Music from the spanish civil war

This cd is a registration of a concert (Holland Festival 1991) that constituted a homage to composers who, during the Spanish Civil War, had risked their lives for political ideals. In their words and deeds they pledged their loyalty to the Spanish Republic and put their talent on the line in the fight against fascism.

Werner Herbers, conductor
Marjanne Kweksilber, vocalist
Juan Tajes, reciter

Conlon Nancarrow Piece for a small orchestra nr.1 (1942)
Hanns Eisler Marcha del 5.Regimiento (1937)
(1898-1962) Kantate op.64 (1937)
   "Kantate auf den Tod eines genossen"
  Kantate op.65 (1937)
Silvestre Revueltas Mexico en España (1937)
(1899-1940) Homenaje a Federico Garcia Lorca (1936)
  Frente a frente I (1938?)
  March (1938?)
  Frente a frente II (1938?)
  Hora de Junio (1938)
Rodolfo Halffter iAlerta! (1937)
(1900-1987) Divertimiento op.7a (1935)
  (part II and III)
Federico Garcia Lorca Canciones Españolas Antiguas
traditional Songs from the Spanish Civil War
(arranged by Halffter and Pittaluga)

Label: BVHaast

The non-Spaniards Revueltas, Eisler and Nancarrow visited Spain in 1937/38 and participated in several (musical) manifestations.
Rodolfo Halffter, born in Madrid, played an important role in Catalan cultural and political life: he was a member of the Dept. of Music of the Directorate of Propaganda and was co-founder of the Committee for the Organisation of Musical Education (1936). As chairman of the Central Committee of Music (1937) he initiated several activities: the foundation of the National Orchestra, the publishing of scores and the organisation of concerts to support the battle and to aid victims of the civil war. He also contributed in an innovative way to musical education and published 'Música', a politically oriented monthly magazine on music.
None of these composers returned to Spain after 1939.

Conlon Nancarrow didn't write any battle songs, but he was a member of the American Abraham Lincoln Brigade; therefore his US passport was confiscated on his return from Spain. In his new country Mexico, where so many old Spanish fighters ended up, Nancarrow wrote his 'Piece for a small orchestra nr.1', a composition influenced by jazz.

Hanns Eisler, one of Schönberg's most talented pupils, was always a socially and politically engaged person. In 1925 he joined the German Communist Party and committed himself, as composer and publicist, completely to the workers' movement. Eisler's 'Marcha del 5. Regimento' was an instant composition, written for a manifestation in Madrid on January 7, 1937. Later that year, when visiting Bertolt Brecht in Denmark, Eisler wrote a series of cantata's with lyrics of his own, based on the novel 'Pane e Vino (1937) by Ignazion Silone. He combined antifascist lyrics with his own musical idiom, derived from Schönberg.

Silvestre Revueltas wrote, apart from straight battle songs, concert works which were politically charged. His 'Homenaje a Frederico Garcia Lorca' was a musical respons to the reported murder of Lorca by fascists. His 'Hora de Junio' was written to the poetry of Mexican Carlos Pellicer (whom he met on the boat, returning from Spain), in which oppression and violence are symbolically expressed.

Rodolfo Halffter's 'Divertimiento' is a concertante suite from his ballet 'Don Lindo de Almeria', about Andalusian mores and customs, written together with the writer José Bergamin and first performed in Madrid, May 1936, two month before the bloody start of the civil war.

Frederico Garcia Lorca, symbol of antifascist Spain, collected old folksongs and provided them with piano accompaniment. A number of these songs were given new antifascist lyrics during the civil war and thus became battle songs. These songs had the advantage over specially written, original songs, because they were already known and loved by the people for generations.
In Paris 1938 five 78 rpm records, since grown to legendary fame, were made with the best known battle songs. Rodolfo Halffter and Gustavo Pittaluga arranged and conducted the recordings. Since the original manuscripts of these recordings were lost, we transcribed the music from the old recordings.