just as Beethoven was rising in Vienna, with new music that had nothing much to do with with courtly dances and was moving strongly away from music more for entertainment.

    & I cannot imagine someone like Beethoven surviving, let alone thriving as he did, in a place like Spain in the 19th century. To my knowledge, it was a very conservative place. Even though the Enlightenment had little affect on the whole of Europe in the 19th century, I'd imagine that in Spain, it probably even had much less affect than that. Maybe it was not even known as a theory as it was in Vienna and other places.

    It's also significant that when Spanish composers came to prominence at the turn of the 2oth century and after - eg. Granados, Albeniz, Rodrigo, de Falla - they drew on tradition more than anything else, and revivified it. On both folk tradition, the courtly dances/forms, and also flamenco. So you don't have things like what was going on at the time like in Vienna - eg. that kind of radical experimentation like Schoenberg & others. Again, that kind of thing was highly unlikely to happen or be relevant in a country like Spain.

    But if you think Spain has less prominent classical composers than many other European countries, look at Portugal. Its main artfrom is fado, which I think developed in the cities and towns. I don't have comprehensive knowledge of it, but I do have some recordings, one of the most famous singers of that genre was the legendary Amalia Rodrigues. But its survived to this day, I have a cd of recent Portuguese singers singing Fado (Rodriguez was around mid 20th century). I can't explain what its like, you'd have to hear it. There's plenty of Amalia's stuff on youtube for a start.

    By contrast to Spain, Portugal has to my knowledge produced no classical composers of international repute. People can correct me if they want. I don't think Spain is that badly off in terms of having classical composers that are known worldwide, maybe its just a matter (as people have said) that history and culture have made classical music pan out wildly differently to other places. & what of their geographic distance from places like Vienna - even early in the 20th century, composers had to physically travel to other places to access scores by other composers. I know Orff did this, went to Venice in order to study the scores of Monteverdi etc. There are many issues like this here.

    But I like Spanish music as it is. Its got its own strenghts and uniqueness. I myself have only scratched the surface there. There are many 'non warhorse' things available now on cd, and some of these are being peformed all around the world. Eg. in chamber recitals here, things like Granados' piano trio and things by Rodrigo are getting performed. I mean, we've got enough piano trios by the Viennese guys (old and new), so its not a crowded market with the Spanish, most things like this by them will be new and refreshing to many listeners. They didn't only do things like the Concierto de Aranjuez, so I think the issue may be that many people don't know some of the other stuff these guys did?
    Last edited by Sid James; Jan-07-2013 at 00:00.

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    Senior Member Prodromides's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post
    By contrast to Spain, Portugal has to my knowledge produced no classical composers of international repute. People can correct me if they want.
    Hi, Sid.

    There's one Portuguese composer whose music I have on some albums, such as the Montaigne label ...



    ... and Accord.



    Only a few days ago have I learned that Emmanuel Nunes had passed away in 2012.
    Last edited by Prodromides; Jan-07-2013 at 01:30.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Joly Braga Santos is a Potruguese composer who is quite popular with some, although I don't know his music well.
    Last edited by KenOC; Jan-07-2013 at 03:00.


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    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    Greece was Turkish/Ottoman well into the 19th Century, and its economy developed very slowly in the 20th Century. But it has some 20th Century composers, including the undisputedly important Skalkottas, and, on top of my head, Kalomiris, Sicilianos, Konstantinidis a well as the socialist icon Theodorakis who also writes classical orchestral music (symphonies, ballets)

    edit: + Xenakis, of course.
    And Hadjidakis!

    Dude will have his day....
    Liberty for wolves is death to the lambs.

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    To my knowledge the most acclaimed Portuguese composers are 20th-century Braga Santos, Lopes-Graca and Nunes, plus 19th-century Bomtempo. They also had a good deal of Renaissance composers, corresponding to a period of political power and influence. Wikipedia lists quite a lot, but the number is not overwhelming.

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    Senior Member Perotin's Avatar
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    Maybe it is that Spain made a transition from feudal to bourgeois society relatively late. Beurgeoisie is needed for musical institutions to be formed such as philharmonic societies, concert halls, conservatories, operas. With public schools and bourgeois upbringing, which put a strong emphasis on music, a lot of people got access to musical education. Like in a country with high rate of illiteracy one cannot expect a lot of great writers to crop up, the same is with music. But interestingly enough, latin America also didn't produce a lot of good composers, so there must be something in their culture, that prevents classical music to prosper.
    Last edited by Perotin; Jan-07-2013 at 12:15.

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    My favourite Portugese composer is Luis de Freitas Branco - I have enjoyed everything I have heard of him (about 6 CD's).

    Latin America has had plenty of good composers: Villa-Lobos, Ginastera, Piazzolla, Chavez, Revueltas, Golijov, Barrios, Brouwer....
    Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen! Ewig ... ewig ...

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    I discovered Gerhard's music thanks to this thread and he kicks some asses. Pretty music (and yes, pretty and atonal!)

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    Senior Member Wandering's Avatar
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    Zauberberg?

    Are you a fan of Thomas Mann?


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    I've read the novel but no, the nickname has its origin from an album by an electronic artist (Wolfgang Voigt aka Gas). But I do share some attraction to magic, mountains and german culture I just like the word a lot.

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    Re Portugal, Joly Braga Santos sounds like a name I've heard before, but I think its fair to say that he is not as well known worldwide as the likes of Rodrigo, Albeniz, de Falla, etc. (well, their 'warhorse' works).

    BTW, I was just listening to that cd I've got of fado music, as doing that post jogged my memory, and it was a good listen. I read in the cd notes that fado has origins in Portuguese folk music, also Greek, Arabic, African and Brazilian influences. But it grew in the cities of Portugal with the rise of the bourgeois there, and indeed the aristocratic elites despised it for being too lowbrow. So I think the divisions between middle and upper classes where more marked in Portugal & SPain than in the rest of Europe. They lagged behind in transition away from feudal attitudes to more modern ones, as someone said above. & this would have affected musical production and consumption there. As I said, I can't imagine the likes of Beethoven or Schoenberg emerging in these countries. They had a different history from the rest of Europe, esp. from Western Europe.

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    Senior Member Crudblud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    As to the OP: Everyone knows that the British are about as good with music as they are with food.
    I could not keep a straight face while reading that.

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    Spain have the world's greatest soccer team, which is what counts.

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