Carnicer in London
A trip through the inspiring motive of the author
There was a time in Spain a real self-identified interest in creating an artistic genre, which is considered the highest exponent of the intellectual human being, the Spanish opera.
But I'm going to go a little before this.
Opera already existed, all the world knows, and here in Spain were dominated in that area by the Italians. For a musician the fact of creating music born not only of thought but of his experiences, which influence or unwilling in all aspects of composition, all his experiences.
A Constitutional Triennium late, and certainly for his liberal ideas, public and known, Ramon Carnicer i Batlle (1789-1855) and his family went into exile in Paris (1823) and then in London ( between July 1825 and March 1826 ). Years after be restored absolutism these ideals caught up with him. When convened in 1830 a competition for the position of Master of Music from the Royal Chapel and Rector of the Royal College Boys' Choir, their opponents reproached his political action. See the documentation .
On these trips became him known as conductor and composer. In the British capital, in addition to publishing several important works of his catalog as their Spanish Six Airs , Three Nocturnes , and Il sogno, terzettino Notturna , he knows to the Spanish artists that nourished at the Londoners liberal circles as the singing teacher Mariano Rodriguez de Ledesma (1779-1848), pianist Masarnau Santiago (1805-1882), the composer José Melchor Gomis (1791-1836) or the guitarist Fernando Sor (1780-1839) and Trinidad Huerta (1803-1856).
When Carnicer was in London in 1827 was commissioned to compose the national anthem of Chile through the mediation of Ambassador Mariano Egaña, with lyrics by Bernardo de Vera y Pintado (replaced in 1847 by Eusebio Lillo, less anti-Spanish).
Anyway, Mariano Egaña knew of fame of the Spanish teacher as composer of hymns and marches he addressed him. Certainly, he knowing the many talents of the exiles, lured him toward that distant country. Because among other duties, had received two orders priority, to negotiate the country's debt to England - awarded a large loan - and recruit skilled labor to the prosperity of the young nation.
According Joaquín Edwards Bello, Andrés Bello was his great-grandfather, who was then secretary of the Chilean delegation, which presented to the Ambassador Mariano Egaña to Carnicer. He adds that, thanks to this assignment, he took out to the composer of the precariousness of living. At that time, Chile already had a national anthem composed by Manuel Robles, so the request to Carnicer was allegedly an personal idea of the ambassador.
Carnicer activity in London was intensive, dedicated to teaching and composition for London society, as evidenced by the compositions dedicated, among others, Miss Montgomery and Miss De Ponthieu.
Pre-Raphaelitism in Spanish music
Admiring the famous Waterhouse's painting, I start to get interested in it until I reach my conclusions about my operatic discovery "Laura and Don Gonzalo" (date estimated on 1841) which I attributed to Ramon Carnicer.
Tennysson wrote his verses of " Lady of Shalott " in 1833, but it was an important medieval theme, about King Arthur and Camelot, which today we know more or less that are. Carnicer could compose an opera, that I place it before "Laura and Don Gonzalo" , also in century XII / XIII called "Ismalia o morte ed amore" (1838), opera in two acts, based in a Romani’s poem. The argument belongs to a beautiful novel by D'Arlincourt. One of the famous knights of the twelfth century, made a vow in the wars of Palestrina. Back in France falls in love with the beautiful Ismalia, and this love will drags him to break their oaths. The sky punishes him to convict him to not enjoy the eternal peace if Ismalia is not sacrificed in the shadow of her lover. Romani wanted to restore in Italy with this drama a show belonging to the genre that shyness on the one hand and on the other the abuse had done it away with. Such an attempt is justified with a lot of fantastic creations, as Robeto the Devil , Faustus , and others of surprising effect on the scene, because everything that the imagination can create, and the passion suggests, is the heritage of the Opera.
Thus, if we consider the choice of Carnicer of medieval themes, and in the case of Ismailia located in France, you might think thank that is prior knowledge of Paris. For this conclusion I also imagine that the medieval English literature might have helped him to consider the style of music, at least on a percentage, for the creation of a true ideal of beauty and poetic sense, historical, in the search for Fleece gold 'Spanish', the Spanish opera. It also joining the sparkling freshness of Zarzuela.
I have no doubt that Carnicer was interested in the creation of the Spanish great opera, the first in a big concept, something that would involve like the "Spain Brand", to give a current focus. He was encouraged also by intellectuals of this period who recognized his authority, as Mariano Soriano Fuertes, by instance.
"Laura and Don Gonzalo" is set in Madrid, in Middle Ages and begins with "Who is the lady?" (text initially attributed to Manuel Breton de los Herreros ) and at the end the two lovers die holding hands. His music is for me Pre-Raphaelite, both as to the details as sincerity, and culminating in the romanticism.
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