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Bécquer Settings

2 February 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer is one of the most famous and celebrated authors in Spanish literature. His poems, though short and few, are considered one of the pillars of modern Spanish poetry, and their mark beyond Spanish literature is patent in Spanish music with the large number of composers who have set his verses to music.

His poetry is rich and complex, yet seems completely spontaneous. It combines the influence of high poetry, with a popular/folk tone. Bécquer wished no doubt to emphasise this apparent simplicity by calling his poems ‘Rimas’ (rhymes in english). This sincerity and modesty come in sharp contrast with other Spanish poets of his time, whose poetry, though elegant, was generally didactic and declamatory. Instead, Bécquer would follow the example being set in Germany, finding great inspiration in particular in Heinrich Heine’s work. As early as 1861, he wrote about the ‘necessity for Spanish popular song to be elevated and become a true art form’. Thus, he became instrumental in the development of the Spanish Lied, some examples of which we will hear this evening.

This evening’s programme includes early song settings of the 1870s and 1880s, settings by Andalusian composers (Turina, Falla), and Federico Mompou’s 1971 song cycle ‘Canciones becquerianas’.


2 February 2017
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Silk Street Music Hall – Guildhall School of Music & Drama
Silk Street, Barbican
London, EC2Y 8DT United Kingdom
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+44 (0) 20 7628 2571
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