GRANADA (1920-1939)

1920. (Madrid. Granada). On 4 January, Noches en los jardines de España receives its Paris premiere, conducted by Enrique Fernández Arbós with Joaquín Nin as soloist. That same month, and in the same city, the Ballets Russes perform El sombrero de tres picos at the Théâtre National de l’Opera, with resounding success. On 8 February, Artur Rubinstein premieres Fantasía bætica in New York. Encouraged by Ángel Barrios, Falla decides to move to Granada. During the summer, he undertakes frequent visits to the city in search of a house meeting his requirements. The Homenaje pour le Tombeau de Claude Debussy for guitar is the first work he completes in Granada (August 1920). During September he moves into the Pensión Carmona, where he has requested the rooms occupied by Vázquez Díaz the previous year. Later, he will move to the Carmen de Santa Engracia (40, Calle Real, Alhambra). Publishes his article “Claude Debussy et l’Espagne” in the December 1920 issue of La Revue Musicale.

1921. On 24 January, the Homenaje pour le Tombeau de Claude Debussy is premiered in Paris, performed on the harp-lute by Marie-Louise Henri Casadesus. Miguel Llobet gives the first performance on guitar a little later, during a tour of Spain (the earliest known documentary evidence of such a performance is the programme of a concert given on 13 February in Burgos). Falla becomes closely involved in the cultural life of Granada, associating with personalities such as Miguel Cerón, Fernando de los Ríos, Hermenegildo Lanz, Manuel Ángeles Ortiz and, above all, Federico García Lorca. In May, he visits Paris and London (where he plays the piano part in a performance of Noches at the Queen’s Hall). On his return to Spain, he finds himself in Madrid at the same time as Stravinsky, who is in the capital to conduct Petrushka at the Teatro Real. Owing to disagreements relating to a projected work entitled Don Juan de España, Falla breaks off his friendship with the Martínez Sierras, with whom he had maintained a productive professional and personal relationship during his years of residence in Madrid. Prepares the two suites from El sombrero de tres picos. Composes Fanfare pour une fête in fulfilment of a commission from the London magazine Fanfare, in the first issue of which (August 1921) it is published.

1922. At the beginning of the year, Falla moves to number 11, Antequeruela Alta, which is to become his definitive residence in Granada and a “place of pilgrimage” for many important musical and artistic figures. On the request of his friend, the diplomat Ricardo Baeza, he composes Canto de los remeros del Volga for the benefit of Russian refugees. Max Eschig publishes Siete canciones populares españoles and the solo piano part of Noches en los jardines de España (with Gustave Samazeuilh’s piano duet arrangement of the orchestral parts), while Chester publishes Fantasía bætica. During Holy Week, he visits Seville, where he meets Segismundo Romero and Eduardo Torres, with whom he will later collaborate on founding the Orquesta Bética de Cámara. In an attempt to revive “primitive Andalusian song”, he instigates a “Cante Jondo Competition” in collaboration with Miguel Cerón, Federico García Lorca, Hermenegildo Lanz, Ignacio Zuloaga and others; the competition, organised by the Centro Artístico de Granada, is held on 13 and 14 June in the Plaza de los Aljibes in the Alhambra. Meets Wanda Landowska when the famous harpsichordist gives two concerts organised by the Sociedad Filarmónica, at the Hotel Alhambra Palace on 23 and 25 November.

1923. On 6 January, Manuel de Falla, Hermenegildo Lanz and Federico García Lorca organise a traditional Andalusian puppet show in Lorca’s house in Acera del Casino. The works performed are Miguel de Cervantes’s interlude Los dos habladores, Lorca’s La niña que riega la albahaca y el príncipe preguntón, and the Misterio de los Reyes Magos, an eighteenth-century auto sacramental, for which Falla writes the incidental music. Max Eschig publishes the full score of Noches en los jardines de España. Two articles by Falla appear in the February issue of La Revue Musicale: “Felipe Pedrell, (1841-1922)” and “Wanda Landowska à Grenade”, which describes the latter’s visit to Granada at the end of the previous year. On 23 and 24 March, El retablo de maese Pedro receives its first public performance in concert form, at the Teatro San Fernando in Seville. The stage premiere, with sets and costumes by Manuel Ángeles Ortiz and puppets (with full heads and flat bodies) by Hermenegildo Lanz, takes place on 25 June in the Princess de Polignac’s Parisian palace. Trips to France, Belgium and Italy. Meets Ernesto Halffter in Madrid. On Wanda Landowska’s request, he begins to compose the Concerto for harpsichord and five instruments. On 12 December, the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de Granada proposes Manuel de Falla and Ángel Barrios as members.

1924. On 21 February, Manuel de Falla and Ángel Barrios are unanimously elected permanent members of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de Granada. Falla completes Psyché, a setting of a poem by Georges Jean-Aubry. On 7 April, he is named an honorary member of the Real Academia Hispano-Americana de Ciencias y Artes de Cádiz. On Falla’s initiative, the Orquesta Bética de Cámara is founded in Seville; its inaugural concert is given on 11 June in Seville’s Teatro Llorens. For this orchestra, he revises the orchestration of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, and this new version is premiered on 10 December at the Teatro San Fernando in Seville, under Ernesto Halffter’s baton.

1925. On 9 February, Psyché is premiered at the Palau de la Música in Barcelona by members of the Orquesta Bética de Cámara, conducted by Falla. Falla accepts his nomination as permanent member of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de Granada. The definitive ballet version of El amor brujo is premiered at the Trianon-Lyrique in Paris on 22 May, with sets and costumes by Gustavo Bacarisas, with Falla at the podium, and with Antonia Mercé “La Argentina” and Vicente Escudero as Candelas and Carmelo respectively. On 20 November, the Orquesta Bética performs Falla’s orchestral revision of the overture to Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at the Teatro San Fernando in Seville, under Ernesto Halffter’s direction. El retablo de maese Pedro is performed in New York (29 December) by the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, with Wanda Landowska (harpsichord) and Willem Mengelberg (conductor). Falla is named a member of the Hispanic Society of America.

1926. Participates in the Centro Artístico’s homage to Luis Bagaría. El retablo is successfully staged in Amsterdam (26 April, with Luis Buñuel and Willem Mengelberg as stage and musical directors respectively) and Zürich (20 June, at the Festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music). Finishes writing the Concerto for harpsichord and five instruments; the first performance is given at the Palau de la Música in Barcelona on 5 November, by Wanda Landowska with a group of soloists from the Orquestra Pau Casals, conducted by Manuel de Falla. In celebration of his fiftieth birthday, Falla receives honours from Seville (where he is made an “adopted son” on 20 March) and Cádiz (which names him a “favoured son” in April).

1927. Fiftieth-birthday tributes continue during this year. On 8 and 9 February, the Orquesta Bética de Cámara gives concerts at the Coliseo Olympia in Granada, conducted by Ernesto Halffter and Manuel de Falla respectively. Falla is in Guadix on 28 February, where he is named an “adopted son”. In Barcelona on 17 March for a “Falla Festival”. In April, he contributes to the Ateneo de Granada’s homage to Beethoven. The Soneto a Córdoba – a setting of a poem by Luis de Góngora, which Falla wrote to commemorate the tercentenary of the death of the writer – is premiered on 14 May at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, by Magdeleine Greslé accompanied on the piano by the composer himself. Falla prepares the incidental music for a performance of Calderón’s auto sacramental El gran teatro del mundo organised by the Ateneo de Granada and the Junta de Damas de Honor y Mérito, with Antonio Gallego Burín as artistic director, Hermenegildo Lanz as set designer, and Ángel Barrios as conductor. The performance is given in the Plaza de los Aljibes in the Alhambra on 27 June (though the programme gives 18 June as the date; technical problems delayed the performance). On 5 November in Madrid, a “Falla Festival” is held, in which the composer himself performs the Concerto. He conceives the idea of Atlántida, the work which was to occupy him for the last two decades of his life. The year draws to an end with an homage to Domenico Scarlatti at the Ateneo de Granada on 11 December, at which Falla performs 14 of the Neapolitan master’s sonatas.

1928. On 30 January, he takes up his position as a permanent member of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de Granada. February sees the publication of the first issue of Gallo: Revista de Granada, instigated by Federico García Lorca, and advertising the forthcoming publication of a Cancionero popular de Granada (“Collection of popular songs from Granada”), under Manuel de Falla’s direction. The volume is to be part of the “Collección de clásicos granadinos” published by “Ediciones Gallo” – but, like the rest of the series, it never sees light of day. In March, Falla visits Paris to supervise a production of El amor brujo, with Antonio Mercé “La Argentina” and sets and costumes by Gustavo Bacarisas. The Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique premieres a production of El retablo de maese Pedro with designs by Ignacio Zuloaga. On 14 March, France awards Falla the Légion d’honneur. In April, the second issue of Gallo appears, including a lengthy editorial, “Falla en París”, which “finds it necessary to express immense joy at the great composer’s clamorous success in Paris”, at the same time attacking “a certain G. de Linares who has published [in the Madrid magazine La Esfera] an article stupidly questioning Falla’s undoubted success”, something the editors of Gallo consider “basically as expected”, for “Falla would not be Falla if these scoundrels gave him their enthusiastic appreciation”. In September he attends the Festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music in Siena in the company of his friend Juan Gisbert Padró, where he takes the solo part in a performance of the Concerto. On 29 October, he is appointed as a member of the Kungl. Svenska Musikaliska Akademien Vágnar in Stockholm. Around the same time, Maurice Ravel visits him in Granada.

1929. In its December 1928 issue, Revista de Occidente had published the first part of the Oda al Santísimo Sacramento del Altar by Federico García Lorca, dedicated to Manuel de Falla, who, on reading it now at the beginning of 1929, expresses in a tactful letter to the poet (Granada, 9 February) his disapproval of the way in which he has dealt with this topic. Nevertheless, on 5 May Falla occupies a place of honour at an homage to Lorca and Margarita Xirgu at the Hotel Alhambra Palace, on the occasion of the Granada premiere of Mariana Pineda. So as not to enter into conflict with Conrado del Campo (who had been expecting his election for some time), Falla tries to refuse an invitation from members of the Real Academia de San Fernando to take up the chair made vacant by the death of Manuel Manrique de Lara. In the end, he succumbs to pressure from the Academia, and is elected unanimously on 13 May. However, he is never to give his inaugural address. John Brande Trend’s Manuel de Falla and Spanish music is published in New York: the first monograph on Falla. Falla is fully occupied with his work on Atlántida, which he hopes to be able to premiere at the exhibitions in Seville or Barcelona.

1930. At the end of January, he receives a visit from Alfredo Casella, who comes to Granada to give a concert with the Trio Italiano. In Paris in June, he records the Concerto and some of his songs, accompanying the soprano María Barrientos. In December, he travels to Cádiz to conduct a concert in the theatre which bears his name. He profits from his stay in his native city to undertake an excursion, inspired by his work on Atlántida, to the island of Sancti Petri, the supposed site of the ruins of the temple of Hercules.

1931. Final visit to London, to conduct El retablo de maese Pedro for a BBC broadcast. On 14 April, the Second Republic is proclaimed in Spain. On 14 May, he and some of his friends in Granada write to Niceto Alcalá Zamora (president of the Republic) and Falla’s friend Fernando de los Ríos (minister of justice) requesting that they take appropriate measures to stop the burning and looting of churches, as well as the incipient process of “disevangelization” in Spain. He is named a member of the recently-created Junta Nacional de Música.

1932. In February, he draws up the first version of his will. On 3 September, he conducts a concert in San Sebastián, in which are heard, in addition to El retablo de maese Pedro, his “expressive interpretations” of works by the Spanish Renaissance polyphonists. Travels to Venice in the company of José Manuel Segura Soriano and Andrés Segovia, to attend the Festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music, where he conducts a new production of El retablo. On his way back, he spends a few days in Barcelona, where the Associació de Música “Da Camera” organises a “Falla Festival” at the Palau de la Música on 13 December.

1933. (Palma de Mallorca. Granada). Escaping from noise and social unrest, he leaves Granada in February and travels to Majorca, where he stays from 28 February until 26 or 27 June. Here, he composes the Balada de Mallorca, a choral piece on a text by Jacint Verdaguer, based on the F-major Ballade of Chopin; the work is premiered by the Capella Clàssica de Mallorca on 21 May. His article “Notas sobre Wagner en su cincuentenario” is published in September, in the magazine Cruz y Raya, edited by José Bergamín. Disagreements over the distribution of royalties cause friction in the relationship between Falla and his London publishers, J. & W. Chester. On 19 November, he takes part in elections in Granada, voting for the first time in his life. Travels to Barcelona to conduct his works at the Liceo. At the beginning of December, he returns to Palma de Mallorca.

1934. (Palma de Mallorca. Granada). Second sojourn in Majorca, where he stays until 18 June. He revises the Balada de Mallorca and writes the Fanfare sobre el nombre de Arbós, which is premiered on 28 March at the Teatro Calderón in Madrid by the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid, conducted by Arbós himself. Falla also prepares an expressive interpretation of Horatio Vecchi’s L’Amfiparnaso. On 6 January, his friend the painter José María Rodríguez-Acosta had drawn up a will creating the Fundación Rodríguez-Acosta in memory of his parents and “with the aim of keeping Granada informed about the latest developments in human progress and knowledge, acting as a stimulus to persons of noble spirit”, and naming as trustees his two brothers, José Ortega y Gasset, Gernando de los Ríos, Manuel de Falla, José Segura Soriano, Emilio García Gómez, Alfonso García-Valdecasas and Ramón Pérez de Roda. Rodríguez-Acosta was to die in 1941, during the civil war, and this board of trustees never came to be constituted.

1935. On 10 January, Falla is named an associate member of the music section of Belgium’s Académie Royale des Sciences, de Lettres et des Beaux-Arts. On 26 January, on Paul Dukas’s recommendation, he is elected as a corresponding member of the musical composition section of the Académie des Beaux-Arts of the Institut de France, filling the chair made vacant by the death of Edward Elgar. In February, he breaks off relations with José Bergamín on account of his disapproval of the editorial line followed by the magazine Cruz y Raya. He composes incidental music for a performance of Lope de Vega’s auto sacramental La vuelta de Egipto organised by Granada University to commemorate the tercentenary of Lope’s death; Falla’s collaborators on this project include Antonio Gallego Burín (artistic director), Valentín Ruiz-Aznar, canon and maestro di capella at Granada Cathedral (musical director), and Hermenegildo Lanz (set designer). He spends a few days resting in Lanjarón. In fulfilment of a request from La Revue Musicale, he composes Pour le Tombeau de Paul Dukas in memory of his friend who died in May.

1936. On 28 April, Joaquín Nin-Culmell gives the first performance of Pour le Tombeau de Paul Dukas in Paris. Falla’s health problems deteriorate as the Spanish civil war breaks out. On 19 August, Federico García Lorca is assassinated, and Falla is badly affected. He immerses himself in the isolation of his work. In November he makes attempts to help his friend and colleague Hermenegildo Lanz, who is in grave danger following his arrest.

1937. Fragile state of health, which keeps him confined to his house. In February he is shocked by the death of his friend Pepe Segura, and he helps found a trust in aid of his widow and orphans. He works with José María Pemán on an Himno marcial for the nationalist forces, arranging and adapting the “Canto de los Almogávares” from Pedrell’s Los Pirineos, with new words by Pemán.

1938. On 1 January, the Instituo de España is founded by a decree pronounced in Burgos, and Falla, without having been informed beforehand, is named as its president. Citing his ill health, he is never to accept the post. He plans the orchestral suite Homenajes, based on earlier works and projects.

1939. (Granada. Buenos Aires). In its March issue, La Revue Musicale publishes a new article by Falla, “Notes sur Ravel”. During June, he moves to the “Huerta Grande” in La Zubia, where, as a guest of the Fernández Montes family, he passes the summer with his brother Germán and his family. He works on his “expressive interpretations” of works by the Spanish polyphonists, and on Homenajes. On 28 September he leaves Granada for Barcelona with his sister María del Carmen: an event recorded by his friend Hermenegildo Lanz in a moving written account. On 2 October, he embarks from Barcelona for Argentina (a country that had declared itself neutral in the Second World War) to conduct a series of four concerts in the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires on 4, 11, 18 and 23 November. On 18 October, the SS Neptunia brings Falla to the port of Buenos Aires. With the intention of ensuring his return, Franco’s government offers him a substantial life pension tenable whenever he should choose to return to Spain. He refuses the offer. On 18 November, in the third of the concerts at the Teatro Colón, he conducts the premiere of the Homenajes.