jueves, 1 de julio de 2004
Gerónimo Giménez Bellido, Seville, 10-X-1854; Madrid, 19-II-1923, was a composer with a thorough musical training, which brought him tremendous success in the world of zarzuela. The extraordinary popularity of his sainete El baile de Luis Alonso o El mundo comedia es (1897), paved the way for a second part La boda de Luis Alonso o la noche del encierro (1897), which surpassed the former in quality and public acclaim. Both these sainetes, together with La Tempranica, are his most outstanding works.
Before properly addressing the biography of maestro Giménez, it is worth briefly commenting on the question of the spelling of his name. There has always been certain confusion regarding the use of the “g” or “j” in certain words in which there is a phonetic coincidence. It is true that in his time there was no concrete rule in regard to the use of these letters, and his name and surname can be found written both ways. However, the composer clearly expressed his desire that both his name and surname be spelt with a “g”. And even if it was only to take the opposing stand, as he himself used to say, and despite the fact that the use of the “j” was standard practice at the same time and at the present, I believe it is more correct to respect the composer’s will.
Gerónimo Giménez seems to have been very fond of going against the tide, but not for the sake of being different or searching for innovations in his profession, but rather due to his immature and capricious character. The only aim of the matter of spelling of his name, being of little importance, was to draw attention to himself, as in many other aspects of his life. Arnau and Gómez explain that “Throughout his entire life, he remained a child. He took years off himself, and by his own confession, he figures as four years younger than he infact was in reality”1.
Effectively, Giménez used to give his date of birth as 1858, although he was born in Seville on 10 October 1854. There are also some discrepencies regarding his origins, which some sources cite as Cádiz. He did infact move to that city as a boy, and spent his childhood and part of his adolescence there, commencing his musical education with his father and later studied with Salvador Viniegra. Giménez was a kind of child prodigée: at age 12 he appeared as first violinist in the Teatro Principal of Cádiz and at age 17 made his debut in a theatre in Gibraltar as the director of an opera company, substituting the regular conductor in a performance of the opera Saffo by Giovanni Pacini.
At age 20 the Diputación Provincial de Cádiz awarded him a scholarship for the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied violin with Delphin Alard, counterpoint with François Bazin and composition with Ambroise Thomas. The choice of Paris to further his music studies merited the following commentary by Baltasar Saldoni:
“In June 1874, the Diputación Provincial de Cádiz agreed to award him a grant of 12, 000 reales, so that he could go to Paris to continue his studies at the Conservatoire, in view of his talent for the divine art; which is all very well, and it is to be celebrated that the Diputación of that city supports its studious young people who show such promise during the early stages of their careers; but in our opinion it would have been even more of a noteworthy gesture if the above-mentioned corporation sent Mr Giménez to the Conservatorio de Madrid, that is, the Escuela Nacional de Música, instead of Paris, since in the former there are teachers who are as good in their fields as those of the Conservatoire of the French capital”2.
During his stay at the Paris Conservatoire he was awarded various prizes, including those in harmony and composition, as well as the final-year piano prize, in which Debussy was runner-up to him. Upon completing his studies, he went on a long trip to Italy and didn’t present his first compositions until his return to Madrid. On 22 July 1879 his Polaca de Concierto was premièred by the Unión Artístico Musical, in the Jardines del Buen Retiro de Madrid, and on 27 February 1883 his Gavota, by the Sociedad de Conciertos. In 1885, Chapí solicited him for the première of El Milagro de la Virgen, at the helm of the Orquesta del Teatro Apolo, and two years later for La Bruja, at the Teatro de la Zarzuela. Giménez would conduct both orchestras on many other occasions, as well as those of the Teatro Real and the Unión Artístico Musical. In 1834 he was named second conductor of the Sociedad de Conciertos, which he would take charge of after Mancinelli left. He conducted the Society for 12 years and in doing so established his great prestige as a conductor. His first success in the género chico genre was Tannhaüser el Estanquero (1890), which was closely followed by Cesantes (1890), La República de Chamba (1890), Trafalgar (1890), La Mujer del Molinero (1893), Candidita (1893) and Los Voluntarios (1893).
One of the most significant events in Giménez’s career was the première, on 27 February 1896, of El Mundo Comedia es, o el Baile de Luis Alonso, with a libretto by Javier de Burgos, one of his most assiduous collaborators and with whom he would create various masterpieces. Javier de Burgos, who had already brought this sainete to the stage without great success, was very reluctant to try it again, but the work proved to be a great success and they repeated this same success one year later with La Boda de Luis Alonso o La Noche del Encierro. Giménez’s fortunes varied until 1900, when he composed what would later become one of his best works: La Tempranica. From this moment on, he began a series of works written in collaboration with other composers such as Calleja, Serrano and Vives. With the latter he composed El Húsar de la Guardia (1904), El Arte de ser Bonita (1905), Las Granadinas (1905), La Gatita Blanca (1905) and Los Viajes de Gulliver (1911). During this period the género chico began to experience a progressive decline which is immediately visible in Giménez’s output. Though he still composed many new works, none of them would be good enough to avoid falling into oblivion, nor even to maintain the consideration of the audience of the time. Works from this late period include La Última Opereta (1915), La Guitarra del Amor (1916), La Bella Persa (1918), Tras Tristán (1918), Soleares (1919) and La Cortesana de Omán (1920).
Gerónimo Giménez spent his last years amid serious financial woes. In order to remedy the situation, he contested a post at the Conservatorio as a chamber-music teacher, however, the job went to Rogelio del Villar. Among those who rejected his application were various fine arts academics who had chosen him to fill a vacancy in the Academy. Consequently, he decided to resign from the Academy in protest. With this attitude, he only succeeded in losing both positions, as well as stirring up conflict among his peers. His financial troubles were compounded by his deterioring health and spirit, forcing him to distance himself from the stage. His death, which occured on 19 February 1923, went practically unnoticed.
La Tempranica, zarzuela in one act and three tableaus, was premièred at the Teatro de la Zarzuela on 19 September 1900. It is said that all premières have their anecdotes, and that of La Tempranica is no different: the work took nearly two years to stage and this process was marked by continual announcements and delays, without the reasons behind them being fully explained. Such an air of expectation had been created around it, that it was probably unmatched by any other work of its time. This situation was also reflected in the press: J. de la L., in El Liberal on 20 September, began his review with a signficant: “Finally La Tempranica has been premièred!” For his part, on the same day G. Plaza, in El Heraldo de Madrid, wrote:
The expectation was great: the title La Tempranica has been circulating around stages, salons and literary clubs for ages, its beauty and sentiments surprising those who were supposedly familiar with it, both literary and musically-speaking. There were even fights to find the soprano who would play the leading role, such was its importance.
Effectively, the commentaries which came from theatrical talking shops were to the effect that Romea Parra, the creator of the libretto, could not find a singer worthy of playing the part of María La Tempranica. Finally, the role was filled by the famous soprano Conchita Segura, although her association with the work barely lasted nine days. This unusual circumstance was reflected, in the no less unusual manner, on the last page of the libretto:
On the tenth performance of this work, the role of ‘María’ was played by Miss Matilde Franco, due to Miss Segura’s illness. The authors would like to show their gratitude to Miss Franco and add their applause to that of the audience in view of the positive result to her risky venture3.
Why did Concha Segura leave the work? Did her departure have anything to do with a supposed “illness” which no-one believed or mentioned? Naturally, it is unusual for someone to abandon a leading role after the considerable effort employed in preparing it, if it is not for a good reason, but we can only speculate as to the real reason behind this. It is true that Segura no longer pertained to the staff of the theatre and that Romea convinced her to return, but former disputes must have been stirred up again, as the journals of the time documented. In this respect, the December edition of the journal El Teatro states:
La Tempranica had made its mark with a ‘soprano crisis’, one of those behind-the-scenes goings-on which form the favourite passtime of the theatrical world. Miss Segura, brought to the Zarzuela to create La Tempranica, has left the work no sooner than it was created… Why? Airs of luxury… ladies’ disputes… We will never know the real reasons behind these tremendous crisis! The fact is Miss Segura was replaced by Miss Franco, and that La Tempranica has remained on the bill without the world coming to an end or the spheres trembling.
The soprano matter was not enough to affect the work’s success, although evidently such great expectations weren’t to its benefit, or, more precisely, of benefit to its plot, which was the source of the majority of the criticism the work received following its première. J. de la L., in El Liberal (20-9-1900), wrote:
The audience followed the ups and downs of the work with visible interest. If at any stage they felt tired, it didn’t show. The psychological study of the heart of a 16-year-old girl put on the stage amid curtains, tangos, concertantes, trumpet calls and drop (scenes), was a very risky venture, frought with extraordinary difficulties, … almost invencible ones… The combination of both pathetic and comic scenes in such a delicate setting, no matter how skilled the operator’s hand, would be equivalent to touching the cross on the dome of the monastery of El Escorial from the floor… And yet, La Tempranica is that golden brick which shines in the middle of the immense pile of rocks as the sun sets. A pearl set on a splendid and artistic lead tiarra. The pearl, small but perfect, has no importance within that framework. At times the audience grows enthusiastic and others tired of contemplating the filigree work of the setting. Here they encounter a glimmer of the talent of artifice, and put their hands together, further on the artist’s burin, clumsily managed, a detail of the drawing has been lost, and the mood falters… Finally we reach the end, and the pearl, unskilfully encrusted in the lead tiarra, has gone unnoticed by the majority….
In turn, G. Plaza wrote the following in the Heraldo de Madrid of the same date:
This atmosphere, which has surrounded La Tempranica for months, has, in my opinion, unfavourably affected Julián Romea’s lastest production. Who could doubt its success? But the audience, which applauded last night in good faith, showed no notable enthusiasm and yet some deception, as if something they had been promised was missing. All of Romea’s profound knowledge of the theatre and his acknowledged talent is needed in order to sustain such a simple plot, whose ending could be found in the first scene of the work.
More encisive still is the critique given in La Epoca, written by Zeda, who simply accuses Romea of plagerising the work:
La Tempranica is a copy of Zazá, without its art or vigor. Mr Romea undoubtedly took a liking to the third act of this French comedy and didn’t hesitate to copy it. The similarity between this short work and the other is glaringly obvious. Zazá goes to her lover’s house and creates a great scandal; but there she sees the innocent Totó, and the poor cabotine falls apart in tears. La Tempranica heads towards the Count of Santa Fe’s home, resigned to doing something foolish; but she sees the little count, so sweet in his cradle, and heads off remorsefully, with the music in another direction.
… In short, Mr Romea’s work is one of many which should pass without protest from the audience, but which doesn’t deserve the delirious applause La Tempranica obtained last night. Strictly speaking, this zarzuela has been affected by the premature hype of obliging friends.
Zeda’s comments about supposed plagerism didn’t go unnoticed, and generated controversy, even despite the generalized opinion regarding the poor quality of the libretto. The following passage appeared in the previously-cited issue of El Teatro:
The plot, as can be seen, is, given the work’s proportions, passable and original, and we don’t believe the flaw in its originality, seen by those who recall that 'Zazá' also desists from disturbing a lover after meeting his daughter, is relevent. This is neither the same case nor is Zazá the first theatrical work in which the resource of notoreity and moving poigncy is employed.
There is no need to be so demanding with the authors of these short one-act works in regard to versimilitude and absolute originality, and much less so in regard to the solidity of the characters. The last straw was for critics of such works to be scrupulous when they falsely accept famous playwrights who manage to disguise their works with flashy prose or with impressive verse constructed by indiscriminately accumulating verbiage and debris.
The idea is a good one, and if the work is flimsy, this can only be attributed to certain faults in the unfolding of the plot and that, this time, Julián Romea hasn’t been so witty. The first scene is very animated, the second very languid and the third very short, there being no proportion between the spectator’s initiation into the plot and its course of development, nor even any connection between the scenes, especially between the first and second which are arbitrarily linked.
Even more curious is the column which appeared in the journal Madrid Cómico (29 September 1900), signed by a figure who calls himself “A compatriot of Ramón”. The author himself makes fun of the critics with open irony, which is reflected in the following paragraphs: “… I’ll start with Zeda, who philosophises, in La Epoca, as you’re aware, and who in his spare time rewrites the classics…
… With this way of thinking, it surprises me Zeda hasn’t noted that La Tempranica was inspired by Il Trovatore, since in the drama of poor Antonio there is a gypsy and a count, or that it was a copy ‘ad pedem litere’ of En el seno de la muerte, where there is not only a count, but a countess as well.
How penetrating are these ‘off course’ critics!
… except that Zaza wasn’t well known in Madrid when Romea was about with a copy of his work, reading it to everyone. I think the theatre critic of La Epoca is right. The critic continues:
La Tempranica is a young girl, half gypsy…” What does being ‘half gypsy’ mean? Ah, I know!: “Gitanilla era mi madre / Y mi padre era gallego / yo, soy ¿gallega o gitana? / las dos cosas, pero ‘medio’” (My mother was a gypsy / And my father Galician / Am I Galician or Gypsy? - Both, but half each).
But I leave La Epoca and turn to El Liberal. Here a Mr. J. de la L. (y Arimón?), employs a tremendous series of masonry euphemisms to show that the work is weak. A brick! A dome! A lead tiarra! And an immense pile of rock! This critic-mason assures us that Romea is spot on in the first tableau and is unfortunately mistaken in the last. This is a ‘calcium whitewash’, like that given by masons before plastering a room. A brick! To which well-considered genre does this ‘artifact’ lead me, as I read and re-read certain theatrical reviews?
D. José de Laserna, in El Imparcial, doesn’t beat about the bush and solemnly declares that the première of La Tempranica was a succés d’estime.
I know that you are not familiar with a word of Molière, but how was Laserna going to say that the work was only regularly received in Spanish, such a poor language?
After pointing out the journalistic slips, the anonymous civilian, gives us his own version:
And now you’ll want to know, without euphemisms or beating about the bush, more or less ‘in bricks and mortar’ how La Tempranica functions as a theatrical work. Am I right? Well this is my humble, but sincere opinion. La Tempranica is a lamentable mistake. An attempt has been made to paint a character of extraordinary scenic importance, and wherever the author put his pen there was a black, very black stain… The character doesn’t work…! The gypsy girl, instead of being sublime, is ‘kitsch’… an (over) enthusiastic girl who marries the first man she sees, ‘despite’ her romantic lucubrations; because that’s what she’s looking for, a sweet companion…
Clearly all this about Zazá, bricks, tiarras and succés d’estime, are our ‘critics’ more or less subtle penetrations. The work is a bad work because the author’s intention is not present. He thought it was, but he was mistaken. The critics aren’t wrong, but their lack of sincerity is more censurable than the error, no matter how large it may be.
As can be deduced from this series of opinions, Romea’s libretto underwent a discrete “dressing-down” but… only a discrete one. Underlying the lines which filled the press is the desire to emphasize the work’s weakness in order to annoy the author a little, but at the same time without annoying him too much. Julián Romea was a very popular man who had secured his place in the theatrical world. The vicissitudes which preceded the première of La Tempranica were even considered a product of Romea’s vanity or a burst of pride and perhaps that’s why he was ‘punished’. It is surprising that during the initial performances there were hecklers, who evidently only appear if they are “commissioned”. We have found various references to this, but only one press review, concretely, in El Liberal on 21 September, in which the following version of events appears under the title Scandal in the Zarzuela:
Last night, near the beginning of La Tempranica, various youths who occupied a box began to protest in a noisy manner. The audience as a whole severely reprimanded the trouble-makers, provoking a big scandal. The authorities intervened in the matter, taking those who initiated the tumult into custody. Order was reestablished, and the performance of La Tempranica continued without incident. All the artists received enthusiastic applause, especially Misses Segura and Mesa.
The critics’ view of the music, which didn’t receive much attention, was a different matter. In general, it was unanimously praised. For G. Plaza:
Maestro Jiménez has created a beautiful score for La Tempranica, which is too technical and somewhat uncolourful and sometimes bombastic for many; though it is brimming with those cadential and sweet notes of Andalusian songs, unique in their expression of joy and merriment, sadness and bitterness4.
J. de la L. expresses himself in similar terms:
Maestro Jiménez has fought valiantly, not with the difficulties of the storyline, which don’t exist for the composer, but against the author of the text, since the little plot which the work is built on is drowned by beautiful and very inspired passages of music. The score of La Tempranica is a slice of life in Granada. The Andalusian composer felt the nostalgia of his land like no other, and his litany overflowed in a flood of sad notes, which reach ‘a lo fondo’ as they say5.
Later studies have continued corroborating the talents of a composer whose spirit is accurately summarised, in my opinion, in the following parragraph:
Gerónimo Giménez was one of the greatest composers of zarzuela chica, ‘the elegant composer’, in Amadeo Vives’s words, and this elegant style and his unique inspiration is well justified in the score of La Tempranica. Giménez’s music emphasizes a whole range of feelings, more than those contained in the libretto: from passion to tenderness, the serious to the comical, and perhaps no other score surpasses La Tempranica in its description of the milieu6.
The libretto and its author
Julián Romea Parra was born on 18 July 1848 in Zaragoza. The nephew of Julián Romea Yanguas -considered one of the best actors of his time-, he stood out as a multi-faceted professional since his excellent work as an actor was complemented by his talent as a dramatic poet and composer. He had to overcome a number of unsuccessful years at the beginning of his career before he received the support of the famous actress Matilde Díez, his uncle’s wife, and immediately began to make his mark. Among the anecdotes which are told about him is that surrounding the première of La Buena Sombra by the Álvarez Quintero brothers, despite the theatre’s impresarios being completely opposed to it, saving the entire season of the Teatro de la Zarzuela, and another in which one of his innumerable imitators, called Galé, went to Latin America, his performance being so successful that later, when Romea himself went, he was praised, but criticised for spending his time imitating Galé. Curiosities aside, Romea managed to connect with an audience who undoubtedly admired him.
As a composer, his most successful works were generally written in collaboration with other composers, particularly, with Valverde Durán, such as La Baronesita (1885), El Canario (1886), Niña Pancha (1886), Pasar la Raya (1886), La Segunda Tiple (1890) and Las Grandes Potencias (1890). He was also the author of the text of works such as El Padrino de El Nene (1896), Todo por el Arte (1896), El Señor Joaquín (1898) and La Tempranica (1900). He translated and adapted French works such as Un Marido a Picos Pardos, Entre dos Yernos, Un amigo íntimo, El Difunto Toupinel and Quisquillas, for the Spanish stage.
Julián Romea died in Madrid on 13 November 1903.
La Tempranica is set in fin-de-siècle Granada, and its plot was in line with the trend towards zarzuelas with a sentimental storyline. Romea uses the pretext of unrequited love to set up a costumbrista scene, in which he depicts characters who reflect the antagonism between two radically different social classes. It is worth stating, however, that Romea’s stroke of genius lies in his description of the gypsy way of life, whose customs and beliefs, joys and sorrows, are traced with the accuracy only a man with such a wide knowledge of the gypsies of Granada could do. The same cannot be said of the count and his friends: his personality is hardly developed at all and doesn’t come off very well. Luis is a good-hearted man, but he was mistaken in deceiving those who had treated him so well. His behaviour is capricious, and leads us to believe that this is proper of the upper class, who seek entertainment even to the detriment of those who are not up to their standard. The taunts and insinuations of Luis’s companions also stem from the same philosophy, although on the contrary, they do not denote nobility. On the opposite side are the gypsies. Romea presents us with noble, caring, nostalgic, passionate, charitable people, a series of virtues which are obviously exaggerated so as to secure the spectators’ sensitivity. Independently of the plot and its shades of sentimentality, Romea uses a series of resources in meeting the objective of these short works, ie, the audience’s enjoyment. For this reason he resorts to linguistic devices, for example, Mister James’s bad Spanish, and especially gypsy cant. The libretto itself contains the following note:
The actors assigned the roles of María and Grabié must take care not to pronounce the letter ‘s’ at all, substituting it for a very gentle z. The other gypsy characters should do likewise7.
Romea had a very good knowledge of many words and expressions denoting a lower-class background. But the ear tires of such exaggerated slang because it is not sustained in ingenious dialogues, with the exception of Grabié’s interventions. This is perhaps one of reasons why the work lacks that “all-roundedness” which the critics of the time so dearly missed.
First tableau. A raised area in the sierra, close to Granada. Don Luis, Count of Santa Fe, Don Mariano, the attorney, Mister James and Don Ramón return from a hunting trip. The house is served by Curro and his wife Moronda. While they are chatting, they hear Grabié the gypsy pass by and they call him over to liven up the night with his singers. Upon entering the house, Grabié recognises Don Luis and Don Luis, Grabié, and their comments spark the interest of the others. Grabié leaves after his performance and Don Luis tells his friends a story: one day, as he was walking through the sierra, he had the back luck to fall off his horse and lose consciousness. When he came to, he found himself at the home of some gypsies, who had come across him and cared for him. He stayed with them for a few days, passing for a labourer, for no other reason than to satisfy his curiosity with respect to their way of life and to have fun in the process. Among those who cared for him was a gypsy, María, who fell madly in love with him. Don Luis accepts her advances at first, but when he advises her that things could be going too far, he decides to leave them, leaving the poor girl destroyed.
A year after this incident, María gets engaged to a gypsy called Miguel, but when she learns that Don Luis is there, she sends Grabié to fetch him. When they meet outside the house, María declares her love for him and Don Luis asks her to forget him.
Second tableau. A gypsy ranch high up in the sierra. The home of María and Grabié and their parents, Chano and Salú, as well as Zalea, Pastora, Juan and Pilín. Miguel arrives at the ranch, resolved to holding a party to celebrate his forthcoming marriage to María. A short while later, Don Luis, Don Mariano, Don Ramón and Mister James turn up at the ranch with the intention of seeing how Chano’s forge functions, and Miguel invites them to the party, in which the gypsies dance and sing according to their customs. Grabié tells María that Luis is there, but that he is going back to Granada and he is married. María decides to go to Luis’s house in Granada, aware she is doing something crazy.
Third tableau. Don Luis’s villa in Granada. We are introduced to his wife Lolita, and his son, a baby sleeping in his pram. María, accompanied by Grabié, is about to enter the house when she hears the count and his wife talking and looks at his son. At this moment she realises the impossibility of her position and decides to return to Miguel.
The music: structure and analysis
As we have already seen, Giménez had a great success on his hands with the score of La Tempranica, consisting of a Prelude and six numbers. A number of common features can be observed in the score:
a) In almost all zarzuelas it is usual for the Prelude to function as a kind of exposition of the themes heard throughout the work. In this case, the contrary occurs: the composer begins the Prelude with a theme which is constantly present throughout the score, especially at the most intimate and emotive moments, and it is even used as a final number, making it a veritable leit-motiv which gains force in the general context.
b) In the Prelude, Giménez also employs ornamentation which takes on melismatic functions, irradiating short sonorous flashes in such a way that these melismas aid in the cohesion of the wider musical framework. It is worth noting these ornaments are characteristic of Andalusian music.
c) The melodic line is normally divided into eight-bar phrases (44), although on other occasions there are phrases of 12 (66) and 4 (22) bars. Likewise, there are many two-bar motives, which are usually well developed.
d) With respect to orchestration, Giménez was much moderner than his contemporaries, who simply doubled the voices with instruments. In Giménez’s case, these doublings were an exception, and sometimes he resorted to different textures between the voices and the orchestra; or ornamentation or dialogues between both parties.
Prelude. Orchestral forces: Piccolo, Flute, Oboe, Clarinets in Bb, Bassoon, French horns in F, Trumpets, Trombones, Timpani, Side drum, Triangle, Bass drum and strings. Adagio 3/4. C Minor. The Prelude opens with a tremolo in the timpani, bass drum and double basses, leading to the fortissimo which marks the beginning of the first theme, an eight-bar phrase (44) with a contrasting question and answer motive and an imitative character, with a passing modulation to F minor. Giménez develops this idea solely by playing with the opening of the first part -a melodic cell, barely two bars in length- which is repeated at different pitch levels until b. 43. This compositional manner would have obvious repercussions throughout the work as does the ornamentation or melisma which appears on the first beat of the second bar of the initial theme, referred to above. Bar 44 marks the commencement of the 6/8 Allegretto in C major which basically consists of a couple of two-bar motives, notably contrasted and with a marked rhythmic character. The second motive marks the beginning of a progression which ends in a kind of very short bridge -bars 58 and 59-, in 2/4, which serves to introduce a new four-bar theme (22) in 6/8 metre. This motive brings to life a series of imitative motives which are distinguished by changes in their coloration. In bar 76 the third motive comes into play -Moderato 2/4. Eb major- using short dialogues, trumpet calls and timpani rolls, which transport us to the hunting environment which marks the first, second and third scenes of the first tableau.
No. 1. (First tableau, Scene 1). Orchestral/vocal forces: Don Luis, Don Mariano, Don Ramón, Mister James, Tenors I & II and Basses. Piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinets in Bb, bassoon, French horns in F, trumpets, trombones, timpani, side drum, triangle, bass drum, cymbals and strings. Allegro Moderato 6/8. Eb Major. The scene commences with hunting tunes in the French horns and trombones which set the scene for the entrance of the characters. There is a note for the three French horns and the thrid trombone which reads: “Band on stage, while the first and second trombones remain with the rest of the orchestra”. Clearly the composer’s intention in putting these three instruments on a second plane was to create the sensation that the music was coming from a distance.
However, the decision to maintain the first and second trombones on stage is not very clear since both share the same material as the third and their on-stage location creates problems which are frankly very difficult to resolve. The theme is divided into three six-bar phrases (666). The first is a succession of three calls which are played in free time as a consequence of the three general pauses, allowing the performer to use his/her own discretion. The second, in manifest opposition to the previous, is metrically rigorous, while the third is nothing more than a repetition of the second resolving on a different note.
Following this, a new four-bar motive enters which is repeated literally and followed by others with general pauses on the first and third bars, which sensitively and intelligently anticipate the appearance of the characters, together with the tenors and basses. From bar 25 to bar 84 a 44 phrasing dominates -with repetitions and variants-, serving the dialogues exchanged between the voices and band. From bar 85 onwards, the band allows the orchestra to take over. Horn and trombone calls and trills in the woodwinds, set in a rhythmic figuration, are an effective support to the soloist dialogues and their tutti with the choir. This atmosphere is maintained until bar 104, in which a fortissimo onomatopoeic language is created. This is repeated pianissimo, conjuring up a markedly intimate ambience. The orchestra returns and a new rhythm taken from the previous theme serves as an introduction to the animated exchange between the voices, which is maintained until the final number. This vast passage -which lasts from bar 116 to bar 230, is full of those country aromas which are in keeping with the spirit of the text.
Scene IV. No. 2. Orchestral/vocal forces: Grabié. Piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinets in Bb, bassoon, French horns in F, trumpets, trombones, timpani, side drum, bass drum and strings. Tiempo de Zapateado 6/8. C Major. A very brief rhythmic introduction prepares the theme of the Tarantula, consisting of eight bars (44) made up of smaller melodic cells of an imitative nature. Grabié’s entire intervention is similarly very dazzling and especially communicative. In this number the dialogue between the voice and the orchestra is such that they contest each other without interference. This way of dialoguing between the voices and the instruments is one of the formulas which generically characterise Giménez’s score, but in addition, in the present case, this formula is also typical of the zapateado flamenco, whose peculiarities are condensed in this number: a lively movement, in duple time, the second beat very accentuated, and performed with a kind of provocative, flirtatious attitude8.
Scene VII. No. 3. Orchestral/vocal forces: Tempranica and Don Luis. Piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinets in Bb, bassoon, French horns in F, trumpets, trombones, timpani, bass drum, cymbals and strings. Allegro 3/4. A Minor. La Tempranica’s song begins after a succint introduction. It consists of an eight-bar theme (44) in which, once again, both parts are perfectly contrasted, except for their final melismas, and their form, although they resolve in different keys. After its exact repetition, a second, eight-bar theme appears, consisting of a series of descending progressions a tone apart to create the sensitive mood of La Tempranica’s song. In bar 27 D. Luis enters with a new four-bar theme (22), which is repeated and María responds to it with her complaints of indifference.
Bar 50 marks D. Luis’s entrance in Andante tempo, 4/4 time. Both characters show their feelings with increasing intensity, leading to an intimate Lento in bar 57 sung by María, modulating to C minor by bar 59. This vast section, with numerous changes of tempo and metre, tonal variety and concise melodic figuration in the orchestra, anticipating and supporting the voices, which are subtle, imaginative and rich in their texture, accumulating force and intensity in accordance with these texts, climaxing in bar 172. The main ingredients for the final magical bars of the duet between La Tempranica and D. Luis are string tremolos, isolated notes in the woodwinds and that emblematic melody in octaves in the first violins, with their light melismas taken from the Prelude.
Scenes I and 5. No. 4. Orchestral/vocal forces: Tempranica, Chano, Grabié, Pilín, Salú, Pastora, the old Gypsy, Zalea, Juan, sopranos, tenors, basses. Piccolom flute, oboe, clarinets in Bb, bassoon, French horns in F, trumpets, trombones, timpani, side drum, triangle, bass drum, cymbals, harps and strings. Andante Sostenuto 3/4. A Minor. For the first time the whole choir is heard, as is the solo harp, an instrument which merely formed part of the orchestral texture. Its use is very timid, perhaps too timid, since its use is very limited with respect to other instruments. The musical texture of the opening of this number seems to have an air of anxiety about it, with a motivic cell played by the violins and pizzicato accompaniment. This motive is developed, with its variants and repetitions, until it resolves in a theme leading to those brief flashes at the beginning of the theme from the Prelude. An arpeggiated theme composed in principal for the harp, violas and the first violins, with a contrasting harmonic response in the woodwinds is introduced in bar 28, Allegro and in 2/4 time.
These small strokes acquire importance as a consequence of the use of variation, prolonging the theme until bar 89. Here the first theme of the Prelude reappears, although with a slight difference: its use of longer notes, which have been augmented by half a beat, and with a modulation to D minor. The flute, oboe, first clarinet, violins and cellos (in octaves) participate in this passage, over a rhythmic texture played by the violas and double basses which, in turn, gives way to a more pondered melodic line in the second clarinet, bassoon and horns. In bar 97 the second violins join in the rhythmic motive, while the melodic motive remains in the oboe and first clarinet, which is followed by a new melody of smaller dimensions, repeated at various pitch levels, by the piccolo, flute and first violins, and maintained by the first and second violins alone. The staggered entrance of the choir and Chano is supported by a clear accompaniment played by various instruments. All this is directed towards the reappearance of La Tempranica in bar 177, with the omnipresent theme from the Prelude, in a similar form to that commented on in bar 89. Immediately following this theme, a number of dialogues between Chano, Grabié and Pilín are initiated, with the presence of a melodic motive from bar 103, although with some differences, such as a more relaxed harmonic support and an ostinato taken from previous bars. A harmonic transition in the woodwinds repeats María’s affable song, taken literally, once again, from the Prelude. The pizzicatos in the strings and woodwind staccatos create a special atmosphere which is the work of a gifted hand.
In bar 244, Allegro Poco Mosso, a 44 theme with very jovial touches is introduced, using very short notes both in the voices and the orchestra. In bar 287, the old gypsy’s song expresses the subtle tenderness of the lullaby in flamenco style (as stated in the score), which is delicately accompanied by the orchestra. After this digression we come to bar 304, in open contrast to the previous section, with a change of key - to A Major-, meter -3/8- and tempo -Allegretto-. The music transpires in a relaxed, transparent, rhythmic context…, in keeping with Zalea and Juans’ onomatopoeic style, which is maintained later when texts and onomatopoeias are alternated. From bar 380 onwards, Chano, La Tempranica and the choir join in for the number’s closing. Here Giménez’s clever use of previously-employed material makes us believe it is new.
Scene V. No. 5. Orchestral/vocal forces: Tempranica, Old Gypsy Woman, sopranos, tenors and basses. Piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinets in Bb, bassoon, French horns in F, trumpets, trombones, timpani, tambourine, triangle, bass drum, cymbals, harp and strings. Moderato 3/4. C Major. This is a curious number, given the normal procedure of works of this type. It is very long, unproportionately long compared to previous numbers, since it not only accompanies part of Tableau II (nearly 500 bars), but another 200 bars of the Third Tableau. The norm was for musical numbers to close the end of tableaus -or even end scenes-, and even more so when the music is used as a kind of “intermezzo”, as it is in this case. Giménez resorts to the “Tiempo de Vals” both as an entr’acte between the second and third tableaus and to set the beginning of the first scene of the last tableau. What in fact happens is the music for tableaus II and III occurs without a break, taking into account that this is the fifth number. Analytically, it can be described as follows:
The strings and the bassoon in octaves, present the “passionte” four-bar theme (22) which opens this number. This correlative theme is repeated twice, the second time resolving in an undulating manner. The melodic line is sustained by the octave trills in the woodwinds, which resolve in an arpeggiated motive. Trumpet calls sound while the tambourine joins the woodwinds tremolos. A similar figuration ensues with the participation of various instruments, until the choir’s joyous entrance.
In bar 76 the whole orchestra takes on the role of introducing the theme sung by María, a short theme with literal repetitions, long notes forming superpositions of sound, with chords in the harp and, above all, melismas in the soprano and concertino, which are like small drops of perfume on a body dressed very simply, but very appropriately. The Moderato at bar 104 presents a new, eight-bar phrase (44), written for the sad, uncertain Tempranica. The atmopshere is created using thematic transformations, especially dominated by that exhuberant rhythmic pattern, which loses force after bar 126, though it remains as a kind of memory, more suited to the calmness that pervades and serves to highlight María’s character and the dialogues between the flute and clarinet, and the violins. These dialogues are later enhanced by both the choir and orchestra, in a series of increasingly tighter interventions (on occasions they are fused together), culminating in bar 180 and bars 190-192. The Allegretto in D Major in bar 193 is the threshold of a climax of euphoria which leads to the Tiempo de Tango, in which both the rhythm and the melody are largely a result of the characteristics of this flamenco song and dance9. It is an idea replete with animation, which plays with the text and leads to the final fortissimo. In bar 279 a change of metre marks the beginning of the discussion between María and Grabé. The music resolves, after a very brief suspense, with the opening theme of the Prelude, which vividly illustrates La Tempranica’s anxiety. In bar 317 the Tiempo de Tango returns, which repeats bars 242-281 after a fortissimo introduction, and ends in bar 359 with another theme taken from the Prelude. From bar 379 onwards, the entire orchestra presents successive ideas in a similar spirit to other preceding themes, creating an interesting, subtly elegant sound world… As mentioned above, the Tiempo de Vals begins in earnest in bar 482, and is used for the scene change which marks the beginning of the third tableau. In the key of E Major, Giménez creates a configuration which keeps to the progressions that have already been used, as well as that orchestral transparency alluded to above.
Finale. No. 6. Orchestral/vocal forces: Tempranica. Piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinets in Bb, bassoon, French horns in F, trumpets, trombones, timpani, side drum, triangle, bass drum and strings. Andante 3/4. C Minor. Giménez is not at all reluctant to recuperate the past, and he does so with security. He presents a final number in which the first 12 bars present an imitative motive, repeated at various pitch levels. This motive is played by the first horns and the strings, giving a clear, effective result… leading to the eloquent and profuse theme from the beginning of the Prelude. It is sung by La Tempranica with light accompaniment in crotchets and minims in descending turns, with the support of the double basses in pianissimo tremolo. A beautiful texture to end María’s intervention, which at the same time serves to repeat the previous motive with all the attention focused on the opulent sound of the orchestra. This leads to an exchange of dialogue which concludes with the general pause in bar 25, giving renewed impetus to the final passage.
This critical edition of La Tempranica has been assembled using the following sources: a full score of the work, parts and a reduced score, all of which are well conserved. Unless the contrary is stated, the binding of these volumes is glued or sewn, with greyish covers, and the copies are printed editions, property of the Music Archive of the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores.
1) Score. Cover in green cardboard with the inscription: La Tempranica. G. Giménez. The first page reads: Score. “La Tempranica”. Text by J. Romea. Music by J. Jiménez (above the two j’s two g’s have been written in blue pen). Copyist’s score. 366 pages. Contains pencil markings.
2) Reduction. La Tempranica. Zarzuela in one act. Text by J. Romea. Music by G. Giménez. No archive number. The cover states: 1989-1994. An inscription on the cover reads: “This material must not be copied, rented, loaned or sold. It is the exclusive property of this Society”. It contains various notes in English and corrections in blue, red and green pencil inside.
3) Parts. Unless the contrary is stated, all covers include the following information: Music Archive Material No.… Sociedad de Autores Españoles. Madrid. La Tempranica. Zarzuela in one act. Text by J. Romea. Music by G. Giménez. This material must not be copied, rented, loaned or sold. It is the exclusive property of this Society. 1989.
These materials have some characteristics in common, which are worth describing briefly, so as not to interfere with the flow of the text. It is worth stating that almost all parts contain lead pencil markings or blue, red or green notes. Curiously, as in the Reduction, these annotations are usually in English, for unknown reasons, although it is logical to conclude that the work was performed by an English orchestra. The notes relate both to the text and the music, especially to tempo, dynamic and expression markings, slurs, etc. Whole bars are sometimes crossed out. The parts are catalogued by groups which pertain to different numerations. Thus, the following materials are numbered A1: Salú, Zalea, Pasotra, Juan and the Old Gypsy. Pilín. / D. Luis / D. Mariano / Grabié / D. Ramón / Mister James / Piccolo / Flute / Oboe / 1st & 2nd Clarinet / 1st & 2nd French horns / Trumpets / 1st & 2nd Trombones / 3rd Trombone / Timpani / Side drum & Triangle / Bass drum / Harp / 1st Violins / Cello & Double bass. The materials corresponding to the timpani, side drum and triangle, and bass drum, are also written in brackets as “Tympany”, “Snare” and “Bass drum” respectively. The bassoon part also contains a loose page with the following hand-written inscription: “Patrick: La Tempranica. Orchestra Schedule Rehearsals. Wed-July 27… 7:00pm 9:30 chamicol [sic] / Thurs-July 28 7:00 pm 9:30 chamicol / Performances Fri July 29 8:00 pm (Be there 7:30pm) / Sat July 30 8:00 pm (Be there 7:30) / Sun July 31 2:30 (Be there 2:00 pm) / Pay: £ 175 per person”.
Material number A9 is assigned to the following parts: 2nd sopranos, 2nd tenors and basses, as well as those pertaining to the Band, ie, the three French horns (in Eb) and 3rd trombone. Each of these four parts are printed on a single sheet of manuscript paper, with the inscription: La Tempranica (Band) in the upper margin.
Numbers 21 and A11 are assigned to the 1st sopranos and 1st tenors, respectively, while A14 is given to a copy of the 1st violins, A5 to one of the 2nd violins, A8 to one of the violas, O6 to a cello, and O2 to one of the 1st violins and one of the 2nds. In addition, A12 is assigned to two copies of the 1st violins, two of the 2nds, one of the violas and one cello-bass. Finally, there is an unnumbered copy of both La Tempranica’s and the viola part, the former written by hand on manuscript paper and bound without covers.
A white piece of paper with the following inscription was found amid the parts: “La Tempranica. Cuts./no. 4 cut from beginning to 27 meas after 1 begin there / no. 4 bis cut / no. 5 cut from Allegro 2/4 (19 meas before 9) to 3rd meas after 10 (6/8) / Cut from 9 meas after 11 to 25 meas after 11 / cut from 49th meas after 13 to 19 meas before the end of no. 5”.
4) Sound recording: La Tempranica. Performers: Teresa Berganza, Manuel Ausensi, Rosita Montesinos, María Dolores García, Elena Sansinenea, Roque Montoya “Jarrito”, Juan del Campo, José Mraía Maiza, Juan de Andía and Julio Uribe. Chamber Choir of the Orfeón Donostiarra. Gran Orquesta Sinfónica. Conductor: Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos. Disco Zacosa ZCL 1027 ST, 1979. Property of Radio Nacional de España.
All sources used in assembling this edition have been of tremendous help, especially with the existence of a full score which served as the main reference. The parts didn’t present any major discrepancies with respect to the score, with the exception of some differences originating not so much from the copy itself, but the markings contained in some copies. Similarly, the sound recording supported the completion of the edition. Notwithstanding, there are some particularities relating to the edition as a whole:
a) Repetition signs: we have chosen to present the numbers in their entirity, keeping in mind that the aim of this edition is to clarify the work.
b) With respect to Div.-Unis. indications, present on very few occasions, these have been added systematically, helping to clarifying the score.
c) Orchestral forces: as was customary during this period, the clarinets were written in Bb and A; the French horns in Eb and F, and the trumpets in A and Bb. Although one should keep as close as possible to the original, it seemed reasonable to adapt these instruments to their modern pitches. Thus, the clarinets have been written in Bb, the French horns in F and the trumpets in C. The piccolos were occasionally transposed up an octave, especially where it was considered more appropriate to give them more brilliance.
d) A large proportion of the dynamic and expression markings -in particular the latter- are personal additions. In certain cases, there were indications found in some of the parts or in the score, but there were also discrepancies between them, such that my own criteria has dominated, in accordance with the sound and plot. Obviously, the atmosphere implicit in the work has always been respected.
Prelude: Expression marks in the 1st clarinet in bars 3, 4, 7 and 8, and bars 3 and 4 of the trumpets, in keeping with the flute, oboe, and 1st and 2nd violins. For the same reason, a slur has been added in bar 39 in the bassoon. Throughout the number crescendo and decrescendo markings have been added, sometimes to maintain coherence between the instruments, while others have been personal inclusions, in keeping with the melodic line. The same can be said with respect to p, pp, f and ff markings, which have been used to enhace those small phrases which bring this short number to life.
No. 1: In bar 12, ff in anticipation of the general pause in bar 13, following the rall, in contast to the ppp which begins in bar 14. In the same bar, ppp in the 1st and 2nd trombones, in keeping with the French horns, as well as in bar 19 in the 3rd trombone. In bar 21 ff in the three trombones, as in the French horns, while in bar 25 the contrary has been done, ie, add the pp which appears in the trombones to the French horns. Other additions of this type occur in bars 48, 84, 85, 88, 121, 122, 127-130, 135-138, 153, 163, 165, 171, 183 and 199-200, in which the markings in the voices and instruments have been unified. In bar 110, Tempo, since it is preceded by a pause. In bar 126, crescendo markings to reach the ff in bar 128, as in bar 134. From bar 153 onwards, accents have been placed on instruments and voices where they were not present, once again, in accordance with the rest of the orchestra. In bars 208 and 210 sforzando piano have been introduced in the successive 1st and 2nd trumpet entries so as to emphasize the voice.
No. 2: Dynamic and expression markings have been unified throughout the number. In bar 42 a general pause, a caesura and a tenuto have been added, reverting to tempo in bar 43, since both the music and the text seem to require that moment of suspense before tackling the following phrase. Exactly the same process occurs in bars 91-92.
No. 3: The remarks made above regarding dynamic and expression markings are also valid for this duet between La Tempranica and D. Luis. Notwithstanding, some additions have been made which further emphasize that rich expressivity, full of contrasts. Among others, it is worth mentioning the general pause on the high Ab in the soprano in bar 57, which puts an end to a question María seems to want to leave hanging in the air, before leading into an intimate and hesitant Lento.
Giménez has set up a number exuding lyricism, which brings the character’s feelings to the foreground, a song which is sometimes whispered, sometimes a strong lament, where the impetus of love and the tearing apart of enmity come to life.
No. 4: In bar 61 the accents in the woodwinds and brass have been added to the strings, and in bar 63 they have been added to the whole orchestra since this is a repetition of the former. The same has been done in bars 69 and 71. In bars 76 and 77, mf in the successive instrumental entries where the melody changes. In bar 102, decrescendo to the p in bar 103, with which a progressive increase in the sonority begins until the ff in bar 111. In bar 302, a general pause on the first beat of the bar, briefly suspending that very beautiful melody which is about to end.
No. 5: In bar 64, crescendo in accordance with the ascending line of the theme of the first two beats, reaching ff on the third, with the beginning of a series of exclamations which is maintained until bar 73. In bar 193, an accent, which was previously only present in the first violins, has been added to all the instruments. In bars 416 and 418 decrescendos have been added, closing in the clarinets, first and second violins and violas, which we consider make the melodic theme more expressive and rhythmic. The same has been done in bars 449 and 457, as well as in bars 463-481.
As stated above, bars 482-698 contain the so-called Tiempo de Vals which, according to the libretto, begins in the first scene of the third tableau. In the score, the music is heard uninterruptedly, so the storyline of both tableaus doesn’t lose continuity. In my opinion, and from the point of view of the sound, taking into account the brevity of the third tableau, the option of combining both tableaus should be considered.
No. 6 Finale: In bars 8-10 hairpins have been incorporated to support the musical discourse. In bar 13 a p has been added to La Tempranica’s entrance, the violas and the cellos, as well as in bar 17 at the second violin entrance. Finally, a crescendo marking opening in bar 28 flows into the brilliant final chord.
In addition to the sources used for the music, the following librettos have been consulted for the text of the vocal passages:
1) Julián Romea. La Tempranica, Zarzuela en un acto, divido en tres cuadros, en prosa, original. Música del maestro Gerónimo Giménez. Third edition. Madrid, Sociedad de Autores Españoles, 1907. R. Velasco. Imp., Marqués de Santa Ana, 11 Dupº. Madrid. 45 pages. Marked 887 and 1368 on the cover. Illegible stamp. Dedicated to Miguel Ramos Carrión. Property of the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores.
2) La Tempranica, Zarzuela en un acto, dividido en tres cuadros, en prosa, original de Julián Romea. Música del maestro Gerónimo Giménez. Premièred in the Teatro de la Zarzuela de Madrid on 19 September 1900. 4th edition. Madrid, R. Velasco, Imp., Marqués de Santa Ana, 11 Dupº. Telephone number 551. 1913. 41 pages. Stapled photocopies bearing the stamp of the Sociedad General de Autores de España, Madrid, Archivo Musical, c/ Fernando VI, no. 4. Property of the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores.
There are no substantial differences between the musical sources, although there are some variants between the former and the librettos. Probably the clearest of these is the “castellanización” of the words of the texts of La Tempranica, Grabié and the rest of the gypsies, who don’t lisp. Recall that the libretto specifies that in these roles s’s should be substituted by z’s, such that the words affected have been altered to read as they are given in the libretto, which is undoubtedly the manner in which the author expressly wanted them to appear. Other differences worthy of mention:
In No. 1, b. 92, both the score and parts give Mister James’s intervention as “¡Mocho suerte!”, and in bar 93 Don Mariano responds: “¡Muchas piezas!”. In both librettos, these two phrases are assigned to Mister James, who says “Mocho suerte, mochos piezas”. We have decided to respect the musical sources since, effectively, this formula functions perfectly on a musical level. In bar 114, while the libretto gives “buscar el abrigo…”, in the score all the voices sing “buscando el abrigo…”. The latter has been chosen.
No. 2: in bar 49 in the score Grabié sings a “Mal haya la araña…”, which in the libretto is “Mardita la araña…”. Both versions have been retained.
No. 4: in the basses’ intervention, bars 184-185, the score gives “ablandando el jierro duro”, while the libretto “ablandando el duro jierro”. Another difference can be found in the old gypsy’s intervention in bars 287-288 with the phrase “A la nanita nana” in the score, in contrast to the libretto’s “A la nana, nanita”. Both options have been also retained in this case.
No. 5: Here, Tempranica sings the following song, which is not included in either of the two librettos consulted: “Cuando no te veo / me güervo a los mío. / Pa mi ya no hay mundo, / ni pare ni mare / en cuanto te miro. / Se queden secos los mares / la tierra se junte al cielo / apague su luz la luna / serrano si no te quiero. / Luz tus ojitos / dan pa alumbrarme / agua tus labios / pa refrescarme / tu cuerpo al mío / le da caló / ¿a quién entonse / la vida sentraña / le debo yo?”
Presuming that the performances of the work were based more on the score than the libretto, and given the concordance between the musical sources, this melody has been interpretted as a last-minute inclusion for unknown reasons. It would seem to remain faithful to the première.
Subsequently, the protagonist sings another three tunes beginning with “¡Vargame la Vinge!…”, and in the libretto a note referring to them states literally: “These three tunes are of popular inspiration”. It is thus more than likely that this theme also pertains to the popular domain.
In bar 265-ff, the choir sings a theme which is repeated from bar 269 onwards. However, the libretto gives the following passage: “¡Arsa y toma! / ¡Toma y dale! /que están en la sierra / la güenas buñales. / ¡Arsa y dale! / ¡Dale y toma! / que tienes la cara / yentia de aroma”.
Both versions have been retained.
After analyzing all of the vocal numbers in their entirity, it is worth noting that there is some linguistic incoherency in the roles of the gypsy characters, such as, for example, the fact that at times they lisp and others no, c’s and z’s are sporadically pronounced as s’s, and the final s of a word is treated in an arbitrary manner. These minor inconsistencies are of little importance, especially since the aim of such works is not to give the audience a pure literary style, but rather present an attractive and entertaining story.
English translation by Yolanda Acker
The song and dance known as the zapateado flamenco was developed in the middle of the nineteenth century. It was generally accompanied by the guitar, and in its dance version, the feet perform a rhythmic combination of sounds alternating between heel and toe movements.
The tango flamenco is a song and dance in 2/4 or cut common timing. Although in this case it is in 6/8, the two-beat metre is still conserved, there being three notes per beat instead of two. The tango is considered one of the basic flamenco styles and its origins date back to the earliest manifestations of this art form, although the first written references didn’t appear until the middle of last century.
Numerous theories exist regarding the origins of the tango, the most popular of which being that of a Latin-American origin, and more concretely a Cuban one. It would have arrived in Cuba from Andalusia, and have been adapted to the peculiarities of the songs and dances characteristic of this country. On the other hand, other scholars, such as Manuel Ríos Ruiz, Ricardo Molina, Antonio Mairena and José Blas Vega believe the tango flamenco is a mere derivation of the logical evolutionary process of the songs and dances present since ancient times in the Andalusian tradition. The tango was at the height of its popularity during the nineteenth century, becoming a very popular form among zarzuela composers, who were frequently given to including it in their works. Notwithstanding, the tangos that appear in zarzuelas are not a literal model of the low-Andalusian tangos, all their weight resting on the text, which are more “spicy”, more intentional. It is even said that a combination of these tangos zarzueleros with the most melodious and sensorial Andalusian ones, could have been the origin of the Creole tangos known today.