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Definition: Falla, Manuel de from Philip's Encyclopedia

Spanish composer. He developed a Spanish style by using folksongs combined with rich modern harmonies. Among his works are the opera La Vida Breve (1905), Nights in the Gardens of Spain (1916) for piano and orchestra, and the music for the ballets Love the Magician (1915) and The Three-Cornered Hat (1919).


Summary Article: Falla, Manuel de
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Spanish composer. The folk music (flamenco) of southern Spain is a major part of his compositions. His opera La vida breve/Brief Life (1905; first performed 1913) was followed by the ballets El amor brujo/Love the Magician (first performed 1915) and El sombrero de tres picos/The Three-Cornered Hat (1919), and his most ambitious concert work, Noches en los jardines de España/Nights in the Gardens of Spain (1916). He also wrote songs and pieces for piano and guitar.

He was born in Cádiz, and began to study the piano in Madrid at the age of eight. In 1902 he produced a zarzuela (piece of musical theatre), Los amores de Inés, written with very little tuition in composition. This had no success, and he studied composition in 1902–04 at the Madrid Conservatory with Felipe Pedrell, the founder of the modern national Spanish school of composition. In 1905 he won two prizes for piano playing and for his opera La vida breve/Brief Life. He lived in Paris, France, 1907–14, where he was influenced by the Impressionist composers Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and Paul Dukas, but returned to Spain and settled in Madrid on the outbreak of World War I. The production of La vida breve at Nice and Paris in 1913 and of the ballet The Three-Cornered Hat in London, England, in 1919 spread his reputation. In 1921 he moved to Granada, southern Spain, and became more of a nationalist composer again; but had later works performed in England, Paris, and New York. In 1939 he moved to Argentina, where he died at Alta Gracia, leaving unfinished his most ambitious work, the cantata L'Atlántida, on which he had worked since 1928.

WorksOperaLa vida breve/Brief Life (1905), El retablo de maese Pedro (for puppets after Cervantes's Don Quixote; 1923); ballets El amor brujo/Love, the Magician (1915), El sombrero de tres picos/The Three-Cornered Hat (1919).

Instrumental and solo vocalNoches en los jardines de España for piano and orchestra (1916); Fantasia baetica for piano (1919); Psyché for mezzo-soprano, flute, violin, viola, cello, and harp (1924); concerto for harpsichord, flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, and cello (1926); Homenaje: pour le tombeau de Debussy for guitar; seven popular Spanish songs.

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Falla, Manuel de

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