Publication's Style: Score with parts
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate/Advanced
General Description: for 2 Guitars
Catalog Number: 74622
Emmanuel Chabrier (Emmanuel Alexis Chabrier) (January 18, 1841 – September 13, 1894) was a French Romantic composer from the Auvergne region of central France and was born in Ambert in 1841. Although his parents, sensing his abilities, brought him to Paris in 1856, he did not toe the line by studying at the Conservatoire or even at any of the less prestigious musical institutions.
The first performance of Chabrier's famous symphonic rhapsody España on 4 November 1883 made him a celebrity overnight. It is clear from his letters from his Spanish visit that Chabrier was mesmerised by the lady dancers. He wrote: "The women are pretty, the men well built, and on the beach the señoras who have ample bosoms often forget to fasten their costumes. I'll bring buttons, needle and thread to help them: to be of service is my only concern"; and later: "What an eyeful we are getting of Andalusian behinds wiggling like frolicsome snakes".
One can wonder at the composer's genius for finding and manipulating Spanish rhythms and melodies (some of them assiduously transcribed during this sojourn) which sound more Spanish than the Spanish. This piece of music (at least in its original version) is one of the high-water marks of the dazzling ability of French composers (Lalo, Debussy and Ravel are others) to evoke the musical manners of Spain without musicological accuracy, and without compromising one iota of their own personalities. The French adored the work and the Spanish hated it. As composer Francis Poulenc put it, "the wrought-iron grilles of España come straight out of a big French department store". Such a remark from that inveterate Parisian was meant as a compliment to his beloved Chabrier.
from notes by Graham Johnson