Federico García Lorca

Canciones Españolas Antiquas, for voice & piano

    Description by "Blue" Gene Tyranny

    Although he personally collected many songs from singers throughout Spain in the spirit of folklorism, as well as owned Renaissance songbooks in old and modern editions, Garcia Lorca, acting like a contemporary minstrel, refused to notate his (often surprising) harmonizations and accompaniments for these tunes. However, he did record many of them with vocalist La Argentinita, and 12 of these performances were anonymously transcribed and published by the Union Musical Española in 1961.

    1. "Anda, Jaleo" (Go, Make A Row) is in G minor in a 3/8 Allegretto. The verse gradually creates excitement with its offbeat rhythms, and then the rousing chorus really incites the crowd to "...go to the limits and shoot off your guns." Quickly passing dissonant clashes fit well in the timbre and spirit, and there are plenty of those spicy moments.

    2. "Los Cuatro Muleros" (The Four Mules) is a bright major key tune in 3/8 over a rhythmic pedal point that for some reason perfectly suggests the stubbornness of a mule.

    3. "Las Tres Hojas" (The Three Leaves) features a descending major key melody in a wonderfully skipping rhythm that imitates the spiralling descent of a leaf.

    4. "Los Mozos de Monleon" (The Youths of Monleon) is a simple short tune with spoken recitations describing the young men running from the bulls and figuring what is really bad.

    5. "Las Morillas de Jaén (Cancion popular del siglo XV)" (The Morels of Jaén, popular song of the fifteenth century) is in a quasi-open rhythm. Following guitar-like arpeggios, the singer declares "there are three morels that I love in Jaén: Axa and Fátima and Marién." The tune, in a sultry Andalusian (Phrygian) mode, is supplied with wonderful impressionist harmonies.

    6. "Sevillanas del Siglo XVIII" (Sevillanas of the eighteenth century) is a brightly rhythmical paean in praise of Seville over basic major I, V, IV chords.

    7. "El Cafe de Chinitas" (The Chinese Cafe) is wonderful Andalusian tune in an elastic rhythm.

    8. "Nana de Sevilla" (Nana of Seville) is somewhat similar to #7, but with some sensuous whole-tone chords.

    9. "Los Pelegrinitos" (The Dangerous Ones) is in three parts -- an impressionist, rhythmic instrumental over a pedal point, a bright village tune, and a strange minor key passage with laconic descriptions of various people.

    10. "Zorongo" (Zorongo) is a dance with a splendid twisting rhythm. "He has blue eyes, and the corazoncillo [a variety of St. John's wort] equal to the crest of fire."

    11. "Romance de Don Boyso" (Don Boyso's Romance) is a touching love story in a rubato style.

    12. "Los Reyes de la Baraja" (The Kings of the Card Deck) is in a joyous triple meter. "If your mother wants a king, the deck has four: king of gold coins, king of cups, king of swords, king of clubs."


    1. Anda, jaleo
    2. Los cuatro muleros
    3. Las tres hojas
    4. Los mozos de Monleón
    5. Las morillas de Jaén
    6. Sevillanas del siglo 18
    7. El café de Chinitas
    8. Nana de Sevilla
    9. Los pelegrinitos
    10. Zorongo
    11. Romance de Don Boiso
    12. Los reyes de la baraja
    13. La tarara

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    DYNCDS 7804
    BCD 9491
    Harmonia Mundi
    HMC 902246
    Angel Records / EMI Classics
    Deutsche Grammophon