DE FALLA Manuel, Pantomime and Ritual Fire Dance from ‘El Amore Brujo’
El amor brujo, known in English as Love, the Magician began as gitaneria (danced entertainment) in 1915. In due course, Falla expanded the orchestration and made some other changes before the definitive version of the ballet was given for the first time on 22 May 1925, at the Théâtre du Trianon-Lyrique in Paris, conducted by the composer. Four years before then, Falla’s own piano arrangement of the Ritual Fire Dance was published in London and it immediately became a very popular recital piece with pianists including Arthur Rubinstein and Myra Hess. The Pantomime that precedes it here begins with some bold splashes of Andalusian colour before turning to a lilting theme in 7/8 time. In the ballet, the Ritual Fire Dance is the moment when the gypsy Candela seeks to cast out the malign ghost of her dead husband. During this dance, which grows from sinister beginnings to a ferocious climax, the ghost is drawn into the flames and vanishes forever. Falla made the present arrangement of the Pantomime and Ritual Fire Dance for piano and string quintet in 1926.
© Nigel Simeone