Joaquin Turina

Manuel de Falla, was effectively a member of the second generation of Romantic Spanish composers, as was Joaquin Turina (1882-1949). Both composers looked back to what may be called the first generation – Enrique Granados (1867-1916) and Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909).

Turina was born in Seville and his first musical studies were in the Andalusian capital and then later in Madrid. From 1905 to 1914 he lived in Paris, studying under the pianist and composer Moszkowski and the French compser d’Indy. He became friends with Debussy and Ravel, and his music marks this interaction between the two cultures that is so characteristic of the period and which annoyed some of the musical establishment in Spain. In fact, although his earlier music could be described as modernistic, his compositions are clearly influenced by Andalusian popular sources.

I have a record in the Naxos Spanish Classics series which includes his Sinfonia sevillana, a robust and lively work with typical Hispanic rhythms and energy(8.

555955).* Performed by the Castile and Leon Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Max Bragado Darman, the sound is perhaps a little brittle, but there is some lovely playing, especially by the woodwind. Winning the Gran Casino de San Sebastian prize in 1921, it’s a splendid work, with rich orchestration typical also of the other items on this disc.

Turina later became professor of composition at the Madrid Conservatory and music critic for the periodical El debate, frequently conducting his music throughout Spain and giving virtuoso pianoforte concerts to wide acclaim.

*(Naxos have also recorded his piano trios and a disc of some of his many piano works.)