Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses

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    Aspects of the creative process in Manuel de Falla's El retablo Maese Pedro and Concerto
    Manuel de Falla's output during the 1920s was a product of his conscious identification with elements of the Parisian avant-garde in order to create universal manifestations of Spanish musical nationalism. These ideals were pursued in El retablo de Maese Pedro (1918-23) and the Concerto (1923-26), works which were enthusiastically received in certain modernist circles despite their more limited appeal with the broader public. The extended period of gestation for both works allowed Falla to explore an ever increasing range of contemporary, historical and folk musical models, literary and historical sources, and religious, philosophical and aesthetic considerations, in an attempt to realise his aims. To a greater extent than in his earlier works, El retablo and the Concerto reflect Falla's preoccupation with innovation and resulted from a more pronounced interdependence of poetic, evocative, structural and technical parameters. His attempts to theorise his procedures at this time, however, unsystematic, were also symptomatic of an increasingly conscious, analytical, synthetic and at times articulated approach to composition. Through a detailed study of the material held at the Archivo Manuel de Falla, this dissertation examines the ideas that Falla explored and brought to the composition of El retablo and the Concerto, and attempts to contextualise them within his aesthetic, cultural and personal framework. The conception and evolution of these works is outlined and this discussion is informed by an examination of the musical and extra-musical sources studied by Falla, biographical documentation of the composer and his works, and reference to compositional sketch material. While El retablo and the Concerto formed the principal focus of his creative activity between 1919 and 1926, his overall literary and compositional activity throughout this period is taken into consideration as it relates to the two works in question. The evolution of his musical language during this period is also examined in relation to contemporary developments within his artistic milieu, and through an overview of stylistic precursors to this new style in Falla's own output to 1919.