This concert programme centres around Spanish and Latin American folklore – without being folkloristic. Instead, the three works performed show how a country’s traditional music can serve as a source of inspiration and can be integrated into an individual composer’s personal style in the most fortunate of ways. In the early 20th century the music of Spain exerted a great fascination on France’s composers, including Claude Debussy. In the second part of his three-part orchestral work Iberia he describes an imagined Spain, conjuring up associations with balmy Mediterranean summer nights and exuberant fairs.
The Spanish composer Manuel de Falla, on the other hand, trained in composition with France’s musical avant-garde, and this played a significant role in developing his own musical language. This is proven by his ballet El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-Cornered Hat), in which the composer makes use of typical Spanish dance forms like the fandango and the seguidilla, while at the same time, however, orienting himself stylistically towards French models in his orchestral colours. The brilliant and rousing piece helped de Falla achieve his international breakthrough.
The music of the Argentinian Alberto Ginastera is also characterized by a successful combination of rhythms and melodies of Latin America and avant-garde compositional techniques. During his studies in the USA, the composer was commissioned to write a harp concerto by Edna Philips, the harpist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. At this concert it is interpreted by Marie-Pierre Langlamet, harpist with the Berliner Philharmoniker. The Spaniard Juanjo Mena conducts, giving his debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker. He was a student of Sergiu Celibidache and currently heads up the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester. Raquel Lojendio, who sings the soprano part in El sombrero de tres picos, also appears in Philharmoniker concerts for the first time.