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“Music from the Time of Cervantes” (arr. W. Kanengiser)

November 19, 2017: Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

Jácaras – Anonymous (17th century)
El Villano – Antonio Martín y Coll
Diferéncias Sobre Las Folias – Antonio Martín y Coll
Chacona (“La Vida Bona”) – Juan Arañéz
Oy Comamos – Juan de Encina

In March 2009, LAGQ debuted the theatrical production “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote” with British actor/comedian John Cleese. Interweaving tales from the classic novel with arrangements of pieces that Cervantes could have heard in his lifetime, it melded music and storytelling. Tonight’s recital includes selections from this production.

Jácaras is an anonymous canción (“No hay que decir primor”) from the 17th century. With raucous strumming and castanets imitating horses’ hooves, it accompanies Don Quixote’s departure from his farm to become an adventuring knight. El Villano (“The Rustic”) is a country dance from the anthology “Flores de Música” collected by Antonio Martín y Coll. It introduces Sancho Panza, Quixote’s trusty squire. Diferéncias Sobre Las Folias is a set of variations contrasting on the famous harmonic progression, Folias de Espana. It tells of the famous argument between knight and squire, and of their reconciliation. Chacona (“La Vida Bona”), from the Libro Segunda de Tonos y Villancicos (1624) by Juan Arañes, is one of the most celebrated early examples of the form. The chacona, which by Bach’s time had become one of the most noble and profound of all dance forms, was a suggestive and prohibited danza in 1500s Spain, almost their version of our macarena. It features the lines, “here’s to the good life, good little life: let’s do the Chacona”). Oy comamos y bebamos is a four-voice villancico from the Cancionero Palacio, written by Juan de Encina. The opening stanza is “Hoy comamos y bebamos, y cantemos y holguemos, que mañana ayunaremos” (Today we eat and drink, and sing and make merry, for tomorrow we must fast”). It serves as a fitting epilogue for Don Quixote’s quixotic character.

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