The Iberian musical landscape as imagined by Falla, Gerhard and Ravel

This programme of musical "postcards" from across the Iberian peninsula is brought to us by the charismatic conductor Josep Pons, well known for his staunch defence of composers' intentions and his unique flair for creating a hallmark sound. Each evokes some memorable instance in which a composer chose to write flamenco dance music or inserted flamenco references into their work. The inclusion of the dances from Don Quixote by Robert Gerhard, the Catalan composer from Valls, reflects the Liceu's desire to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death. Gerhard, despite the international influence he exerted, is still largely unknown to our own audiences.

We also pay tribute to another distinguished Catalan musician: Joan Guinjoan, born in Riudoms, who died in 2019. Guinjoan described his own career as that of a composer from Mare Nostrum who possessed a Cartesian mentality. He worked in a variety of idioms, achieving a characteristic synthesis of different musical cultures. And towering above the composers is the figure of the great bailaora, Carmen Amaya. Born in the Somorrostro district of Barcelona over a century ago, she revolutionized the art of flamenco with a style she learnt on the streets. The success she scored on her first appearance at the Barcelona restaurant Les Set Portes at the tender age of six was later repeated in Paris and opened the doors of the world's most illustrious venues to her.

Two works by Manuel de Falla round off the programme, with its unmistakable focus on dance. One is El sombrero de tres picos, commissioned by Sergei Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes to be staged in London in 1919, with sets and costumes by Pablo Picasso and Ernest Ansermet conducting. The other is the 1916 version of El amor brujo, a ballet-pantomime first performed by Pastora Imperio which tells the tale of the gypsy Candelas, who is haunted by a ghost, while her lover Carmelo struggles to escape from a terrible curse.  This concert defies categorization and, under the baton of Josep Pons, takes us into a new dimension.

  • Approximate running time tbc

Artistic profile

Estrella Morente, cantaora
Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu
Josep Pons


November 2020

7Saturday18:00Turn FCancelled

Information of Interest


R. Gerhard

M. de Falla
El sombrero de tres picos

J. Guinjoan
Homenaje a Carmen Amaya

M. de Falla
El amor brujo