Merritts Hill Music

Merritts Hill Music

The Miller's Dance from "The Three-Cornered Hat"

Manuel de Falla

Category: 10-piece Brass

Duration: 2' 35"

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Manuel de Falla once remarked, upon hearing one of Ravel’s colour pieces, “I wish I could write music that sounded as Spanish as that” – but he need not have worried.

The ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev became acquainted with his music some time around 1917 while on a visit to Spain, and he decided to commission a work for his Ballets Russes based on El Sombrero de Tres Picos by the 19th c. novelist Pedro Antonio de Alarcón. At the composer’s suggestion, they embarked on a tour of Andalusia for research purposes (despite the fact that Falla had recently completed a pantomime score on the same theme, so that he pretty much recycled the material that had caught Diaghilev’s attention in the first place!).

The combined pressures of the First World War and the Russian Revolution obliged the Ballet Russes to carry on business in Spain, Switzerland and North and South America, before arriving in London in 1918, where The Three-Cornered Hat was first performed at the Alhambra Theatre the following year, with sets and costumes by Picasso.

The Miller’s Dance is a farruca, a type of flamenco dance. In the introduction Falla firmly establishes the tonality of G (Phrygian mode) - and then starts the dance proper in E! (imitating the voicing of a guitar). The present arrangement preserves the original horn solo (helpfully cued in all the parts that need to follow it), and gives the subsequent cor anglais cadenza to a bass trumpet (failing which a euphonium or baritone could be used, or even a plain old trumpet).

(No para la venta en España)