Frank Martin y la Guitarra – RCSM Madrid

Julian Bream and Frank Martin

Julian Bream and Frank Martin, August 1973

FRANK MARTIN’s chamber music will be featured in a concert on Thursday 5 March 2015 at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música in Madrid. The concert ‘Frank Martin y la Guitarra’ – Música de Cámara 1933–1969, which has been organised in collaboration with the Escuela Superior de Canto de Madrid, will begin with Frank Martin’s only work for solo guitar: Quatre Pièces Brèves (1933) played by guitarist Javier Somoza; then the pianist Rafael Marzo, will perform movements I and III – Prélude and Plainte, and the pianist Francisco Luis Santiago will perform movements II and IV – Air and Comme une Gigue.

It is well known that although this work was written for Andrés Segovia, he was never interested in performing it. Quatre Pièces Brèves exists in various forms in manuscripts by the composer. The orchestral version of Quatre Pièces Brèves was premièred on 21 November 1934, by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, conducted by Ernest Ansemet; Frank Martin himself premièred the version for piano – the manuscript of the piano version carries the title: ‘Guitare: Suite pour le Piano (portrait d’Andres Segovia) éte 1933’. Although Frank Martin had completed the version for solo guitar in 1933, it wasn’t until 1947 that the guitar version received its première by the Austrian guitarist Herman Leeb on 9 October 1947 in Laren, the Netherlands. The work began to receive serious international interest after Julian Bream recorded it on his ground-breaking recording 20th Century Guitar (RCA Victor, 1966):

Julian Bream 20th Century Guitar frontLOW Julian Bream 20th Century Guitar backLOW

and it has remained an essential part of classical guitar’s twentieth-century repertoire ever since.

Also on the programme at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música concert are Frank Martin’s  Ballade pour flüte et piano (1939) played by Vicente Cintero (flute) and Isabel Hernández (piano); Drey Minnelieder (1960) performed by Rosa María Ruiz (soprano), Vicente Cintero (flute) and Tomás Campos (guitar); Quant n’ont assez fait dodo (1947) performed by Miguel Ángel Navarro (tenor), Miguel Ángel Jiménez (guitar) with Rafael Marzo Francisco and Luis Santiago (piano with four hands); and finally Poèmes de la mort (1970–71) with text by François Villon, performed by Matías Álvarez (tenor), Álvaro de Pablo (baritone), Javier Povedano (bass),  Tomás Campos and Javier Somoza (electric guitars) and Miguel Ángel Jiménez (electric bass), conducted by Jesús Burguera.

Poèmes de la mort was premièred in the Alice Tully Hall, at the Lincoln Center, New York on 12 December 1971, conducted by Frank Martin; it was commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center.

For more details of the concert ‘Frank Martin y la Guitarra’ on Thursday 5 March 2015 at 7.30pm in the Auditorio ‘Manuel de Falla’, at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música in Madrid, visit.

One further worthwhile video is this interview of the composer’s wife, Maria Martin at their former home, Frank Martin House

© Thérèse Wassily Saba 2015

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