Compact Discoveries®
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, hosted, and edited by Fred Flaxman
©2011 by Fred Flaxman

Program 184
"Jesús Guridi"

MUSIC: excerpt from Jesús Guridi: Diez Melodias Vascas for Orchestra, fifth movement, “De Ronda”), performed by the Basque National Orchestra conducted by Miguel A. Gomez Martinez [Claves Records CD 50-9709, Track 5] [under the following]

Hello and welcome to Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman, and I’m going to devote the next hour to the symphonic music of Jesús Guridi, a Basque composer who was a real compact discovery for me, and may well be for you, too. Guridi lived from 1886 until 1961.

We’ll hear first his Ten Basque Melodies for Orchestra, composed in 1941, which is his best-known work. Then we’ll listen to his Basque Images for Choir and Orchestra, composed in 1922. Finally we’ll hear Don Quixote’s Adventure from 1916. The performances are all by the Basque National Orchestra conducted by Miguel Gomez Martinez, and they are all on the same Claves Records compact disc from Switzerland, a CD which dates from 1997.

MUSIC: Fades out

Jesús Guridi was born into a musical family in the Basque region of Spain. His mother was a violinist and his father was a pianist. He studied with Vincent d’Indy among others in Paris, where he enrolled in the Schola Cantorum. Later he studied with teachers in Brussels and Cologne.

After completing his studies he moved to Bilbao, where he directed the Choral Society and was organ teacher at the Academy of Music. He married in 1922 and had six children.

In 1944 he began working at the Madrid Conservatory, where, years later, he became director. He died suddenly on April 7, 1961, at the age of 74 in his home in Madrid.

Here, then, are Guridi’s Ten Basque Melodies, probably the most frequently performed work by a Basque composer.

MUSIC: Jesús Guridi: Diez Melodias Vascas for Orchestra, performed by the Basque National Orchestra conducted by Miguel A. Gomez Martinez [Claves Records CD 50-9709, Tracks 1 - 10]

Jesús Guridi’s Ten Basque Melodies. The Basque National Orchestra was conducted by Miguel Gomez Martinez.

Guridi wrote operas, operettas, orchestral music, choral music, piano, organ, and chamber music. Although he was a 20th Century composer, he composed in the tradition of the European late romantic composers, adding to that the influence of Basque folk music.

You are listening to the music of the Spanish Basque composer Jesús Guridi on Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional one-minute break not included in total timing of the program.]

Next let’s hear Guridi’s Basque Images for Choir and Orchestra. It was written on commission for the stage and is composed in three scenes.

Scene one is a day in a fisherman’s wharf. The boat sets out to sea to the constant sound of “row, row.”

Scene two pictures the terrifying sea, announcing the approach and onset of a storm. The whole village is in fear. The storm makes it impossible for the villagers to come to the help of the fishermen. The storm finally abates, and the fishermen return to the sound of “row, row.”

In scene three the fishermen are joyously greeted to the sounds of “come home, come home, my friend,” and the rhythms of the most expressive and lively of all Basque dances. The celebration reaches its climax with a tumultuous finale.

We’ll hear the Basque National Orchestra once again, as conducted by Miguel Gomez Martinez. They are joined in this Claves Records release by the Orfeon Donostiarra choir.

MUSIC: Jesús Guridi: Euzko Irudiak, performed by the Basque National Orchestra conducted by Miguel A. Gomez Martinez with the Orfeon Donostiarra choir [Claves Records CD 50-9709, Tracks 13 - 15]

Jesús Guridi’s Basque Images for Choir and Orchestra, performed by the Basque National Orchestra with the Orfeon Donostiarra choir conducted by Miguel Gomez Martinez.

You are listening to the music of the Spanish Basque composer Jesús Guridi on Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional one-minute break not included in total timing of the program.]

The same Claves recording that contains the two works by Jesús Guridi that we’ve already heard in this hour, also contains Don Quixote’s Adventure, Guridi’s symphonic poem from 1915, which premiered the following year. 1916 was the 300th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of the world-famous classic.

Guridi selected the idea of “struggle” as the theme for his composition, inspired by the battles that Don Quixote held in the eighth and nineteenth chapters of Cervantes’ book. The various opponents are represented by appropriate folk themes.

The work takes on religious colors when Don Quixote meets two monks, but their meeting turns unexpectedly into a dispute. Don Quixote’s personality is expressed in the piece either by the noble sonorities of the brass or by the melancholy phrases of the cello, depending on his success or failure.

MUSIC: Jesús Guridi: Una Aventura de Don Quijote, performed by the Basque National Orchestra conducted by Miguel A. Gomez Martinez [Claves Records CD 50-9709, Track 12] [11:28]

Don Quixote’s Adventure by Jesús Guridi. The Basque National Orchestra was conducted by Miguel A. Gomez Martinez.

MUSIC: excerpt from Jesús Guridi: Diez Melodias Vascas for Orchestra, fifth movement, “De Ronda”), performed by the Basque National Orchestra conducted by Miguel A. Gomez Martinez [Claves Records CD 50-9709, Track 5] [under the following]

And that concludes this hour devoted to the music of the Spanish Basque composer Jesús Guridi. This is Fred Flaxman thanking you for listening. Thanks, as well, to José Luis Ansorena of the Archives for Basque Composers for supplying the program notes for the CD, which I used as the basis for my comments. And special thanks to Compact Discoveries internet listener Jean Hadas-Lebel in Paris, France, for sending me the recording I used throughout this hour which introduced me to the beautiful music of this composer.

If you enjoyed this program and would like to hear it again, you can link to it at compactdiscoveries.com and then stream it on demand. You’ll also find a link there to purchase many of the compact discs featured in this series of programs, as well as information on and the script for this program and all others in the series. This is program number 184.

Please join me again next time for more Compact Discoveries!

MUSIC: excerpt from the ending of the final movement of Jesús Guridi: Diez Melodias Vascas for Orchestra), performed by the Basque National Orchestra conducted by Miguel A. Gomez Martinez [Claves Records CD 50-9709, Track 10]

ANNOUNCER (Steve Jencks): Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by Story Book Publishers and their latest offering, a tongue-in-cheek memoir by Compact Discoveries host Fred Flaxman called “Sixty Slices of Life ... on Wry: The Private Life of a Public Broadcaster.” And by the financial support of Isabel and Marvin Leibowitz, and an anonymous donor from Palm Beach, Florida. And by contributions to local public radio stations by listeners like you. Thank you.

Total Program Timing: 57:30