Manuel de Falla

El Amor brujo, ballet for mezzo-soprano & orchestra in 1 act, G. 68 (revised version)

    Description by Robert Cummings

    There has been an enormous amount of confusion about the various versions of Manuel de Falla's ballet El amor brujo, even down to the translation of the title, which properly is "Love the Magician." Falla composed the work in 1914-1915, using a story by María and Gregorio Martinez-Sierra about a young Gypsy woman, Candelas, who wins back her indifferent lover's affections, not with magic (which she tries), but with the magic of love. Hence, "Love the Magician." In 1916, Falla arranged a rendition of the work for sextet and small orchestra. The following year, he made a concert version of the work, also for small orchestra. Later, he fashioned a piano suite from it and finally, a second ballet version (1925) that features expanded orchestration, elimination of the narration, small cuts and plot changes, and a different order to the numbers. It is this second version of El amor brujo that is the most popular today, both in concert halls and recording studios. Each rendition has two scenes and features a mezzo-soprano soloist. The most immediately obvious difference to the listener between the two ballet versions lies in the scoring: the original was written for 14 instruments only, while the latter is scored for a more standard-sized ensemble. Their lengths vary considerably, too, with the original lasting 10 to 15 minutes longer. The discarding of the narration accounts in part for the reduction in length, but not all since much of it is spoken during instrumental sections. Perhaps the most noticeable difference in the re-arrangement of the numbers comes with the appearance of the work's most-famous theme, that of the Ritual Fire Dance. It is first heard fourth in the original, "Dance at the End of the Day," whereas the fourth number in the later version is the very brief "The Apparition." This is followed by the "Dance of Terror," neither of which contains that theme, though the eighth does. Another example of Falla's re-arrangement of the music is the shifting of "Song of Love's Sorrow" from the second in the original, to the third number in the second ballet version. There are, of course, further differences in the order of the numbers, as well as slightly different titles to some of them, but on the whole the work remains in spirit quite the same in both versions. Some listeners will be distracted by the narration, because it often intrudes on the music: the aforementioned No. 4 in the original ballet version, for instance, features narration at the beginning of the number, though it is only very brief. Others will want it to enhance the dramatic elements in the story and will also favor the more delicate scoring of the original.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Introducción y escena
    2. En la cueva (La noche)
    3. Canción del amor dolido
    4. El aparecido
    5. Danza del terror
    6. El círculo mágico (Romance del pescador)
    7. A medianoche (Los sortilegios)
    8. Danza ritual del fuego (para ahuyentar los malos espíritus)
    9. Escena
    10. Canción del fuego fatuo
    11. Pantomima
    12. Danza del juego de amor
    13. Final (Las campanas del amanecer)

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 La Dolce Volta LDV 27
    2016 Dorian Sono Luminus DSL 90914
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796018
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4794306
    2013 Praga DSD 350090
    2011 Decca
    2010 Decca 4800077
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 EMI Classics
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099923759
    2009 Denon Records
    2008 Lim 23
    2008 EMI Music Distribution 5675872
    2007 Regis Records 1271
    2007 RCA Red Seal 704607
    2006 Arte Nova 563550
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon
    2005 Naxos 6110018
    2005 Naxos 5110018
    2005 Naxos 8557800
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 000448202
    2005 Chandos Classics 10232
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 477 5494
    2004 NM Classics 97018
    2004 Brilliant 6734
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 62866
    2003 EMI Classics
    2002 EMI Music Distribution 75097
    2002 Egrem 232
    2001 Opera D'Oro 1307
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 67590
    2000 BBC Music 4404
    2000 Decca 466991
    2000 Dutton Laboratories 9705
    2000 RTVE Classics 65030
    2000 Sony Classical 89291
    2000 BBC Music 4402
    1999 London 448601
    1999 London 433 908-2DF2
    1999 Pearl 9276
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 447398
    1999 BBC Music 4005
    1999 Decca 466 128-2DF2
    1998 Montilla / Orfeon 13257
    1998 Tuxedo Music 1010
    1998 Ars Musici AM-1244
    1998 Lys 148
    1997 Point 267133
    1996 Classical Collector 150112
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 569305-2
    1996 Deutsche Grammophon 447414
    1995 Carlton 2028
    1995 Dorian DOR90210
    1995 Seraphim UK 568532
    1995 RCA 09026 62586-2
    1994 Teldec 90852
    1993 Sony Music Distribution 47613
    1993 Delos DE3144
    1993 EMI Music Distribution 64746
    1992 Chandos 8457
    1992 Harmonia Mundi 905213
    1992 Erato 45481
    1991 London 430703
    CBS Records 44721
    Vox 8765
    Harmonia Mundi 290820
    MCA 10481
    Medici Arts 25
    London / London 410008
    Music & Arts 770
    Memories 4464
    Ades 13283
    All Russia
    RCA 5404