Musical Journey: Spain
The Places: The musical tour of Spain starts at the present capital, Madrid, the principal city of Castile. From Madrid it is not too far to the plains of La Mancha, a region always remembered for it's association with the great hero of Miguel Cervantes, Don Quijote de la Mancha, whose windmills, mistaken by him for giants, form a characteristic element in the landscape. The varied history of Spain is seen in the city of Cordoba, once capital of a Moorish kingdom, and the gardens of the Alcazar of the Christian Kings. The Music: The music chosen for the tour of Spain may be characteristically Spanish in it's rhythms and turns of melody, but is all the work of foreigners, two of the composers, Chabrier and Massenet, French, and two of them, Glinka and Rimsky-Korsakov, Russian. For France, geographically adjacent to Spain, there was an obvious connection with Spain, which continued to exercise a certain fascination over it's neighbor. Russian composers in the 19th century embarked on the creation of a new national music, but at the same time drew on remoter countries for inspiration, whether on the different regions of the vast Russian Empire or still further afield.