Manuel de Falla

Spanish composer (Cadiz, 1876 - Alta Gracia, Argentina, 1946)

Manuel de Falla opened a new chapter in Spanish music with the revival of popular theme he modified as he saw fit and with the impressionist influences he had received from Debussy and Ravel.

It is after hearing a Beethoven symphony that Manuel de Falla embarked on a career as a composer. Student of José Trago at the piano and of Felipe Pedrell, Manuel de Falla composed many small pieces for piano: waltzes, caprices, nocturnes, Andalusian serenades... before taking up larger scale works. He won a composition prize at the Académie des Beaux-Arts, which allowed him to leave for Paris where he met Ravel, Albéniz and Ricardo Viñes, who had a profound influence on his compositions.

Six landmark dates in the life of Manuel de Falla:

1896-1898: student at the Madrid Royal Conservatory

1907-1914: He was in Paris where he was welcomed by Dukas, Debussy, Ravel.

Around 1910: Involvement in the Société Musicale Indépendante founded by Fauré.

1928: He received the French Légion d’Honneur.

1938: He was appointed president of the Spain Institute.

Around 1940: he conducted several concerts for the 25th anniversary of the Buenos Aires Cultural Institute.

Six key works by Manuel de Falla:

1904: La vida breve, first opera composed for a competition at the Academy of Fine Arts.

1915: El amor brujo, inspired by the fantastic stories of a gypsy woman

1917: El sombrero de tres picos, ballet

1921: Noches en los jardines de España, for piano and orchestra

1922: El retablo de maese Pedro, chamber opera commissioned by the Princess of Polignac.

1923-1926: Concerto for harpsichord dedicated to Wanda Landowska