It is exactly a year since this series of articles began, and we have been ‘sounding off’ – and on, often several times a week, ever since. This is the seventy first of the series. At the beginning it was all about Spain, its music, composers, artistes and orchestras . Then the Euroresidentes team suggested we move on to the wider musical scene which we did and then, again, I responded to their suggestion that I include some personal reminisces and accounts of more recent current concert-going, which is where we are now.
Music is not exclusive to one place and never purely nationalistic. Its horizons are as broad as the imagination of the people who compose it. Moreover composers are natural borrowers, and musicologists (I am not one) enjoy detecting the interaction of various influences. But as we have seen, there is something distinctive that can be associated with not only the tradition in which a composer writes, but also the country from which they originate.
So Debussy could never be anything other than French and Elgar’s ‘Enigma Variations’ arise from England’s Malvern Hills and the symphonies of the Finnish master, Sibelius, have their sound-scape firmly in that distinctive country of winter snow and summer flowers.
And only Albeniz could compose ‘Iberia’.
It was all new to me, the development of Spanish music with its strong regional basis. But the sound and the story were so evocative of a country for which I have great affection but have so much still to discover, that this little journey became for me another way of understanding the peninsula and its people, and to celebrate both.
I hope that may be true for others who have shared it.