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ERNESTO HALFFTER ESCRICHE (1905-1989) 1 by Nancy Lee Harper 2005 The name of Ernesto Halffter Escriche will forever

be linked to that of his mentor, Manuel de Falla (1876-1946). Born during Spain's Silver Age 2, he lived an intense intellectual life during a special and privileged cultural epoch. His extraordinary creativity and innate happiness 3 saw him through the unusual peaks and valleys of his life. A great musician in his own right, he, like Falla, came from a mixed heritage: his being Prussian, Catalan, and Andalusian; Falla's being Valencian, Catalan, Italian, and Guatemalan. Like Falla, he had many brothers and sisters and received his first piano lessons from his mother. And like Falla, who had suffered in his youth when his father faced financial ruin, so too did Ernesto bear the impact of financial hardship imposed by his own father's misfortune. Falla and Halffter were both conductors and fine pianists. For both, contact with eminent composers in Paris had a decisive impact on their musical development and careers. Both left Spain for foreign lands because of the Spanish Civil War. 4 Eventually, they both would return Falla to be interred in the Cdiz Cathedral and Halffter to continue his own work and the legacy of Falla. Here the similarities end. Fiery Sagittarius, Falla was born in the southwest coastal city of Cdiz, while Ernesto, the earthy Capricorn, was born in mountainous Madrid. Falla, because of his ethical scruples, had to struggle with the perfection of each composition. Halffter was a natural, spontaneous talent who was enormously prolific as a composer. Halffter married and fathered a son, while Falla came close, choosing instead to adopt a filial stance with Ernesto. Falla lived an ascetic, controlled life. Halffter lived for the moment. When Falla - the leader, defender, and creator of new musical paths - was unable to finish his masterpiece, Atlntida , Halffter did, not once, but twice. The third of six children born to Ernesto Halffter Hein and Rosario Escriche Erradn, Ernesto saw the light of day on 16 January 1905 in the Spanish capital. His formal education was done at the Colegio aleman ,
T his s hor t ar t icl e or igi nal ly a ppe ar e d o n IL AMS we bs ite, w ww.ila ms . or g i n 20 05. S in ce the n, it ha s been r evise d and co rr ec ted wi th very gr a tefu l a ppr eci ati on to t he c o mpos e r s s on, Ma nue l H alffter . 2 Spai n' s Si lve r Age extend ed fr o m the en d of th e Spa nis h-A mer i ca n Wa r in 18 98 un til th e b egi nnin g of the Spa nis h C ivi l War in 1936 a nd had pr inc ipa l o bje cti ves o f cr eat ing a new mode r n nat ion al e xpre ssi on th r ough ins pir a tio n fr o m S pa in' s Gol den Age, whi ch for mus ic , w as fou nd in its gr e at po ly ph onic trea sur es o f Vi cto r ia, Mor ales, and ot hers . 3 Man uel Halffter in Erne st o Half fte r (1 905- 1 989), M si co e n dos tiempo s , edi ci n de Yo lan da Acke r y J av ier Surez- Paj are s, Gr anada , Fund acin Ar c hiv o Ma nue l d e Fal la ( J uni o-J ulio) a nd Madr id, R es ide ncia de es tu dia nte s ( Oc tubr e- Nov ie mb r e), p. 11-12. 4 Er nes t o a nd his Por t ugu es e wife , A lic ia C ma r a S a nto s, to ok up re s ide nc e i n L isbo n i n F e br uary 1 936.
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Halffter, from an early age showed a proclivity and precocity for music, especially for composition, imagining his first piano piece, El Cuco (1911) , which was eventually written down by Guillermo Gonzlez during a summer course in Segovia after having been played by the composer. 5 Even at this tender age of six he was writing small opera libretti to produce with his older brother, Rodolfo (1900-1987). The first of several song cycles ( Cinco canciones on verses of Heine) was composed in 1920. The formal presentation of his own music to the Madrid public took place on 27 March 1922 at the Hotel Ritz, when his Hungarian professor, Fernando Ember, presented works by him and by Rodolfo, which attracted the attention of music critic, Adolfo Salazar ( El Sol ). In that same year, Ernesto composed Marche joyeuse ( Marcha alegre ), which was published with a cover design by Salvador Dal. In 1923, Ernesto met Manuel de Falla, twenty-eight years his senior, who would have a profound influence on the direction of his life and work. Halffter's String Quartet, 6 Peacock Pie , 7 Tres piezas para orquesta , 8 Sonatina-Fantasia , 9 Un cuento de Leonidas Andreief , 10 Suite ancienne , 11 and Srnade, Valse, Marche/Tres piezas infantiles 12 for piano duo were composed during this memorable year. Still only a teenager, Halffter would also have his first book published, La pera contempornea en Alemania: Max von Schillings y su 'Mona Lisa' (Madrid: J. Amado, 1923). Often in a precarious financial state, Halffter was greatly aided through the intervention of Falla who would persuade Max Eschig to publish Halffter's
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Fr o m pr ivate c orr es po nde nce w ith the c o mpos e r s s on, Manue l Hal ffter, 17 No ve mb er 20 09: El c uco r e main s unp ubli sh ed. 6 Pre mier e d b y Q uint eto His pani a, Sal a Aeol ia n, Ma dr id, 7 June 192 3. 7 Pr e mie r ed by guitarr ist And rs Seg ovia , T ea tro d e la Come di a, Madr id, 17 De ce mber 19 23. 8 Acc or di ng t o the co mp os er s son , Manu el H alfft er (p r iva te c or re sp onde nc e o n 17 No ve mb er 20 09), the wo r k wa s to h ave be en pr e mi er e d by Or ques ta La ssa lle ( J os L ass al le), in V ale nc ia, S p ain, on 28 J une 1923. Ho wever, the con ce r t was c ance lle d. Manu el Halffter say s that he has neve r s ee n man us cr ip ts , c opi es, or dr a fts o f the fir s t two pie ces o f this wo r k. T he thir d piece, C an ci n de l Far o lero is pub lis he d by E dit ions Max Es chi g. 9 P re mi er e d by B udape st Qua r te t, Aso ciac in de C ult ura Mus ic al, Ma dr i d, 1 2 De ce mber 19 23. 10 A ltho ugh s ourc es i ndic at e the pre mier e o f th is wor k by the Q uinteto Hi sp ania, in Madr i d i n 1 923, Man uel Ha lfft er tha t h e never hear d thi s wor k a nd ne ver foun d a ny tr ace o f it on t he prog r a ms o f Qu inte to His pa nia i n h is fa the r s e st ate ( priva te c orr es po ndence o n 17 No ve mb er 2 009) . 11 W or k fo r w i nd i ns tr u me nts. Ma nuel Ha lfft er a ffir ms th at h e ne ver heard this w or k a nd ne ver fo un d an y tr ace of it in h is fa the r s e st ate (pr iva te c orr esp onde nce on 17 No ve mb er 2009) . 12 Ve r s ion o f Pe ac ock P ie fo r pia no, 4 ha nds , and pr e mie r ed b y pia nis ts R icar do Vie s a nd He nr i S aug uet, P ar i s, Fe b. - Ma rch, 1 926 . Alth ough a con tr over s ial i ss ue, it wo uld a ppe ar, a ccor di ng to sour ces tha t th ere w as an or c hestr al ve r s ion, En fant ine s , to ha ve be en pr e mi ere d in Paris in 19 25. Pleas e se e Ack er /Sure z- Pa raj es op .c it. , Catl ogo c r onol gic o , p . 1 18 ,

works. Falla, then at the height of his creative powers and composing his masterpieces, El retablo de maese Pedro and the Harpsichord Concerto, embarked on the creation of the chamber orquestra, Orquesta Btica de Sevilla , 13 in which he invited Halffter to be its official conductor. Falla personally taught Halffter how to conduct, giving him lessons in front of a mirror. Initially successful, Halffter's relationship with the OBC soon soured because of Halffter's lack of administrative and financial prowess. During this time, Halffter received a scholarship to continue his studies in Paris (1924) with Ravel. He continued to reveal his remarkable creative talents, composing his masterpieces Sinfonietta (dedicated to Falla 14 and which won the Spanish National Music Prize in 1925), and his ballet Sonatina . 15 Many other works followed, including his Piano Sonata (19261932) 16 music for silent films and talking films, 17 as did his marriage to the Portuguese pianist, Alicia Cmara Santos (1928). Parents of a son, Manuel (b. 29 June 1938 and so named for his godfather, Manuel de Falla), the Halffters eventually separated. Many trips ensued in the early years of their marriage due to Ernesto's professional engagements - to England, France, Argentina and Cuba - all surrounded with financial uncertainty. In yet another attempt to solve this economical dilemma, Halffter accepted a post as Director of the Superior Music Conservatory of Sevilla in the early 1930's, a post to which he was ill-suited and which left him no time in which to compose. He suffered several dry spells in his compositional career, even early in his profession. Halffter's compositional style, which was initially stamped with neoScarlattian tendencies and the delicate perfume of the Spanish renaissance, championed "spirited brilliance and 'everyday music-making' (to quote Cocteau)." 18 Naturally his early tendencies also reflected the obvious influences of Falla, Les Six , and Ravel, but retained a rugged individuality
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T he c ha mb er or c hes tr a, whic h debute d wi th Hal ffte r as offic ial c onducto r on 11 June 19 24 a t the T ea tr o Ll ore ns in S ev illa , was to be of s ol ois t ca libr e a nd had a ce ntr al mi s s ion to pe r for m a nd diffu se c onte mpo r ary Span is h mu si c. 14 W or k fo r or c he str a a nd vio lin, ' ce llo , a nd bas s s ol ois ts . Comp os ed bet wee n 1 923-1 927 a nd p r e mie r ed by Or ques ta S infn ica d e Madr id, wit h Ha lffte r c onducting, at the Tea tr o de la Z ar auela , 5 Apr il 1927 . 15 P i ano ver sion pre mi ere d by J os Cub ile s, Madr i d, 16 N ov. 192 7. C onc er t ve rs ion pr e mie r ed b y the Or qu es ta de La ssa lle, Ha lfft er co nduc ti ng, P a lacio de l a Ms ic a, Madr i d, 11 F e b. 192 8. Co mple te ve rs ion pr e mie red by T h tr e F e mi n a, P ar is 1 8 Ju ne 19 28, by Comp a ia de Ant onia Mer c "L a Ar ge nti na" with de cor by F. Be ltr a n- Mas ses . 16 Pr ei mie r e by L e opol d Que r ol i n May 193 4 in a concer t of th e As oc ia ci n de c ult ura mu s ic al de Madr i d. 17 Ha lfft er ' s fil m s c or es i ncl ude : Car men ( 1925), B am b ( 1 945) , Don Qui jote de la M anc ha ( 1947 ) , E l amor br ujo ( 1949 ) , ) , N ues tr a Se or a de F t ima ( 195 1) , His toria s de la r adi o ( 1954) , L a mu jer de ot ro , L a Pr inces a de E boli ( 1954 ), To do es pos ibl e en Gr an ada ( 195 4), V iaje ro mnt ico a Gr an ada ( 19 55) , T am bi n hay c iel o so br e el ma r ( 19 55) , L a muje r de otro ( 19 67), an d L os gallos de l a madr ugad a ( 1 970). 18 E nr iq ue Fra nc o " Er nesto H alfft er ( Es cr i che) " in T he New G ro v e ( 1980 ), vo l.8, p. 47, L ond on: Mac mi lla n.

due to his extroverted nature of "expansiveness, abandon, lucidity and grace". 19 The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) stole the dreams not only of the artists, musicians, writers, etc., of the "Generacin del '27" 20 - the Gongorists - but also of their composers, the "Grupo de los Ocho". 21 Their disbursement and displacement to various parts of the world distilled the compositional chaff in ways that would have been totally unforeseen just a decade earlier where so many of their performances and exchanges took place in Madrid's student residence, Residencia de Estudiantes ( Resi ). The cultural renaissance of Spain's Silver Age came to a cruel halt. Moving to Lisbon, Halffter's nineteen years in Portugal 22 produced many works, such as the Rapsodia portuguesa for piano and orchestra (which uses many Portuguese folksongs and bears allegiance to Falla's Noches en los jardines de Espaa and Ravel's G Major Concerto) 23; Llanto por Ricardo Vies (which strongly resembles Falla's Pour le tombeau de Paul Dukas ) 24; Seis canciones portuguesas for voice and piano 25; the incidental music for Dulcinea (1944) 26 and for Electra (1949); as well as the ballets La blanca paloma (1952-53), Fantasa galaica (1956), and El cojo enamorado (Romancillo por chuflas en nueve escenas ) (1955). Later, the scenic music of Don Juan Tenorio (1956), a chamber opera in one act entitled Entr'acte (1964), and a series of religious works inspired by Falla's Atlntida , such as Canticum in memoriam P. P. Johannem XXIII (1964), the Elegia en memoria de S. A. S. Principe Pierre de Polignac (1966), Dominus pastor meus (1967), and Gozos de Nuestra Seora (1970) would be composed. With Falla's residency in Argentina from 1939 until his death in 1946, Halffter's contact with him was by post. At the request of the Falla family in 1951, Halffter undertook the mammoth and polemical project of completing Falla's scenic cantata, Atlntida , 27 working on it from 1954I bide m . T his wide gr oup of c rea tivi ty i nclude d s uc h pe rso nal itie s as Sa lvar dor Dal, Fe der ico Ga rc a L orca, F al la, a mo ngs t o ther s, an d wa s ins tr u me nta l i n in voki ng th e i deals of t he S pa nis h r enais sai nce in th e figur e o f the p oet L us d e Gng or a ( 156 1-162 7). 21 S pa nis h c oun ter par t t o the F ren ch, le s S ix , these y ou ng Spa nis h c o mpo ser s inc lude d: R odol fo a n d Er n es to Hal ffte r, Gu st avo P it tal uga ( 1906- 197 5) , Sal vad or B ac ar iss e ( 18 98- 19 63), F er n and o R e ma ch a ( 1898 - 1984) , Ju li n Bau tis ta ( 19 01-19 61), J ua n J os Mant ec n ( 1897 - 1964) , a nd. Rosa Ga rc a As cot ( 190 2- 200 2). 22 I n F e br uary 193 6, j us t a fe w mon t hs befo r e th e on se t of t he war in Jul y, h e to ok up r esi den ce in L is bon. Fro m 1942 - 1952 he wa s mu s ic pr ofe s sor at th e In st itut o E s pa ol de L is boa. 23 Pr e mi er e d by Mar ie Anto ine tte Lv que d e Fre ita s Branco in L is bo n, 20 J une 19 40, wi th t he Orqu es ta Fil arm n ica d e Mad r id. 24 P r e mier e d by Hel ena S e C os ta, Ra dio P or tug al, s ubs idi se d by the I ns tit uto Espa ol de L is boa on 2 0 De c. 19 43. 25 S o me of t he so ngs h ave bee n a ls o o r che s tr ated. 26 Pre mie r ed at th e Te atro Na ci ona l d e Li sb oa, Jan uary , 1 944. 27 T he co ncert ve rsi on wa s pr e mie r ed on 2 4 Nove mbe r 19 61 in Barc elo na. T he scen ic ve rs ion was p r e mi er e d a t L a S ca la in Mil an on 1 8 J une 19 62, whi le the s ec ond and fin al ve rs ion wa s pr e mi er e d in L uc er n e fo r th e ce ntenary of F alla' s bir th.
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1960, with posterior further revisions, until the work was heard in its final version premiere in 1976. Eventually Halffter would become influenced by the second Viennese school and post-Webern tendencies, causing him to re-consider his own stylistic evolution, which, in some ways, resembled that of Poulenc, rather than of Falla. Nevertheless, like Falla, tonality remained supreme for him. His career is interspersed with many film scores (some of which received prizes), piano pieces, orchestral works and scenic works, as well as transcriptions or arrangements of his own works, of others, and especially of Falla's. His chamber music output, beyond the works previously cited, include Fantasa espaola (1952-53) for cello and piano; La nia de los Luceros (1959); Madrigal in three versions: for violin and piano (1969), viola and piano (1997), and guitar solo (1997); Pastorales for flute and harpsichord or piano (1973); Doredianas (1974); and diverse works for voice and/or choir and piano or orchestra. In 1963, Halffter received the Great Cross of Alfonso X the Wise. For the 25th anniversary of Falla's death, Halffter returned to Argentina, where he conducted Falla's works and visited his home in Alta Gracia, Crdoba. In 1972, Halffter was elected to the prestigious Spanish Academy of Fine Arts 28, presenting his inaugural address, "The Enduring Mastery of Manuel de Falla", on 12 June 1973. Halffter continued to compose until the end of his life. His Guitar Concerto for Narciso Yepes was premiered in Madrid on 13 December 1969. Such works as Tiento para rgano (premiere: 1973), Fanfare, Pregn e Himno (1974) 29, the pera La leyenda de Tanaus (begun in 1980), Sonata: Homenaje a Domenico Scarlatti (1985), the Nocturno otoal. Recordando a Chopin (for the Artur Rubinstein Exposition in 1987) and the Homenajes (1988) to Turina, Mompou and his recently deceased brother, Rodolfo, mark his final chapter, full of musical events from conducting works of Falla to receiving (for the second time) the Spanish National Music Prize in 1983, to teaching a summer course in Cdiz (August 1983), to being the recipient of the Fundacin Juan March's homage on 14 December 1983. At his death in 1989, several works remained uncompleted. 30 Halffter's legacy will always be linked to that of Falla. Who can forget his transcriptions for piano or for orchestra of Falla's Siete canciones populares espaolas ? Or his works reflecting the Fallaian spirit of Don Quixote? Or the inspiration drawn from Falla's religious-hued memorials reminiscent of Spain's Golden Age, especially that of the enormous legacy
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Ha lffte r was e lec te d on 10 April 1972 t o the Re al A ca de mi a de Be lla s Ar tes de S an Fer nan do, rep lac ing cell is t J ua n Rui z Cas a ux. 29 S e e a uth or 's re vie w of Hal ffter ' s wor k, wh ich was wr itte n for the inaugur a tio n of t he Sa lva dor Da l Mu se u m in Figuer as, in MLA No tes, ( Br a nde is U nive rs ity , US A) Ma rchAp r il, 200 1, p. 754-7 56. 30 See Ac ker a nd Sur ez- Pajar es for a co mp let e lis t of his wor ks, a s we ll as Acke r' s e xce lle nt bio gr ap hic al sket ch fr o m w hic h mu ch of t his in for ma tion is dr awn.

of Atlntida ? Known as Falla's "only disciple", Halffter, who dedicated so much of his life in service to Falla, died on 5 July 1989, in his native city of Madrid, the same city that had rebuked Falla but which, in turn, provided fertile ground for Halffter's creativity.

"Se la lleva ya de Espaa, que era lo que ms quera, su marido un marinero genovs. Adios, murallas natales, coronas de Andaluca! Ya lejos: Ay, cmo tiemblan los campanarios de Cdiz; Los que tanto me queran!" Marinero en tierra - Rafael Alberti -