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Joaquín Turina
complete works


CD HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 905246

   
 

Index

 

  Sevillana op 29. (7'16)
  Fandanguillo op. 36 (5'11)
  Ráfaga op.59 (2'52)
  Sonata op.61 (9'41) Audio : Allegro vivo (extract)
  Homenaje a Tárrega op.69 (4'48)
  Tango de Tres Danzas Andaluzas op.8 (4'46)
  5 Danzas Gitanas op.55 (15'00) Audio : Danza de la seducción (extract)
 

 

 

A text by Christiane Le Bordays, flamenco dancer, pianist, composer, Ph. doctor in litterature

 

 

If, in Spain, Turina is considered to be one of the pillars of the Spanish School, almost everywhere else his work is referred to with interest but without the familiarity that comes with frequent listening. Closely related to his Andalusian origins, this interest is no passing craze : for over two centuries all music that has been drawn into the magnetic field of Spanish "inspiration" has been regarded beyond the Pyrenees as having a particular character. And Turina's work is no exception to the rule, in so far as no one can contest its Hispanic credentials, but what do we really know about it? Although his catalogue comprises over 100 opus numbers, our knowledge of it does not go much beyond the Oracion del torero, the Sacromonte for piano and some of the guitar pieces whose popularity goes to prove that for a composer from Seville writing for the guitar is a matter of course. But it is not as banal as it might seem: whereas Granados, Falla and especially Albéniz, "invented" a pianistic - or symphonic -style of writing that today seems like a sublimation, or an amplification of the guitar, they wrote very little for that instrument. Turina is one of the rare composers of the period who were not guitarists themselves to hue really "heard" the instrument. Impregnated with the harmony that is produced by open string and the sound effects that flamenco players use spontaneously, he is the first one to incorporate them in a classical Composition. But then, could it be that the limpidity of Turina's style succeeds in making us forget the impact of his innovative originality?
 
How did this style, so recognisable and vivid a signature of an artist who was both demanding and discreet, come into being?
 
There are two essential landmarks in its development: the fruitful apprenticeship in the techniques of compositions taught at the Schola Cantorum in Paris and his decisive meeting with Albéniz. If it is true that the young Turina suffered from being too dispersed at the Madrid Conservatory, and happily refocused his talent in that temple of knowledge which the Schola Cantorum represented at the time, he did not, for all that, allow, himself to be hemmed in. And if he retained the distilled heritage of this training, he was no less open to the influences of musical impressionism. Ignoring the cleavages in order to express his individual sensibility, he finally followed the advice of Debussy who suggested that he "listen to the most familiar voices", i.e. those of his native soil. But the true apostle of this return to his sources was Albéniz. Turina met him in 1907 at the première of his Quintet and this memorable evening radically changed his aesthetic concepts: the Catalan musician sent him back to his native Andalusia. Thus it was that Albéniz, who had no more than two years to live, passed on the torch of Iberian rhapsodism to his young colleague
 
All the pieces on this recording (with the exception of Ráfaga) were dedicated to Andrès Segovia, who was often responsible for their creation and in many cases for their popularity They were composed between 1923 and 1932. For the sake of accuracy, Rafael Andia referred to the manuscripts and documents in the Turina Archives in Madrid, kept with exemplary care by Alfredo Moran. He discovered slight deviations from the published editions (chordal modifications, missing bus, and a few melodic and rhythmic changes).
 
With the Sevillana the composer was confronted for the first time, not with the guitaresque style - that was already ingrained in him - but with certain technical imperatives of the instrument. He called upon Segovia for advice; in the works that followed there was a regular collaboration between them. The version used by Rafael Andia (there are three) is the only one that refers explicitly to Segovia's manuscript, the date of which is, curiously enough, later than that of the official edition.
 
From the outset this Sevillana inaugurates a style based on the toque flamenco (the alternation of falsetas - variations - and rhythmic passages) and the technique of the rasgueado. It sets the tone for the pieces that follow in which we find the same recitatives punctuated by parallel chords, often inspired by a Cante, and espousing its flamenco intonation - that secret aching wound of the Andalusian heritage. Turina very rarely reproduces popular patterns; he transposes them, unlike many other musicians of a folkloric bent (a term that was soon to assume a pejorative connotation). If he worked with the material of folk music, he was well aware of the antonym (already perceived by Debussy) between the primitive character of popular expression and the sophisticated architecture of which he is also the custodian. All of Turina's work is an attempt to reconcile these antagonistic poles
 
With the Tango we enter a different field, that of the transcription, because, like the Danses Gitanas, it was originally written for the piano. What is the purpose of these transcriptions? In the preface to his edition, Rafael Andia advances a wealth of arguments to justify his aims. In the first place, the suitability of the form chosen by the composer - the Andalusian - for the instrument it symbolises: the guitar. This fusion of a particular style and content is notrelevant to all of Turina's piano works: the complexity and the unbridled invention of many of them place them outside this specific framework But the Tango (1912) from the Tres Danzas Andaluzas and the Cinco Danzas Gitanas (1929) possess a sobriety of writing that is closely related to the instrument that inspired them. The clarity of the discourse (little contrapuntal density and a certain simplicity in the choice of keys and modulations, etc.) and even the restricted instrumental compass (extremely low or high notes are very rare) seem to be dictated by the inherent stylistic qualities of the guitar.
 
Another interesting aspect of these transcriptions is that even if Turina "hears" the guitar, a d this intuitive knowledge leads to a the composition of a finished, successful work he is none the less much freer at the piano, not having to write according to specific technical imperatives. Hence a much less constrained inventiveness and a more sparkling formal freedom.
 
Like the Tango, most of the Danzas Gitanas are in duple time. Contrary to Albéniz's generally triple time pulse, Turina's seems to be engendered by the same rhythmic obsession as his friend Manuel de Falla's. We find this duple time pulse in Falla's most popular pieces, the Miller's Dance (Farruca) and the famous Fire Dance. It should be remembered that Turina played the piano for the first performances of Love the Magician, whose rhythms must have quickened his Andalusian blood but this throbbing of the blood does not introduce the same atmosphere of incantatory witchcraft. It does not have the demonic gypsy frenzy of Manuel de Falla who, like Turina, introduces popular elements, but diverts them from their literal sense into a completely different perspective governed by his creative imagination. Turina stays much closer to the archetype of the idiomatic formula, as witnessed by Sacromonle, an intensely elaborated, controlled piece, but at the same time, "taken from life", as the composer himself avowed. This muteness of perception is, no doubt, one of the reasons for Turina's enduring influence on nationalisticallyminded Spanish composers.
 
Between the incandescence of Albéniz and the Andalusian alchemy of Manuel de Falla - of which Maurice Ohana is probably the only one to hue drawn the ultimate consequences -Turina does succeed in making his voice heard: the voice of one in love with his native soil, who has forgotten neither his scholarly training, nor Debussyan impressionism, of which the Generalifie reminds us.
 
And the performer of the Danses Gitanes must, above all, as Rafael Andia suggests, reconcile "the still delicate fin de siècle fragrance which lingers in these pages, and the harshness of the Cante jondo which tears them".
 
Christiane Le Bordays

   
 

 

Press Review

 

 

A estas alturas creo yo que conocen mi punto de vista acerca de las transcripciones de esta música para piano a la guitarra: cada guitarrista es libre de hacer lo que quiera mientras lo haga bien y tenga razones para ello o se las invente, pero creo que se trata de obras que tienen su sentido para el piano. Creo que al transcribirlas a la guitarra vuelven al ámbito de que salieron: Turina, Falla, Granados o Albéniz crean -cada uno a su manera- un lenguaje hispanoimpresionista que rezuma folclore por los cuatro costados y al volver a la guitarra me parece que pierde en cierta manera ese aspecto evocador como de exilio que aporta un piano o un cuarteto de cuerda. Pero no deja de ser mi punto de vista.
Rafael Andia ha realizado unas muy buenas transcripciones (este hombre sabe lo que se trae entre manos), pero la realizaci6n guitarristica es tan dificil que hace que pase apuros (por ejemplo en la Zambra), dentro de un nivel técnico más que aceptable pero nada brillante. ¿Qué es por tanto recomendable del disco? El conocimiento del guitarrista de este repertorio, su amor. Idiomáticamente es perfecto y penetra en la esencia de esta música como muy pocos han conseguido. Sólo por esto ya es un disco extraordinario.

Francisco de Paula Sánchez

 

 

 

Gendaï Guitar

 

 

Flamenco influences there may be, but Turina conjures little of flamenco's fire and spontaneity. There is more to celebrate in Rafael Andia’s guitar playing throatily rough-toned through to poignantly lyrical - than in Turinas monolithic works for his instrument.
Christopher Wood

 

 

Amazon.com January 11, 2000

Spanish composer Joaquin Turina isn't best known as a composer of guitar music--he wrote great piano and orchestral music, too---but this is some of his best work. Along with the occasional constructive criticism from Segovia (the musician to whom Turina dedicated many of these works), the composer clearly had a great ear for the instrument. Unlike many of his Spanish composing peers, he didn't just transpose his piano works to guitar; he also wrote specifically for the instrument. Flamenco is the main influence, but on Tres Danzas Andaluzas---originally written for piano---we hear shades of tango; Albéniz and Falla are two other influences Turina never sheds. Op. 61 is the major work here (the dazzling Allegro vivo third movement being the disc's highlight), along with Op. 55, his Cinco Danzas Gitanas. Both works are reflective, but never predictable. Rafael Andia plays these complex pieces deftly and, though he's no Segovia, he's a great interpreter, and the sound quality is unbeatable.

Jason Verlinde

 

 

www.audaud.com/


While most of the other composers of the Spanish School wrote very little music for the solo guitar, Tarrega - though he was not himself a guitarist - wrote many of his over 100 opus numbers for the Spanish national instrument. All of those on this CD were dedicated to Andres Segovia and composed between 1923 and 1932 with advice and suggestions from the master guitarist. The flamenco intonation is strong in the opening Sevillana as well as many of the other pieces. Turina sought to bridge the gap between the popular/folk means of expression and sophisticated concert music. The Gypsy Dances may remind the listener of his compatriot Falla's Ritual Fire Dance - at which premiere Turina played the piano part. And the Tango is the original guitar version of the Tango for chamber orchestra on the CD above.

John Sunier

 

 

Fanfare March April /2000 345


Unlike many composers of guitar music, Turina didn't play the instrument. He was a pianist, and composed most of his music on the piano, even pieces that are better known in their orchestral form. Some of the guitar pieces are composed in a Gypsy idiom that might be called "flamenco style," that is, they use flamenco mannerisms. In its most obvious form, the music features recitativelike passages punctuated by violent rhythmic chords (think ofthe "Miller's Dance" from Falla's Three-Cornered Hat). This form supposedly came about because, when the dancers and/or singers wanted to take a rest the guitarist would improvise a melodious recitative. You can hear it in Sevillana and the final movement of the Sonata. You may even think you hear it elsewhere, since Turina's use of repetition and sequence sometimes suggests flamenco style. Much of your reaction to this music will depend on your susceptibility to the sweet sound of the guitar. If your pulse is quickened by violent strumming and modal melodies, this is certainly a collection worth investigating. The guitar is a most forgiving instrument that, in addition to its portability, has made it popular among amateur musicians. After a few weeks, you're playing resounding chords and simple tunes. It isn't hard to play the guitar "fairly well." It's when one tries to play it "very well" that it becomes difficult After a few weeks on the violin, on the other hand, you may still be scraping and squawking and having intonation problems even in Row. row. row your boat. Unfortunately, the profusion of fair-to-middlin' guitarists in pop music has led to a striking dumbing-down. Even if one has the technique of, say, a Chet Atkins, it is almost inevitable that guitar-based music will be less complicated and sophisticated than music composed at the piano . . . and most of these rock people aren't Chet Atkins. Why do jazz pianists seem to prefer pre-1960 pop music as a source? Because, as I heard one say, "You can't make somethin' outta' nothin'.
" The point of this semirelevant diversion is that Tunna was a pianist and composed at the piano, an instrument that enables one to simply do more than the guitar does: It has greater range and offers the possibility of richer harmonic textures. The most interesting music on this CD is the Five Gypsy Dances, transcribed by the soloist and rendered with virtuosity. They were originally written for the piano and are mostly devoid of guitar mannerisms. Rafael Andia was probably seduced by the first of them, which does have a touch of the guitar in it. The others don't . . . not really. Yes, some Spanish music evokes the guitar: One thinks of Albéniz, Granados, and Falla, who wrote one guitar piece between them but whose music often suggests it and transcribes well for it (in Goyescas Granados actually asks for a guitar evocation at one point). Turina was younger, and matured as a composer while Andrés Segovia was restoring the instrument to respectability. He composed for the guitar and specifically for Segovia, but wrote piano music that usually sounds like piano music, period. So what I would call the best music on the CD isn't particularly guitarlike, though it's a tribute to Andia that many who haven't heard the originais may not agree. One small point about the otherwise fine annotations, which claim that everything on the CD except Ráfaga is dedicated to Segovia. Not true. Neither are the piano pieces-the Tango and the Gypsy Dances. As I suggested,
those who cannot resist the sound of the guitar played by a master performer might well investigate this disc, but the Gypsy Dances are better on the piano, and so was Turina.

James Miller

 

 

 

Classical Guitar Magazine /March 2000 / page 43/


Turina's guitar style was essentially based on the flamenco style of recitative punctuated by chordal passages. Not surprising, perhaps, for an Andalusian but it is disappointing that he never went beyond this. The Fandanguillo is by far his best piece for guitar and is difficult to fault. A simple form, memorable, contrasting themes and appropriate use of tambora, harmonics and pizzicato make it immediately appealing. Sevillana is also a fine work, more ambitious formally and in its sense of development. The Tango and the Cinco Danzas Gitanas, originally written piano, make good material transcription. Being inspired by the guitar they more or less adopt Turina's guitar style, and employ a restricted instrumental compass. Turina is much freer at the piano, however, and these works seem to sparkle in a way his guitar pieces rarely do. They sound difficult, though, and Andia's playing is occasionally laboured in these transcriptions. The guitar works he generally handles well.

Turina was one of the first Spanish composers to collaborate with Segovia in the 1920s and his style, a reconciliation of Spanish folk elements with his academic training, must have pleased the maestro, who shrank from expressing the rougher elements of flamenco. This recording brings together all five of the original solo-guitar works, dedicated to Segovia, together with arrangements of items from collections of piano music. The observation that Spanish composers are born with the sound of the guitar in their cars and write piano music that seems to have been adapted from a guitar "original" has become a common place, but it is nevertheless true - to a degree. Turina had Segovia's guidance regarding the workings of the guitar, reflected in his repeated use of certain elements that relate to the finger board, but the greater demands of Sacromonte in particular show the greater freedom he felt when writing for the piano; however, as Andia demonstrates, the music remains guitaristic albeit at a higher level of technical requirement.
Andia treads the stylistic tightrope skilfully, wobbling only occasionally when coolness prevails over flamenco-inspired fire; curiously, it is Segovia's 1927 recording of the Fandanguillo that is the more intense. Published arrangements of some of the piano pieces have long been available; it is good to have recordings of them. Outstanding performances and excellent recording are supported by splendidly informative booklet-notes.

John Duarte

 

 

 

Les Cahiers de la Guitare
n°75, page 39; 3° trimestre 2000

Disque notoire puisqu'il regroupe l'ensemble des oeuvres pour guitare de Turina, ainsi que de larges transcriptions - enregistrées pour la première fois.
Ce compositeur a sa place parmi les quatre grands du renouveau de l'école espagnole contemporaine : Albéniz, Granados et Falla. Et de tous ces compositeurs, il est celui qui s'est le plus intéressé à la guitare, puisqu'on lui doit cinq oeuvres majeures directement jaillies pour elle. Sa musique, très bien écrite et maîtrisée, d'une élégance suprême, présente un mélange d'éléments folkloriques et savants.
Sevillana, la plus proche du flamenco, ouvre le disque de ses rythmes colorés. Pour les pièces les plus connues (Fandanguillo, Rafaga ... ), nous avons affaire à une interprétation personnelle, parfois assez inhabituelle et bien différente en tout cas de celle de Segovia, leur créateur. Nous sommes paradoxalement plus proches de la partition. C'est que Rafaël Andia a pu consulter des manuscrits présentant quelques variantes avec les oeuvres publiées chez Schott, jadis revues par Segovia.
Son jeu, d'une belle maîtrise technique, ménage des tempi souvent plus rapides qu'à l'accoutûmée. L'interprétation comporte agogique et panache, et renforce les contrastes entre passages langoureux et sections échevelées, jusqu'au paroxysme... Le Fandanguillo m'a paru dépoussiéré, comme renouvelé. Mais c'est surtout dans la Sonate que l'interprète se montre le plus inventif: cette page, indigeste sous d'autres doigts, s'avère ici une grande œuvre tant Rafaël Andia sait en faire ressortir les qualités implicites.
L'apport majeur de ce CD consiste dans les transcriptions personnelles de l'interprète, qui révèlent une musique à l'origine pianistique, moins idiomatique pour la guitare. Elle y sonne remarquablement bien - malgré la difficulté : aux Trois danses andalouses est emprunté un tango racé, bien différent de celui d'Albéniz. Quel ensemble de taille que ces Cinq danses Gitanes op. 55 transcrites intégralement, de la Zambra, sombre et tragique, à la grandeur du célèbre Sacromonte en passant par une Danse de la séduction... où de Falla n'est pas loin.
On a pu reprocher parfois à Rafaël Andia, un jeu un peu impulsif - rien de tel ici, au contraire : l'artiste a encore mûri et gagné en maîtrise et précision - sans rien perdre de sa fougue. Il nous offre de remarquables nouvelles pages dans un disque de référence (Harmonia Mundi, HMC 905246).

 

 

 

CLASSICAL GUITAR CORNER 2/2000

Of this month's new recordings, Rafael Andia's disc dedicated to the music of Joaquin Turina is probably the most pleasurable addition to the Spanish guitar discography I've come across in some time. Not that the music is unusual: Turina was one of the composers who heeded Segovia's call for more contemporary guitar music back in the twenties and thirties, and Segovia's own recordings of many of these pieces are famous. Yet, despite all that, Turina hasn't become nearly as tired or overplayed as Albeniz and de Falla. And, compiling Turina's guitar music onto one CD allows us to more thoroughly enter his world, especially when so sensitively played as it is here. This music, like some of Albeniz, is classical "art" music that tries to bridge the gap between the Spanish classical tradition and the folk-oriented flamenco tradition, and nothing could be more perfectly suited to the guitar. The disc starts out with a bang, with the rapid-fire strumming (rasgueado) of Sevillana, a marriage of deep Spanish melancholy with fiery outbursts.
The Fandanguillo and the Sonata are perhaps the most visible parts of Segovia's repertoire, and Andia plays them a little less dreamily than the Maestro, but very soulfully nonetheless. In fact, I don't ever get the impression that Andia is at the service of his technique, which is refreshing. Some guitar discs make me sit up and exclaim about the technical prowess of the player, but not this one, which means that the music is dominating (how nice!). Andia can really play, however, don't get me wrong. And he manages to inhabit the Spanish soul of the music, as only a Spaniard really can. (Even though he apparently has spent his life in France, he is of Spanish heritage and definitely of Spanish disposition.) And his transcriptions of Turina's piano music are very sensitive and so well thought out that you would never know this music wasn't written for the guitar in the first place. Andia makes an Albeniz-like case for his transcriptions, too, in that Turina's piano writing was obviously imitative of the guitar, so why not just play it on guitar? And, like Albeniz, you have to admit that it makes sense. This is a very fine disc.

Tom Chandler.


 

 

 

www.sikorski.de

In einer CD-Neuerscheinung setzt sich Rafael Andia mit dem gitarristischen OEuvre dieses Komponisten in einer Aufnahme auseinander, die er 1998 im französischen Studio "La Muse en circuit" gemacht hat (Joaquín Turina: OEuvres pour guitare, Rafael Andia, Gitarre, Harmonia mundi HMC 905246). Andia geht es weniger um exakte Sauberkeit, um das Treffen jedes einzelnen Tones, sondern um die Suche nach Atmosphäre, die seiner Interpretation ein Höchstmaß an Stimmung und Dramaturgie verleiht. Es ist mitreißende, melancholische, in sich versunkene, ja zuweilen eine zutiefst ernsthafte Auseinandersetzung mit Turina. Berührend gelingt Andia die technisch anspruchsvolle Sevilliana op. 29. Bei dieser frühe Komposition holte Turina zum ersten Mal den Rat Segovias ein. Daraus entstand eine lebenslange Freundschaft und Segovias Einfluss auf den Komponisten war groß. So verwundert es nicht, dass Andia von den drei existierenden Fassungen der Sevilliana die Fassung eingespielt hat. die auf Segovias Manuskript beruht. Auch die späte Sonate aus dem Jahre 1932 ist alles andere als eine klassizistische Hommage, sondern ein eher rhapsodische Fantasie, die vielleicht nur die Satzfolge schnell-langsam-schnell adaptiert.

 

 

visit a site dedicated to Joaquin Turina

 

other texts on Joaquín Turina and the guitar