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Jota

Last updated Aug 31, 2020 | Published on Dec 7, 2015

Winner of a fellowship at the Bayreuther Festspiele, Mr. Griglio’s conducting has been praised for his “energy” and “fine details”. Mr. Griglio took part in the first world recording of music by composer Irwin Bazelon and conducted several world premieres like "The song of Eddie", by Harold Farberman, a candidate for the Pulitzer Prize. Principal Conductor of International Opera Theater Philadelphia for four years, Mr.Griglio is also active as a composer. His first opera, Camille Claudel, debuted in 2013 to a great success of audience and critics. Mr. Griglio is presently working on an opera on Caravaggio and Music Director of Opera Odyssey.

Jota

A very popular dance from the north east of Spain, specifically from the province of Aragon, the Jota is one of the most renowned triple meter forms and probably the most famous of De Falla’s Spanish songs.

Traditionally, this folklorist dance is sung and danced accompanied by the castañuelas (castanets) and the interpreters are dressed up in regional costumes. Originally, in Valencia and Cataluña, it was performed at funerals ceremonies.

De Falla captured the essence of the dance in this rhythm:
Jota - ex. 1
which pervades the entire piece, written, again, in a A-A1-coda structure. The piano winks again at the guitar, imitating the punteado and rasgueado techniques. After a substantial introduction, De Falla drops this motive at the entrance of the singer, leaving room for a freer phase and virtually bringing in the picture the tambourine as well, another instrument often used to accompany this dance:
Jota - ex. 2
This gesture reminds me very much of the strumming of the Flamenco. As the piano is about to retake the scene with an interlude, the motive is anticipated in the left hand:
Jota - ex. 3
And look at these: doesn’t this remind you exactly of what a guitar would play?
Jota - ex. 4
Jota - ex. 5
The last piano solo in the coda adds a bit of counterpoint, easing out to the very end and setting up the lontano (from far away) of the singer, where all motives come together:
Jota - ex. 6
The upbeat rhythms can “trick” the listener into thinking that this is a very cheerful song: fact of the matter is that this is a tale of secret love and of melancholic farewell. After all, as mentioned above, the Jota was originally performed in not so cheerful situations. But then again, sadness can have many faces. Dynamics fade away to pianissimo, painting the increasing distance between our hero and his lover’s house

Here’s the link to Conchita Supervia’s performance.

Lyrics

Dicen que no nos queremos
Porque no nos ven hablar;
A tu corazón y al mio
Se lo pueden preguntar.
Ya me despido de tí,
De tu casa y tu ventana,
Y aunque no quiera tu madre,
Adiós, niña, hasta mañana.
Aunque no quiera tu madre…

They say we do not love each other
Because they do not see us talking;
To your heart and mine
They can ask that question.
And now I bid you farewell,
to your window and your house,
And even if your mother does not want to,
farewell, my dear, until tomorrow
Even if your mother does not want to…

Here you can find all the articles related to the Siete canciones populares españolas:

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A FREE video series with an analysis of structure, phrasing, and, of course, conducting tips of repertoire works: from Mozart to Brahms, from Beethoven to Debussy. A new episode every week!

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Gianmaria Griglio is an intelligent, exceptional musician. There is no question about his conducting abilities: he has exceptionally clear baton technique that allows him to articulate whatever decisions he has made about the music.

Harold Farberman

2 Comments
  1. Mary Ann

    Dear Gianmaria,
    The relationship with the guitar is really evident, now that you’ve pointed out so clearly. Thank you for this analysis, I can understand this and the other songs much better now!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Siete canciones populares españolas by Manuel de Falla - […] sheet music examples please see these posts: El paño moruno, Seguidilla murciana, Asturiana, Jota, Nana, Canción, […]
  2. Siete canciones populares españolas - Gianmaria Griglio - […] […]
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