By Frédéric Chopin, ed. Alfred Cortot
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No, it’s a tragedy,” he replied, and, seeing my confusion, he added, “This won’t be an opera, my friend. Here in Spain, we call some plays with music “zarzuelas,” in which spoken discourse is interpolated with arias, or with duos and choruses; which mixture—should it be condemned—will find its excuse in our natural impatience. ” “Oh yes; but with some changes to suit our taste. ” Iriarte pointed out a gentleman seated in front of us on the right side of the tertulia. 28 However, no sooner had he begun his speech then two disadvantages made themselves obvious, and these persisted for the entire evening.
They had their own voices and gestures, “imitated with liveliness and energy,” never twice the same. Chapter 4 is an examination of one particular figure from this living portrait gallery who frequently lurked in the tonadillas, that of the bandolero, or bandit. Strictly speaking, he was an outsider to the streets of the city, inhabiting the margins of Spain both geographically and socially. His marginality enabled him to embody the preoccupations of his urban countrymen about identity, especially as it was articulated through belonging.
I will not say anything on this theme today, for it would make me take up too much space; but I will say that if the musical ideal to which it tended were the excessive partisanship of old, we would be the last to desire a resurrection of that epoch, now a century in the past. The idea of “excessive partisanship” had a dire resonance in Madrid in 1925, when Salazar wrote these words. 31 If my own manages to be more open and perhaps more nuanced than Subirá’s, it is not because of any superiority in my scholarship or my thinking; it is due to the fact of my having been born eighty years after him.
12 Études op. 25 by Frédéric Chopin, ed. Alfred Cortot