Manuel de Falla: The Complete Piano Works

Manuel de Falla (1876 - 1946)

This disc contains Manuel de Falla’s twelve original works for solo piano. Eight of them, composed at the end of the nineteenth century and in the early twentieth century, are from what his friend the poet and pianist Gerardo Diego described as PreManuel de AnteFalla, that is, before he studied with Felipe Pedrell. Only three were published at the time, the remaining five in more recent decades.

The young Falla’s musical training revolved around the piano; along with solfeggio, the piano courses were the only official studies he validated, always with outstanding grades, at the Madrid Conservatory as pupil of José Tragó; and the piano appears in virtually all Falla’s output, with few exceptions, including of course the symphonic works. He succeeded in winning a piano competition against participants of the calibre of Frank Marshall (1905) and, for some years, while consolidating his situation as a composer, made a living as pianist, even giving piano classes. There are some recordings with Falla playing the piano part in some of his scores and, most important of all, the drafts of his works show that they were conceived at this instrument.

Falla is not however a typical pianist-composer in the style of early Albéniz or Granados, not because could not do that but because he decided on a different focus for his career. This did mean that he was sufficiently familiar with piano technique for his piano works to be perfectly adapted to the instrument. ôFalla’s piano, considered in terms of instrumental mechanics, is perfectö: this is the conclusion of a splendid pianist and teacher Andrade de Silva, and although it may have been risky to argue this 35 years ago, no-one questions it now.

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