Ezequiel Aguilar

Paco Aguilar

Humberto Allende

G. Alvarez Beigbeder

F. Elizalde

Manuel de Falla

Ernesto Halffter

Antonio José

Jorge Grundman

John McEwen

Luis Pedro Mondino

Juan Bautista Plaza

Joaquín Nin

Carlos Pedrell

Claudio Prieto

María Rodrigo

Valentín Ruiz

Adolfo Salazar

Igor Stravinsky

Joaquín Turina

Jose Luis Turina

Heitor Villalobos

Amadeo Roldán

José F. Vásquez

The musical archive of the Aguilar Quartet

 
 

The Aguilar Quartet and the Generation of 1927

This program consists of original works and/or exclusive versions made by the authors for the Aguilar Quartet

I

Joaquín Nín (1879 - 1949)

Song of the lost girl

Minuet in the old style

Murcian Tune

María Rodrigo (1888 - 1967)

Gavotte

The intruding copla

Ernesto Halffter (1905 - 1989)

Dance of the Shepherdess

Dance of the Gypsy Woman

Fandango

I I

Joaquín Turina (1882 - 1949)

Chained Seguidillas

The Bullfighter´s prayer

Moorish party in Tangier

Ezequial Aguilar (1901 - 1961)

Petenera

Paco Aguilar (1897 - 1947)

Rondino

Coloured Badge

(Green - Blue - Yellow - Purple - Red)

The works by Nin, are author-exclusive versions, and are dated in Paris, between 1928 and 1933. The first two belong to the collection Seven ancient Spanish lyric chants. The Murcian Tune is based on songs of that zone.

Gavotte is dedicated by Maria Rodrigo to the Aguilar Quartet in 1925. About The intruding copla, her other work, the author expresses herself this way:

"In an Andalusian inn, a daring song is heard, sang by an Aragonese. The intruder is welcomed, and the soul of both regions melts in a single rhythm."

 

Ernesto Halffter’s Dance of the Shepherdess and Dance of the Gypsy Woman belong to his ballet Sonatine and the Fandango to The maidens. They all are exclusive versions of the author for the Aguilar arranged in Buenos Aires.

Joaquín Turina’s Chained Seguidillas belong to the Two popular Spanish dances. Author’s version dated in Madrid, in 1926. Concerning The Bullfighter’s Prayer, maybe one of the best works of the Sevillian composer, was written on request of the Aguilar Quartet in 1925. Joaquín Turina himself tells how this score aroused:

"That rumour enlightened by the sunlight glow, boosted by the music of pasodobles and the sound of clarions influenced me. I had many times felt the temptation of putting into music all the impression that the multiple voice of the party produced in me, yet I was also attracted by the deep and suggestive aspects of the popular religious emotion, especially in Andalusia. A bullfighting afternoon at the Plaza de Madrid, that old gracious harmonic bullring, I visualized my piece. I was at the horse playground. There, behind a small door, was the chapel fill with unction, where the bullfighters came to pray just a moment before facing death. I was gifted with that subjective musical and expressive contrast in his plenitude: the distant bustle in the arena, made by the public awaiting for the party to begin, and the unction of those who, at that poor and tender poetry-filled shrine, came to pray God for their lives, maybe for their souls, their pain, their illusions and hope that perhaps were to be left forever, a few moments later, in that arena filled with music and sunlight."

Moorish Party in Tangier is the No. 5 in the Sevillian composer’s score Album of travel. It was adapted for the Aguilar Quartet in 1924. The setting is as follows:

"A dance rhythm by gusles and rebecs marks the start of the shawms generating a sensation of stunning and hubble-bubble, soon turned into a suggestive and cadenced dance. The intervention of the atabales and whimsical rhythms excite the mood of the dancers, who, in a joyful paroxysm, dance with a mad frenzy, until their flexible bodies, exhausted, fall over to the floor."

When Turina listened to the performance of this score by the Aguilar in 1924 said: ‘I won’t play this work on piano anymore’.

The program ends with three original works written by Ezequiel and Paco Aguilar. Petenera is a score of delicate elaboration and technical difficulty, where typical resources and effects of plectrum instruments are used. Following a funny Rondino, the work Coloured Badge shows one of the very few occasions where the senses of sight and sound have been melted by the composers. Each colour can suggest the following associations: Green (Zambra), Blue (Sea), Yellow (Merry-go-round music), Purple (Holy Week) and Red (foot-tapping).

Joaquín Turina

This program consists of original works and/or exclusive versions made by the authors for the Aguilar Quartet

Remembrances of Old Spain op.48

- The eternal Carmen

- Habanera

- Estudiantina

Childish things op. 21

- Prelude and Fugue

- Lead Soldiers Parade

- Jeux

Serenade op.87 

Gypsy Dances op.55, 1st series

- Zambra

- Seductive dance

- Ritual dance

- Generalife

- Sacro-monte

Moorish Party in Tangiers op.15

The Bullfighter´s Prayer op.34

 

Remembrances of Old Spain 

As commented by Alfredo Morán, this suite was orchestrated for lute quartet by Turina, except for the Third Movement Don Juan, and was premiered by the Aguilar Lute Quartet at the Gaveau Hall in Paris, on the 4th of June, 1932.

Lead soldiers parade

In a program of a concert by the Aguilar Quartet, held at the Odeon Theatre in Buenos Aires, on the 16th of July, 1929, the following annotation can be read:

"A tiny army of toys serves the great composer Joaquín Turina as entertainment; one day, in the author’s imagination, the lead soldiers come to life and, with an ornamental indiscipline, start their march, rigid and encompassed, walking triumphantly by galleries and halls."

The Bullfighter’s Prayer 

Just a comment on what we know about the Bullfighter’s Prayer, maybe one the best works of the Sevillian composer. It was written in 1925 by request of the Aguilar Quartet. Joaquín Turina himself tells how this score aroused:

"That rumour enlightened by the sunlight glow, boosted by the music of pasodobles and the sound of clarions influenced me. I had many times felt the temptation of putting into music all the impression that the multiple voice of the party produced in me, yet I was also attracted by the deep and suggestive aspects of the popular religious emotion, especially in Andalusia. A bullfighting afternoon at the Plaza de Madrid, that old gracious harmonic bullring, I visualized my piece. I was at the horse playground. There, behind a small door, was the chapel fill with unction, where the bullfighters came to pray just a moment before facing death. I was gifted with that subjective musical and expressive contrast in his plenitude: the distant bustle in the arena, made by the public awaiting for the party to begin, and the unction of those who, at that poor and tender poetry-filled shrine, came to pray God for their lives, maybe for their souls, their pain, their illusions and hope that perhaps were to be left forever, a few moments later, in that arena filled with music and sunlight."

The part of this work for the laudón says, hand-written by Paco Aguilar:

"It is a feast day at the Bullring and there’s very little time left for the beginning of the bullfight. In a lonely zone of the Chapel a man prays, prostrated at the shrine; he is the matador, whose spirit flows with religious faith and indomitable gallantly. The prayer is interrupted by the echo of a cheerful pasodoble and the humble-bumble of the public who impatiently awaits the apparition of the bullfighter. The time for the bullfighting is near and the Chapel goes back to his solitude silence."

The hand-written part by Joaquín Turina to each of the Aguilar, show affectionately, the following dedications:

 

To Ezequielote, star of the Aguilar Quartet

To Joselito, Aguilar Quartet administrator

To comrade Elisa, honouring our goddaughter La Orgía

To Paquello, the most flamenco of the Aguilar Quartet

 

Moorish Party in Tangier

Moorish Party in Tangier is the No. 5 in the Sevillian composer’s score “Album of travel” (“Álbum de viaje”). It was adapted for the Aguilar Quartet in 1924. The setting is as follows:

"A dance rhythm by gusles and rebecs marks the start of the shawms generating a sensation of stunning and hubble-bubble, soon turned into a suggestive and cadenced dance. The intervention of the atabales and whimsical rhythms excite the mood of the dancers, who, in a joyful paroxysm, dance with a mad frenzy, until their flexible bodies, exhausted, fall over to the floor."

When Turina listened to the performance of this score by the Aguilar in 1924 said:

 

"I won’t play this work on piano anymore."

Iberoamerican Music

This program consists of original works and/or exclusive versions made by the authors for the Aguilar Quartet

I

Argentina

The firmness   Gilardo Gilardi

Quechuan Evocation   Gilardo Gilardi      

Indian Air    Eduardo Caba

Chacarera   Pascual de Rogatis


Brazil

Saudade da selva brasileira   Heitor Villalobos


Spain
Coloured Badge     Paco Aguilar

 

I I

Venezuela

       Fugue on an air of Venezuelan   Juan Bautista Plaza

Cuba

Tunee   Joaquin Nin

 

Chile

Serranilla   Humberto Allende

Pastoril   Humberto Allende

 

Mexico

Danzatine   G. Baqueiro Foster

Uruguay

Dance of the Three Captive Princesses   Carlos Pedrell

 
Evocación Quichua - Gilardo Gilardi
00:00 / 00:00

The Aguilar Quartet was a clear example of union among Spain and Europe. The four Aguilar brothers, born in Moratalla (Murcia) between 1897 and 1906 moved to Madrid and formed the Quartet in 1923. They are soon known and admired by composers like Manuel de Falla and Joaquín Turina. So, in 1925, Turina writes for them the famous Bullfighter’s Prayer.

The Thirties would mean a new advance towards success for the Quartet, touring all Europe and America. The Civil War surprises them while they are in Buenos Aires and they decide to move there. From Argentina and Uruguay, they went through all America giving concerts with a great success. They had then the occasion of contacting musicians of that era who, either composed for them, or made exclusive versions for them.

Salvador de Madariaga dedicates them a poem when he meets them in Chile:

 

 

Virtuous with virtues

They leave sound echoes

Four lutes,

A Velazquez and three Grecos

 

Chilean composer Humberto Allende also dedicates them Serranilla and Pastoral (Santiago de Chile, 1935). To name, among others, the Argentineans Eduardo Caba, Julián Aguirre and Gilardo Gilardi, who dedicates them Quechuan Evocation composed as homage to the Aguilar brothers and dedicated to them as a memory of their brilliant artistic performing in the Argentinean Buenos Aires (in September, 1929).

Mexican Gerónimo Baquiero Foster writes Danzatine for them. Juan Bautista Plaza composes Fugue on an air of a Venezuelan joropo, dedicated in Caracas, 10th of June, 1935. Heitor Villalobos composes for them a version of his Saudade da Selva Brasileira, dated in Mexico, 1934.

Inspired in the Medieval Spain, which hosted the three religions, the Uruguayan Carlos Pedrell dedicates them Dance of the Three Captive Princesses, where each movement represents one of them: Zoraida (Muslim), Doña Mencía (Christian) and Betsabé (Judaic).

Let’s caption as an anecdote the annotations of a part of the score: "On board of the Eubée, between Spain and America, 25th May, 1929". Two of the Aguilar brothers, Ezequiel and Paco, composed for the Quartet (Coloured Badge, dated in Buenos Aires, 1939). Once the Quartet dissolved, Paco continued his artistic labour giving concerts and composing. He wrote the book On the Shores of Music, published in Buenos Aires by Editorial Losada.

Many years later, in 1983, it was celebrated at Madrid’s Ateneo, an homage to the Aguilar Quartet. Argentinean writer Julio Cortázar sent a telegram of support with this words:

“Chance does things correctly, as always. Arriving to Madrid and knowing of this homage to the Aguilar Quartet forms part of that kind of coincidences which only fools consider casual. In a very far time, the Aguilar filled with music the Buenos Aires of my youth. That music is still alive and present in my memory and it seems to me that it is not only a duty but also a joy to express here and today my gratitude, the gratitude of all my people.”

 

Music of the XX Century 

This program consists of original works and/or exclusive versions made by the authors for the Aguilar Quartet

 

I

 

Eight Pieces   Igor Stravinsky

March, Waltz, Polka, Andante, Spanish,

Balalaika , Neapolitan, Galop

March of the little folk Red Murdoch   John McEwen

Five Studies (D`Aprés Valéry)   José Luis Turina

La naissance du vent

Le secret changement

La vague en poudre 

Chanterez-Vous Quand Serez Vaporeause?

Toujours Recommencée

I I

Serenade for Lutes   Claudio Prieto

Saudade da selva brasileira   Heitor Villalobos

Dance of the Three Captive Princesses   Carlos Pedrell

Zoraida (Saracen)

Doña Mencía (Christian)

Betsabé (Juadaic)

The Eight Pieces correspond in reality to two works of the Russian-born composer, named 3 and 5 easy works piano for four hands. This adaptation for the Quartet was arranged by Ezequiel Aguilar and revised in 1935 by Igor Stravinsky, in Los Angeles (USA), according to the parts dedicated by the author.

José Luis Turina, a highly-refined creative personality composer, studied at Madrid’s Conservatory and in Italy, and was awarded with several prizes. He composed in 1993 this Five Studies, dedicated to the Aguilar Quartet. The work is inspired by some poems found in French author Paul Valéry’s Sea Cemetery (“Le cimetiére marin”). Each study shows one of the essential elements of music. La naissance du vent (The wind’s birth) is about the Agogics (changes in the tempo) and the Dinamics (sound intensity). Le Secret Changement (The secret moving) is a harmonic sketch with notes belonging to Federico García Lorca’s “Romance of Don Boyso” . The third study, La Vague en Poudre (The wave in ashes), has a timbric character and plectrum is not used. Chanterez-Vous Quand Serez Vaporouse? (Will you sing when you’re a spirit?) is a Renascent ricercar and a study about the counterpoint. Toujours Recommencée (Always recommencing), of a metric character has a Rondo construction (chorus and coplas).

Serenade for Lutes is a work of composer Claudio Prieto, born in Palencia. He is capable of establishing an intellectual and sensitive communication with a lively audience. Maestro of unquestionable relevance (National Music Award Reina Sofía, 1984), he obtained the Composition Prize for Lute Quartet with this work in 1982. The work is structured in two wide strokes, conformed by melodic and rhythmic arabesques which, besides, characterise the unitary and groupal thinking.

Saudade da selva brasileira is played in the version that the author made for the Aguilar Quartet in Mexico, 1934.

In 1930, The Aguilar Quartet performs in Paris, Dances of the Three Captive Princesses, by Uruguayan composer Carlos Pedrell, strict contemporary of Falla and Turina.

 

Invitation to a Sound Journey 

Cantata for verse y lute

 

 

Siglo XIII 

Spain   ALPHONSO X   Cantiga

 

Siglo XV

Spain   JUAN DEL ENCINA   Canticle

 

Siglo XVI

Spain   PISADOR   Pavana

 

Siglo XVII

    France    LULLY   The Carnival

France    RAMEAU   Minuet

 

Siglo XVIII

       England   CROFT   Sarabande

  Italy  SCARLATTI   Sonata

Germany   BACH   Aria

Austria   MOZART   Rondo

 

Siglo XX

Andalusia   ALBENIZ   Granada

Aragon   FALLA    Jota 

Galicia   AGUILAR   Muñeira

                Castle   HALFFTER   Dance of the Shepherdess

                  Andalusia   TURINA   The Bullfighter´s Prayer

 

 

 

 

 

José Luis Pellicena  -  reciter

Aguilar Quartet

Antonio Navarro  -  bandurria

Luis Miguel Lara  -  laudete

Pilar Barón  -  lute

Esther Casado  -  laudón

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtuous with virtues

They leave sound echoes

Four lutes,

A Velazquez and three Grecos

This small poem was dedicated to the Aguilar Quartet by Salvador de Madariaga. It was started in 1923 by four of the Aguilar brothers: Ezequiel (bandurria), Pepe (laudete), Elisa (lute) and Paco (laudón), and they rehearsed in Europe and America with a great success. Composers such as Joaquín Turina, Ernesto Halffter or Igor Strawinsky wrote or adapted some of his works for them. The Spanish Civil War and, lately, the II World War, force the Quartet to install in Argentina, reducing their artistic projection, and ending their history in 1941. Nevertheless in 1942, Paco (1897-1947), who continues giving recitals, suggests to the poet Rafael Alberti, also exiled in Buenos Aires, the creation of a poetic-musical spectacle; this is the origin of Invitation to a Sound Journey. This cantata for verse and lute is specifically dedicated to Paco Aguilar and appears in the book High tide (Pleamar) of the Cadiz-born poet. Rafael Alberti and Paco Aguilar, together with pianist Óscar Colacelli, offered more than seventy recitals all through the Hispanic America.

 

“Verses were written seeking to be the most rhythmical, exact oral expression, sometimes aerial and almost elusive, of the works, after being listened and studied by my with the utmost attention, keeping, if possible, to the musical accent of each style”

 

“…lute was dissolved in the most limpid springs and games which an anonymous Arabic Spanish fantasized in the XIV Century. It is found later in Juan de la Encina and his torn canticle upon the death of the Queen Elizabeth of Castile and in the crowed Pavana of Diego Pisador. All the cantata seemed submerged under the transparency of a haven of water. You could sense it dancing lost among the foggy cry vapours; curly, whispering, fugitive; between light and gloom folds (Croft); suddenly emerged in cheerful golden bubbles (Scarlatti); jumpy and broken as if it were suspended with a thread (Mozart) or wide whirlwind, sunk in the deepest before going up again in an infinite high tide”.

 

Rafael Alberti

 

In Thursday, 26th of May, 1983, it was celebrated at Madrid’s Ateneo an homage concert, where the Cantata was offered. Together with Alberti, the Quartet and The Grandío Orchestra took part. As members of the public there were Ernesto Halffter, Obdulia Turina and Pepe Aguilar, among others. Words of adhesion to the act were sent by Manuel de Falla’s niece and Argentinean writer Julio Cortázar.

 

Alberti read Cortazar’s following note: “Chance does things correctly, as always. Arriving to Madrid and knowing of this homage to the Aguilar Quartet forms part of that kind of coincidences which only fools consider casual. In a very far time, the Aguilar filled with music the Buenos Aires of my youth. That music is still alive and present in my memory and it seems to me that it is not only a duty but also a joy to express here and today my gratitude, the gratitude of all my people."

Antonio Navarro, Plucked String Instruments in Spain

Forty years later, Pepe Aguilar (nephew of the famous Quartet), thought as adequate to revive the Invitation to a Sound Journey, asking the poet for permission. In this 1983’s Invitation to a Sound Journey, Rafael modifies the second part completing the journey: Granada, with a poem by Juan Ramón Jiménez, and the famous Bullfighter’s Prayer  with his poem dedicated to the death of “Joselito”. Rafael with the Grandío Quarter play it in several places of Spain until 1985: Zaragoza’s Teatro Principal, Madrid’s Teatro María Guerrero, Santander’s International Festival, Navarra Festivals, etc.

“The plastic and rhythmic strength of Alberti’s poem faces the rococo swerve (He saw, I saw. Air in a foot, flower in no time), Scarlatti’s Madrilian clavichord (trills the air, arpeggiates the water, tremulous glasses smooth the strings of the sonatas), the soft Sarabande (so mild, that I’m nothing)”.

Enrique Franco. El País, may 1983

Aguilar Quartet - Spanish Lutes

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