THE FLAVOR OF SPAIN™
This Week’s Spanish Composer: FRANCISCO ASENJO BARBIERE (1823-1894)
by Elena Greco
July 28, 2015
Francisco Barbieri was a composer, opera singer, conductor and musicologist who was born and died in Madrid. Barbieri entered the Madrid Conservatory at age 14, where, in addition to piano, voice and clarinet, he studied composition under Ramon Carnicer. Early in his life he worked as a journalist, music critic, clarinetist, copyist, piano teacher, writer of popular songs and dances, and chorus master. In a move toward establishing a distinctively Spanish theatrical form, he wrote his first zarzuela in 1850. The founder of both La España Musical (a society for the promotion of Spanish operetta) and the Society for Orchestral Music, he was quite prolific, writing hundreds of songs and numerous zarzuelas. Because of the role that he played in developing the zarzuela tradition, Barbieri is considered to be one of the most influential Spanish composers of the 19th century.
Singers should be aware that in addition to his prolific zarzuela output—which is what you are most likely to find if you search for his work—he wrote a number of delightful songs which are not that difficult to find.
Also by Barbieri is “Cancion de Paloma” (from EL BARBERILLO DE LAVAPIES) sung by the lovely Basque soprano Ainhoa Arteta: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maQlkew4C-U.
THE FLAVOR OF SPAIN™
What is it about Spanish music that lets you know instantly that what you’re hearing is Spanish? The Flavor of Spain™ explores the exotic cultural influences that create that unique sound. Deep in the lush, passionate and thrilling sound of this music are influences of the Moorish, Greek, Turkish, Italian, French, Sephardic and Flamenco cultures, and you will hear all of these elements in the music of The Flavor of Spain concert series.
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