Musical Journey: Spain
The Places: The tour starts in the countryside near Sancti Petri, and shows other aspects of the fertile landscape of Andalusia, leading to the historic hillside town of Medina-Sidonia, seat of the Guzman family, whose Duke led the Spanish Armada in 1588. The resort of Sitges in Catalonia is followed by the great Cathedral of Seville, reputedly the largest Gothic church in the world, and towns that reflect the Moorish past of this region of Spain. The Music: The French composer Maurice Ravel inherited from his mother, of Basque origin, a strong interest in Spain. Spanish elements influence much of his music including the Rapsodie espagnole, completed in 1908, Ravel's first major orchestral work and a demonstration of his originality and of his gifts as an orchestrator. The music moves from the stillness of night to two characteristic Spanish dances and a final Spanish fiesta. Isaac Alb+-niz enjoyed a double career, winning an international reputation as a virtuoso pianist and doing much to establish Spanish music in a form acceptable at home and abroad. He divided the later years of his life, a period of deteriorating health, between Paris, Barcelona and Nice, years which saw the composition of his Iberia.