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2017-12-10: De Pastel: VC

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Joaquin Turina

Joaquín Turina Pérez was born on 9 December 1882 in Seville (Spain). Without any musical education he showed natural musical talent and could improvise on an accordion at the age of 4. He then attended his first piano lessons and later studied harmony and counterpoint with Evaristo García Torres. Joaquin Turina had his first official concert performance as a pianist at the age of 14, and wrote his first composition at the age of 15. After finishing school he first followed the wish of his parents and studied medicine in Seville, but he shortly after quit and moved first to Madrid in 1902 and to Paris in 1905 to study music. In Paris Joaquin Turina studied under Moritz Moszkowski (piano) and Vincent d'Indy (composition).

 

Joaquin Turina finished his studies in 1913 and moved back to Madrid. Right from the beginning he worked successfully as a pianist and even more as a conductor. For example he was conductor of the Teatro Real around 1920 and director for the Spanish tour of the Russian Ballet under Sergei Diaghilev in 1918. Also his compositions were successful and received immediate performances.

Beside these activities Joaquin Turina also taught composition, first privately and from 1931 as a professor for composition at the Madrid Conservatory. From 1926 he also worked as a music critic for different Spanish newspapers and journals.

After the Spanish Civil War in 1939 Joaquin Turina was part of the committee that reorganised the Spanish conservatories.

Joaquin Turina died on 14 January 1949 in Madrid (Spain).

 

Among the compositions of Joaquin Turina are orchestral works like the "Rapsodia sinfonica" for piano and orchestra, the "El poema de una sanluquena" for violin and orchestra (or piano) or the "Danzas fantasticas" for orchestra, maybe the best known work by Joaquin Turina nowadays. His chamber music includes for example many solo works for piano and guitar, also two violin sonatas or a string quartet. Part of his oeuvre are also the operas "Jardin de Oriente" and "Margot" as well as vocal music. The catalogue of Joaquin Turina ends with opus number 104.

Las musas de Andalucía op.93

 

The composition "Las musas de Andalucia" op.93 was composed in 1942 and is scored for soprano, 2 violins, viola, cello and piano. It consists of 9 small movements, each with a different instrumentation and dedicated to a different person:

 

I. Clío: 'A las puertas de la Rábida', for piano (to Federico Sopeña)

II. Euterpe: 'En plena fiesta', for violin and piano (to Regino Sainz de la Maza)

III. Talía: 'Naranjos y olivos', for string quartet (to Antonio de las Heras)

IV. Polimnia: 'Nocturno', for cello and piano (to José María Franco)

V. Melpómene: 'Reflejos', for soprano and piano (to Lola Rodríguez Aragón)

VI. Erato: 'Trovos y saetas', for soprano and string quartet (Josefina de Attard)

VII. Urania: 'Farruca fugada', for piano (to Mariemma)

VIII. Terpsícore: 'Minué', for piano (María Teresa de Attard)

IX. Calíope: 'Himno', for piano and string quartet (to Joaquín Rodrigo)

 

The complete work was premiered on 2 December 1944 by the Quinteto Manuel Rego and Edith Villalba (soprano). The score was published in 1943 by UME (Unión Musical Española).

 

The autograph manuscript in my possession is the full score of the final movement "Caliope". It consists of 9 pages and is signed at the end by Joaquin Turina and dated 9 October 1942. The front page also bears an inscription to Joaquin Tena:

"A mi querido amigo y tocayo Joaquin Tena con un apretado abrazo - Marzo 1945".

According to the Fundación Juan March, who holds the main archive of manuscripts and documents of Joaquin Turina, no other autograph manuscript of this composition exists.

An actual performance of "Caliope" from the "Festival Turina" in 2015 can be heard here:

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