Saturday, 18 January 2014

La Paloma

In the polyphonic department of La Fabrique des Arts I have a few adult beginners to teach each week. I usually find that what adults lack in the sponge-like ability to soak up new skills they make up for in sheer determination. I think it takes tremendous courage to take up the piano in your 40s or 50s, and even more to get up on stage and take on the shiny black beast, as they did today for an audition (informal concert for students, theirs families and the professeurs). One of my students played, very beautifully, a piece by Howard Skempton from Spectrum 2, Thalia Myers' anthology of piano miniatures. Marie-Claire chose to play La Paloma.

La Paloma actually isn't a Mexican or Cuban folksong but was written by a Basque, Sebastián Yradier in 1863, and is probably one of most well-known tunes in the world, existing in more than 1000 different versions by various artists, according to Wikipedia. That's even more than "Summertime"! Another famous tune from the pen of Monsieur Yradier is El Arreglito, better known as the habanera or L'amour est un oiseau rebelle, one of the most identifiable bits of Carmen. Bizet thought he was appropriating a folksong, therefore a melody in the public domain, but as he discovered later it was not the case. He did however graciously agree to pay royalties for its use.

A while ago I arranged La Paloma for the Wallie Wolfgruber Dance Company (NYC) for a film they commissioned from Alvin Booth (see very first post in this blog) called A Hands-on Affair, depicting the courtship and eventual happy union of two gold-painted hands...
So here is, possibly for the 1001st, 1002nd and 1003rd times....

No comments:

Post a Comment