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Three-Cornered Hat, The (trans Patterson)

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Manuel de Falla

Manuel de Falla (trans. Donald Patterson)


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General Info

Year: 1919 / 2018
Duration:
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: U.S. Marine Band
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


Movements

1. Introduction
2. First Part

Afternoon
Dance of the Miller’s Wife (Fandango)
The Grapes

3. Second Part

The Neighbor’s Dance (Seguidillas)
The Miller’s Dance (Farruca)
Dance of the Corregidor Final Dance


Instrumentation

(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

The outbreak of World War I forced Falla to return to Spain from his studies in Paris, but his experiences in France jump started what came next in one of the most productive and creative decades of his life. The same year Falla left France, he began to write the first of two significant ballets that celebrated his Spanish heritage. El Amor Brujo (Love, The Magician), was completed in 1915, and right on the heels of its success, he immediately began work on a pantomime on a different subject. Titled El corregidor y la molinera (The Magistrate and the Miller’s Wife) and based on a popular story by Pedro de Alarcon, this music caught the attention of Sergei Diaghalev, who persuaded Falla to expand the pantomime into a full ballet and rescore it for a large orchestra. The new work, El Sombrero tres Picos, quickly took shape and was premièred at the Alhambra Theater in London in July of 1919 with choreography by Léonide Massine and costume designs by none other than Pablo Picasso. Diaghilev wanted Falla to conduct the première, but the composer soon discovered that he was over his head with the technical requirements of the complex score and handed the baton to Ernest Ansermet after one rehearsal.

The score departed from the usual dance styles of classical ballet of the time and dug deeply into Falla’s Spanish musical heritage. The ballet is full of the popular traditional dances of his country, including the Flamenco, Fandango, Seguidilla, and the Jota, complete with the iconic sound of castanets. He also evokes the spirit of the rustic Canto Jondo, the traditional song of Andalusia, by employing the special element of a mezzo-soprano singing two songs in the style at the opening of the ballet and as an interlude later on in the work. Even with this departure from the customs of traditional classical ballet, Falla inserts an occasional nod to the European canon of the previous century, at one point even quoting the famous opening notes of Beethoven‘s 5th Symphony.

The ballet’s plot centers on the ever-popular themes of love, jealousy, and intrigue. The curtain rises, revealing a mill in Andalusia. A miller is attempting to teach his pet blackbird to tell the time. He tells the bird to chirp twice, but instead it chirps three times. Annoyed, the miller scolds the bird and tells it to try again. The bird now chirps four times. The miller gets angry at the bird again and his wife offers it a grape. The bird takes the grape and chirps twice. The miller and his wife laugh over this and continue their work. Soon a corregidor, the local magistrate in the three-cornered hat that signifies his office, passes by with his wife and bodyguard on their daily walk. It is revealed that he is also apparently infatuated with the miller’s faithful wife. The magistrate soon returns and the miller tells his wife that they should play a trick on him. The miller hides to watch the magistrate and the miller’s wife dancing. After her dance, she offers him some grapes. When the magistrate take the grapes, the miller’s wife runs away and he follows her. Finally he catches her, but the miller jumps out of a bush with a stick and chases the magistrate away.

The second act begins that evening with guests visiting the miller’s house. The miller dances to entertain them. His dance is interrupted by the magistrate’s bodyguard, who has come to arrest him on made-up charges. After the miller is taken away, the guests leave one-by-one and the miller’s wife goes to sleep. Soon the magistrate arrives, but on his way to the door he trips and falls in the river. The miller’s wife wakes up and runs away. The magistrate undresses, hangs his clothes and his three-cornered hat on a tree, and goes to sleep in the miller’s bed. Meanwhile, the miller has escaped from prison and returns home to see the magistrate in his bed. The miller thinks that the magistrate is sleeping with his wife, so he schemes to switch clothes with him and seek revenge by seducing the magistrate’s wife. The miller leaves dressed as the magistrate, and when the magistrate wakes up he sees that his clothes and hat are gone, so he dresses in the miller’s clothes. The bodyguard arrives to see the magistrate dressed as the miller and goes to arrest him. The miller’s wife sees the bodyguard fighting with what looks like her husband and joins in the fight. The miller then comes back and sees his wife in the fight and joins in to protect her. In the midst of this frenetic final dance, everyone’s mistaken identity is then revealed and the ballet ends with the miller’s guests tossing the magistrate up and down in a blanket.

- Program Note from U.S. Marine Band concert program, 17 February 2019


Media

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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

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  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Jason K. Fettig, conductor; Sara Sheffield, mezzo-soprano) - 17 February 2019 *Premiere Performance*


Works for Winds by This Composer


Resources