1938 Recording: Manuel de Falla’s “Spanish Dance No. 1,” Fritz Kreisler

Manuel de Falla’s 1913 two act opera, La vida breve (“Life is Short”), is rarely performed today. Set in Granada, it tells the story of a young gypsy girl, Salud, who falls in love with the wealthy and seductive Paco. Despite their vow of eternal love, Paco abandons Salud to marry a woman of his own social class to whom he was already engaged. At the end of Paco’s wedding reception, he denies knowing Salud and orders that she be ejected. Heartbroken, she falls dead at his feet.

One breezy melody from the opera’s second act endures. It comes from an orchestral Interlude and Dance. This music was popularized by the violinist Fritz Kreisler’s 1926 arrangement for violin and piano, published under the title, Spanish Dance No. 1. Here is Kreisler’s 1938 recording with pianist Franz Rupp:

Interlude and Dance 

La vida breve is a brief, hour-long opera. Formally, it is unusual in that there is nearly as much purely orchestral music as vocal. Here is the original Interlude and Dance, performed by Jesus Lopez-Cobos and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra:

Recordings

  • Falla/Kreisler: Spanish Dance No. 1, Fritz Kreisler, Franz Rupp Amazon
  • Falla: La vida breve (Interlude and Dance), Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Amazon

Featured Image: Fritz Kreisler

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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