Monday, April 24, 2006

Chabrier's España

Playing on the iPod is Emmanuel Chabrier's colourful and lively España (the original piano version of it; the most famous version is the orchestral).

In 1882 Chabrier visited Spain with his wife and family, and was enchanted by the energy of Iberian music. He described the dancers at the café concerts to a friend: "If you could see them wiggle, unjoint their hips, contort, I believe you would not want to get away! At Malaga I was compelled to take my wife away…" Returning to Paris, he promised the conductor Charles Lamoureux he would write a Spanish-themed piece that would cause audience members to leap up and embrace each other. Though the first performance in 1883 may not have ended in a group hug, the piece did catch fire with the public, and its themes were so memorable that the main melody was a hit again 73 years later in a 1956 ditty called "Hot Diggity" (with the chorus: "oh hot diggity, dog ziggity, boom what you do to me").


Gert said...

Last year my then 8-year old nephew was disgruntled that I was having a fair few trips abroad.

He tried to frighten me with all the bad things that could happen. For Spain all he could come up with was "You'll be frightened by some Flamenco dancers". Mind you, his leprachauns in Ireland were equally non-scary!

Claudia said...

Bad things can happen anywhere in the world, even in the UK: the only time I witnessed a friend being physically and gratuitously assaulted in the street was in London (and I've travelled around). We were just calmly walking down Oxford Street after supper on a Saturday night when some bloke walked past us and punched him quite hard in the stomach. He walked on and, after recovering from the shock, so did we. Instead of a punch it could have been a knive.