You have recently premiered the work Galdosiana, for symphony orchestra. Tell me about this event and its reception.
I premiered it at the Tenerife Auditorium on January 1st, it was repeated on the 3rd at the Fuerteventura Conference Center and on the 4th at the Pérez Galdós Theater, performed by the Young Orchestra of the Canary Islands. I was very happy with the reception and the work that the orchestra did was fantastic, as well as that of the guest conductor, the Valencian Vicente Alberola.
Galdosiana is inspired by the correspondence between Galdós and Teodosia Gandarias, who was her last partner.
Yes, it is also inspired by another previous work of mine, Lost Paradises, which is performed this Saturday. I have tried to focus on the more human, more intimate production of Benito Pérez Galdós and not so much on the literary one and that is why I chose his letters, fragments of those he sent to Gandarias. From the letter dated July 16, 1907, I extracted a brief fragment that served as the first stimulus to visualize the melancholic atmosphere of Galdosiana: “The sea with its constant breeze, with its low singing that says everything without saying anything, helps to our organic repair. A great friend of melancholic people is the sea… ”With this I was inspired by the idea of the sea and the possible nostalgia of the islander who leaves his land.
“For ‘Galdosiana’ I have tried to focus on the most human part of the author and his longing for the sea”
But the score also focuses on the idea of love …
Yes, I focus on the author’s idea of love, not on the literary and cultured man. I like to reflect the flesh and blood Galdós, with his suffering and his passions for women and love relationships. In the letters the writer tells Gandarias: “If love did not exist, the world would be an unbearable dullness, that we live for it and we differentiate ourselves from the beasts by the spirituality of love.” In another letter he expresses: Love is life, it ennobles and rejoices. By subtracting love from life, we can understand hell ”. All these ideas, these feelings I have incorporated into my creation, they have inspired me to search for a specific sound. There is no text in the work.
What is your opinion of the famous writer’s love of music?
He was a great musician, critic, played the piano and loved Beethoven, like so many other people, but all this gives him a much broader dimension, if possible.
Tell me about the performance of your play Paraísos Perdidos today at the Guiniguada Theater …
The Hensel trio, made up of Canarian violin, cello and piano performers, has scheduled a concert of works created by women and has decided to include Paraísos Perdidos that has already existed since 2019 and has been played on several occasions. This composition was inspired by the painting of the artist Antonio Padrón and is based on the idea of the Canarian emigrant who leaves his land behind. Through that idea I linked her to Galdosiana. It has a very melancholic and nostalgic character. Through the melodies I try to express that feeling of the islander who finds himself in the need to abandon and lose his paradise. Hence the title. The music also reflects certain features of Canarian folklore. For example, it is based on the melodic motif of the arrorró. It has percussive elements that are played on the cello, something not characteristic of this instrument, and an attempt is made to imitate the sound of the chácaras and the gomero drum, which gives a feeling of the island and of mixing with traditional folklore.
“Men should also participate in spreading the works of women, not just us”
What do you think of the current boom in music made by contemporary women and the recovery of many other historical ones?
I am much more interested in the recovery of the historical ones because women today have it much easier and are known more in any artistic field. You always have to see them in comparison with those of the 19th, 18th and older centuries, which had no opportunities. An important effort is currently being made to recover his works. The trouble is that it is always the women themselves who are concerned with disseminating and promoting the female repertoire, as is the case with this concert on Saturday in which three girls have taken care to create a full program of women’s works. It would be necessary for men to also participate and normalize the presence of these repertoires in the usual concert programs. Nowadays it is not so problematic for women to make themselves known because the production can be disseminated through the Internet, through social networks.
Do you consider yourself an activist in the musical field of feminist demand?
I do not define myself that way, but I try to raise awareness in the area of equality at the Conservatory, where I am a teacher, seeking to publicize the works of women in different historical periods, scores that can be very interesting and, however, unknown, on many occasions by most student and professional musicians, even.
What is your opinion of the composers of the past in the Canary Islands and the current ones?
In the Canary Islands there are very few known. The first began at the end of the 19th century and during the 20th and they lacked much production. Mainly, they were performers and maybe singers, so they made some melodies that were played in their cultural circles. Among the most recognized are: Teresa Saurin Gras (1834-1923), who was the first to be heard of in the Islands, from La Laguna and from French parents; Fermina Enríquez (1870-1949) and Carmen Martinón Navarro (1877-1947), both born in Gran Canaria; and Emma Martínez de la Torre Shelton (1889-1980), born in Havana, but who moved to live in Tenerife. Among the current ones we can mention: Dori Díaz Jerez, Nisamar Díaz, Cecilia Díaz Pestano, María Eugenia León, Elisabet Curbelo and Celia Rivero, among many others who are currently developing their creative work professionally, who are training in the Archipelago or who have gone to do it to different cities of the world.
And at the European level?
Yes, there are many very interesting people who have created very good music. Among them come to mind: Louise Farrenc (1804-1875); Elfrida Andrée (1841-1929); Ethel Smyth (1858-1944); Amy Beach (1867-1944); and Lili Boulanger (1893-1918).