Pedrell, Felipe



The most notable figure in the modern musical world of Spain. Born at Tortosa. His only instruction in music was what he obtained from a careful study of music itself and long archaelogical research. He wrote for the Illustracion musical HispanoAmericano; edited La musica religiosa; and at last became so distinguished as a critic and writer that he was made a member of the Academy and professor of musical history and aesthetics at the Royal Conservatory in Madrid. He had already composed the operas, El ultimo Abencerrajo, Quasimodo; El Tasso a Ferrara; Cleopatra; and Mazzepa. But the prophet is never first recognized in his own country, and of Cleopatra only the symphonic extract Invocazioni alia Notti was played at Barcelona in 1885. Pedrell's great ambition is to form a national music, so nothing daunted by his failures he began in 1891 his great trilogy, Los Pireneos, based on Victor Balanger's poem, and in three months had it completed. In March, 1897, the Societa Benedetto Marcellp at Venice produced the prologue with such success that Pedrell gained the attention of Italy and soon of all Europe. The entire work was produced at Barcelona in 1902. In speaking of this trilogy G. Tabaldini, in Revista Musicale Italiana says that a conception so grand, so original, and daring the lyric stage has not produced except in the case of Wagner's music. In 1904 he wrote another opera, Celestine; in 1905, La Matinada; and recently Le Comte d'Arnan. He has also composed a mass; a symphonic scene; piano-music; and songs. But still more important are the books which he has edited, especially the Hispaniae Schola Musica Sacra, a set already comprising eight volumes, containing various works from the composers from the Fifteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries. This publication was begun in 1894 and contains many works hitherto unknown. The same year his Diccionario tecnico de la Musica was published. He has also translated Ritter's book on Harmony; has written a series to illustrate his favorite theory that a national music must be based on a country's folksong; also Practicas preparatprias de instrumentation; and Emporio cientifico e historico de Organografia musical antiqua espagnola.