Tárrega's newly-discovered 'Serenata Española'

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amade
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Re: Tárrega's newly-discovered 'Serenata Española'

Post by amade » Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:38 pm

I'd like to point out two editorial choices made by Señor Huedo in his splendid edition: 1) The last note in bar 22 is clearly an F sharp in the manuscript. It has been changed to G, for greater consistency (when the phrase returns in the last segment, the tremolo passage at the end, it has the G). However, the F sharp works musically and assuming a scribal error by Manuela Vázquez-Barros is a leap. While Señor Huedo gives the original in his editorial notes (along with his reasoning), methinks it would be have better to provide this information in a footnote in the score with an alternate measure above the bar 22, as he does for bars 127-129.

2) Bars 127-129 seem more problematic to me. The manuscript indicates in an empty measure "al compas 1, 2, 3 y segue" on folio 50r. This indicates that the performer should play the material marked 1, 2, 3 in this area of the score. This material is found at the top of the page, namely bars 111-113, where they are clearly marked "1, 2, 3" in pencil. Yet Señor Huedo opts for bars 19-21, the opening of the serenata. There is no evidence for this choice. It is a personal preference of the editor. To his credit he gives the alternative bars 111-113 in the score and in the critical notes. However, bar 111 includes the musical indication "bis" written below in ink, meaning "twice. "Señor Huedo observes this duplication of bar 111 in his edition (bars 111-112). But for bars 127-129, his alternative does not include the repetition of bar 111. He writes that the notation indicates bar 111 is not repeated here. But this is simply not the case. The material marked "1, 2, 3" should certainly include the repeated bar. Señor Huedo correctly observes that without the repetition of bar 111 the phrase "does not seem very coherent." Of course that is true: a regular four-bar phrase, reduced to three bars, indeed sounds strange. But this "incoherence" is a result of the editor's decision not to include the repetition of the bar, even though it seems to be clearly intended in the manuscript ("bis" written in ink). In any event, if one plays this segment using bars 111-114 instead of bars 19-21, the result is certainly coherent. Moreover, it is expressively dramatic in the romantic musical rhetoric of the time, evidenced in bar 130 by the sudden appearance of the waltz figure in A minor to G major harmony. Finally it should be noted that playing bars 111-114 here instead of bars 19-21 effectively rounds off the triumphant E major "fanfare" section, and saves the return of the serenata theme for the final tremolo segment.

Chris Delisa
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Re: Tárrega's newly-discovered 'Serenata Española'

Post by Chris Delisa » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:50 pm

Very well said, amade. I was playing the part starting at bar 127 with the "main theme" as Huedo plays it. But after incorporating bars 111-114 into that section, I instantly noticed that the transition is much smoother. We have an E-major arpeggio leading into measure 127 which naturally connects it to the chord starting at bar 111. Plus the deceptive cadence at 130 seems to make more sense. Perhaps because of the momentum, but I find it to be quite a remarkable moment.

Another thing is it doesn't make a lot of sense to bring back the main theme quite that soon. It's almost like the development of a sonata in which we are modulating to distant keys and it's not quite time for the recap. It also makes the tremolo section more significant.

amade
Posts: 88
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:39 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Tárrega's newly-discovered 'Serenata Española'

Post by amade » Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:20 pm

Thanks for the commentary and observations. I see what you mean. That ascending E major arpeggio leads right up to the high E of bar 111, rather than dropping an octave to the B.

I agree on the deceptive cadence. It is very effective. It recalls that beautiful descending chromatic passage at bars 119-122.

Using the material from bars 111-114 makes bars 111-134 a more coherent unit, followed by a distinct transition to the final tremolo recall of the serenata.

I was thinking that Señor Huedo used the return of the (abbreviated) serenade theme to suggest a rondo form. But there are none of the other features of a rondo, such as contrasting but related episodes. The episodes here change character, more in the manner of a ballade. We are on a romantic journey of sorts.

I found it interesting that the back cover of the edition depicts a photo of Manuela and her family in a gondola on the Grand Canal in Venice. The serenata uses the style of a barcarole, which is a gondola song. Señor Huedo dosen't discuss stylistic topics in his commentary, but I think this is one of the most interesting aspects of the piece.

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