04 Sep UNPUBLISHED CORRESPONDENCE FROM MANUEL DE FALLA TO MIGUEL LLOBET
On Solera Flamenca we have acquired a handwritten unpublished letter, from Manuel de Falla to Miguel Llobet. This letter which reveals very interesting historical details, with a priceless cultural value. The letter shown here was acquired from a retired antique dealer, who had a suitcase full of postcards and letters which he used to find into old books. He kept it, as he found it really surprising to see the street in Barcelona it was addressed to (his grandfather, as a young man, used to live there). Recently he noticed another detail: Manuel de Falla´s signature. Some light was thus shed on his centenary.
A mourning envelope and mourning letter, as well, with the addressee: Mr Miguel Llobet, 4 bis Regomir. Barcelona. Addresser: Falla. 119 Lagasca, Madrid. Postmark: 24. AGO. 20 MADRID on two ten-cent medallion-like stamps of Alfonso XIII:
Madrid 24 August (1)920
My dear friend,
I very much appreciate the shipment of the piece and the instructions about it, which I will in the copy I am sending to Paris. I must say you have brilliantly solved all the doubts I had. (Fragment) of the 22 beat, as well as the interpretation of the (harmonic G) of the Soirée beats. Regarding beat 61, it should be G, the same as the first time. Thank you so much for what you say to me about the fragment by the time it is finally published, separately and properly. It is me who really regards you as a true and fine human being, as you do know how much I admire you and your art. So much joy was brought to me from your letter that I felt encouraged to continue composing for guitar, and not one, but two pieces I am already writing for you. I really bear in mind everything you have said to me, and very soon I shall send you some more details as regards the pieces I am writing so full of enthusiasm. The same enthusiasm I feel when the time comes closer to hear your Homenaje. Tombeau´s full collection will be published in a few months on the first issue of the Revue Musicále, published by Henry Prunières. Rest assured, I will send it to you. My warmest regards to your lady, and an affectionate hug for you, with all my friendship and admiration.
Manuel de Falla
Thanks in advance for Lambert´s address. I will send you my copy of Homenaje.
We know Llobet´s reply through the letters preserved:
I can´t believe it! I am so happy to read you are composing two more works for guitar!! Make sure you write to me, should you have any doubts.
Letter from Miguel Llobet to Falla, 27 August 1920 (Manuel de Falla Archive).
After Debussy´s death, on 25 March 1918, Henry Prunières invited Falla, through a letter written on 4 February 1920, to collaborate in the commemorative issue of Revue Musicále, a magazine in which he was the editor. Even though Prunières had asked him for an article, Falla preferred to reply with a musical piece, “Homenaje”, although he finally did send the article, as well.
The composition of Homenaje is dated by Falla himself (Granada, 25 July – 8 August 1920), titled “Hommaje à Debussy”; the handwritten copy Llobet sent to Falla is dated in Barcelona, on 20 August 1920, titled “Pour Le Tombeau de Debussy – Homenaje (para guitarra)”.
“Most appreciated I am for the shipment of the piece and…”
We can say in advance we do not know anything whatsoever about the existence of these two works Falla promised Llobet. Nevertheless, this is not the crux of the matter; this letter reveals unpublished details of how Homenaje came to life:
“… and to the beautiful advice provided about it, which of course I have used in the copy I am sending to Paris…”
He advice Falla mentions in the first lines oh fis letter are the following:
• On the first page, Falla is really thankful to Llobet for solving doubts he had about beat 22, as well as the interpretation of the two harmonics Gs in “La soirée dans Grenade” of Estampes de Debussy in beats 63 and 65 of the initial handwritten piece:
“… I must say you have brilliantly solved all the doubts I had. (Fragment) of the 22 beat, as well as the interpretation of the (harmonic G) of the Soirée beats”.
• At the beginning of the second page of the letter, Falla shows a divergence between his handwritten letter and Llobet´s copy, saying that at the beginning of beat 14, as well as in beat 61, there should be a G, instead of an A. Therefore, the original intention of the composer was to make it a G, the A thus being a mistake.
“Regarding beat 61, it should be G, the same as the first time”.
As it was said before, we do not know of the existence of these two pieces promised by Falla, even though he did say he was working on them:
“… So much joy was brought to me from your letter that I felt encouraged to continue composing for guitar, and not one, but two pieces I am already writing for you”.
In the next line, the writer insists on him writing these pieces, considering the guitarist´s indications:
“… I really bear in mind everything you have said to me, and very soon I shall send you some more details as regards the pieces I am writing so full of enthusiasm. The same enthusiasm I feel when the time comes closer to hear your Homenaje”.
The publishing of Homenaje finally appears on the second issue of the Revue Musicále, and not the first, as Falla had planned in December 1920:
“… Tombeau´s full collection will be published in a few months on the first issue of the Revue Musicále, published by Henry Prunières”
The premiere for guitar by Llobet took place in Teatro Principal de Burgos, on 13 February 1921.
Santiago Míguez de la Rosa, 29 August 2020