The String Quartet in Spain

by Christiane Heine (Volume editor) Juan Miguel González Martínez (Volume editor)
Edited Collection 986 Pages
Series: Varia Musicologica, Volume 22


This is the first monograph from a scientific perspective dealing with the String Quartets composed in Spain from the eighteenth century up to the present. It is the outcome of the research and thorough study of specific works, undertaken by twenty-one musicologists, archivers and performers, together with four Spanish composers. It aims both to offer an overview of the current state of research on the primary and secondary sources available, and to trace the history of the genre by examining its genesis, development and reception in the European context. All this fosters an understanding of: (1) the position of the genre in Spain from its emergence until nowadays, (2) its aesthetics and main compositional features in each period, (3) its idiosyncratic peculiarities, and (4) the particular challenges that it has posed along its history. In addition, other goals are: to banish some prejudices about Spanish chamber music, to contribute to the recuperation of a significant part of the Spanish musical heritage, and to provide scholars and performers with the musical sources, aiming at facilitating the knowledge and diffusion of a corpus of noteworthy yet barely known works.
Der Band befasst sich mit der Entwicklung des Streichquartetts in Spanien vom achtzehnten Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart. Er enthält 24 Studien zu Komponisten und konkreten Werken aus unterschiedlicher Perspektive und gibt Auskunft über die bis dato lokalisierten Primär- und Sekundärquellen.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Preface (Christoph Flamm)
  • Introduction (Christiane Heine / Juan Miguel González Martínez)
  • Abbreviations
  • Library Sigla
  • The Development of the String Quartet in Spain
  • Fuentes documentales del cuarteto de cuerda en España (1770-c1920) (José Carlos Gosálvez Lara)
  • Haydn, Boccherini and the Rise of the String Quartet in Late Eighteenth-Century Madrid (Miguel Ángel Marín)
  • Die zweite Blüte: Spanische Streichquartettproduktion im frühen 20. Jahrhundert (Christiane Heine)
  • The String Quartet in Spain after 1960: Some Aesthetic Remarks (Germán Gan-Quesada)
  • Single Studies
  • Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
  • Zum Streichquartettschaffen von Luigi Boccherini (Christian Speck)
  • Luigi Boccherini Composing his Opus ultimum under the Patronage of Spain: Inventiveness, Animation and Sensibility in the Sonata Form Movement of his Fragmentary String Quartet No. 91 in D major Op. 64 No. 2, G249 (1804) (Walter Kurt Kreyszig)
  • João Pedro Almeida Mota: los cuartetos de un pasticheur en Madrid (Màrius Bernadó / José María Domínguez)
  • Forma y textura en los primeros cuartetos de Manuel Canales (Jorge Fonseca)
  • Arriagas Verwendung des spanischen e-Modus. Ein neues Beispiel für eine ältere Tradition? (Marie Winkelmüller)
  • The String Quartets of Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga: Experiments in Form, Harmony, and Counterpoint (Tim S. Pack)
  • Twentieth Century
  • Identidad nacionalista en el Quatuor à cordes sur des thèmes populaires basques (1905) de José María Usandizaga: del material temático a su organización formal (Stéphan Etcharry)
  • Le Quatuor à cordes op. 4 (1910) de Joaquín Turina à la lumière du contexte musical parisien de l’époque (Florence Doé de Maindreville)
  • A Critical Edition of Conrado del Campo’s String Quartet No. 8, “At the Death of his Mother” (1913): Defining the Scope of the Critical Process through the Creation of a Musically Viable Score for Interpreters (John Stokes)
  • The Forgotten String Quartets (1927–1933) by Gaspar Cassadó (Gabrielle Kaufman)
  • El Cuarteto en Sol (1936–1937) de Francisco Escudero: ¿un programa secreto? (Itziar Larrinaga Cuadra)
  • Félix Antonio: sus Cuartetos de cuerda (Francisco García Álvarez)
  • Conrado del Campo’s String Quartet No. 12 in B flat major (1948): An Approach to his Compositional Technique (Torcuato Tejada Tauste)
  • El Cuarteto Indiano (1951) de Xavier Montsalvatge (Desirée García Gil)
  • Le 3e Quatuor à cordes (1958) de Julián Bautista au sein de l’évolution du langage musical au XXe siècle : une œuvre atonale ou « tonétique » ? (Henri Gonnard)
  • Ramón Barce’s Quintessential String Quartet No. 5 (1978) (Rafael Liñán Vallecillos)
  • String Quartet Creation Today from the Composer’s Perspective
  • Mis seis Cuartetos de cuerda (Tomás Marco)
  • More than Composing for 4 Instruments (Alfredo Aracil)
  • Componer para cuarteto de cuerda hoy – la música de cámara en estado puro (Benet Casablancas)
  • Writings of Space and Memory: The String Quartet as locus amoenus (José M. Sánchez-Verdú)
  • Bibliography & Musical Sources
  • Abstracts
  • List of Contributors
  • Index of Names
  • Series index

← 8 | 9 →



In recent times, the vision of a global music history has been fostered from many sides and with much intensity: it is by now a big musicological movement which aims at both leaving behind the old Eurocentric and elitist patterns of a “History of Western Art Music”, and opening new non-hierarchical, post-colonial, globalized perspectives on music as a social and cultural phenomenon of all humankind, at once overcoming the former separation of historical, systematic and ethnological disciplines within musicology. In the wake of such rethinking of historiographical positions and methods, it might seem problematic to continue writing music histories of single nations and repertoires. But negotiating or abolishing former definitions of musical peripheries and musical centres does not mean to ignore geographical and cultural boundaries completely, the more so if the subject of research is connected in its time to notions of cultural identity and nationality; nor does a widened view on less exclusive musical practices, styles and aesthetical levels necessarily lead to ignoring the existence and the significance of specific traditions of musical forms and genres.

Despite its far-reaching resistance against folkloristic and programmatic elements, the string quartet has not been immune towards questions of cultural and national identity, on the contrary. Its history has been written usually along the narrow lines of Austro-German models dominating the rest of Europe, thus ascribing to all composers of other nations the role of successors or imitators, and measuring their quartets against the alleged guideline of the Viennese classics. But the many paths and directions of cultural transfer of such chamber music as well as its generic diversity, not to speak of its value and significance for contemporary audiences and musicians, cannot be determined appropriately if the repertoire itself is not known sufficiently. Such lack of information is most dramatically felt in countries which usually have been judged as peripherical for the development of chamber music, such as Spain. This ← 9 | 10 → attitude has led to a neglect not only outside of the country, but inside as well, and thus cemented those stereotypical perspectives which are necessarily based on a much too selective knowledge of the existing works. Only part of the problem lies in insufficient distribution of scores: it seems that the ideologically perceived irrelevance of chamber music for Spanish culture in itself has hindered the recognition of the real dimensions and importance of string quartets written by Spanish composers, be that in the not yet standardized chamber music culture of the late eighteenth century, in the shadow of nineteenth century nationalist tendencies on their quixotic quest for identity through distinction, or in the aesthetically fragmented ambience of the twentieth century.

This volume contributes in an unprecedented way to factual knowledge as well as to a deeper understanding of the whole complex of Spanish string quartets, both on a broad historiographic scale and through studies of single works and composers, some of which speak for themselves in the final section of the book. We observe, as it were, not only the tip of the iceberg, but – diving under the surface – see much more clearly its overall outlines. This publication illuminates the multitude of Spanish string quartets in general, reconsiders their ties with and their place within European chamber music culture, and finally allows for a new understanding of creative processes and aesthetical developments in one of the most revered forms of classical music. As such, it leads us one further step towards a global music history in which regions and their composers are no longer hierarchically predefined from outward.

← 10 | 11 →



The birth of this book occurs within the R&D project Música de cámara instrumental y vocal en España en los siglos XIX y XX: recuperación, recepción, análisis crítico y estudio comparativo del género en el contexto europeo.1 Its main motivation was the notable absence of music from Spain in the most relevant foreign essays and specialised books about the history of the string quartet,2 together with the desire to fill this historiographical gap, with an aim to incentivize the diffusion of the Spanish repertoire for this ensemble.

By the end of the eighteenth century, chamber music was flourishing in the private sphere of the Spanish court, particularly the genre of the string quartet, with the participation of both foreign composers (such as Luigi Boccherini, Gaetano Brunetti, and João Pedro Almeida Mota) and nationals (like José María Reynoso, Manuel Canales, José Teixidor, Pau Marsal and Enrique Ataide y Portugal). However, in the ← 11 | 12 → widely dominated by Italian opera nineteenth century, chamber music became – in the words of José Luis García del Busto – the “‘Cinderella’ of the Spanish Romantic century”.3 At the beginning of the twentieth century, the genre experienced a new flourishing in Spain – mostly unnoticed abroad – which increased even more in the second half of the century, unceasingly until today. Indeed, whereas there is evidence of only about twenty quartets in the nineteenth century, not counting those of Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga (1806–1826) – one of the very few Spanish composers whose three Quartets, composed and published in Paris, were internationally known –, the compilation realised by members of the above mentioned project includes around six hundred quartets composed in the twentieth century: around two hundred in the first half by composers born between 1850 and 1920, and the rest corresponding to posterior generations.

These facts make it difficult to understand the absence of specific essays in the national milieu (historiographical studies, surveys on the spreading and reception of this genre in Spain, analyses and critic evaluations of individual works), which could have been useful to foreign musicologists as secondary sources. Thus, the absence of studies is, at once, the cause and the consequence of the lack of editions: until a few years ago, the majority of string quartets of Spanish origin from the eighteenth, the nineteenth, and (mainly first half of) the twentieth centuries have not been available through editions (therefore, they were not accesible abroad), and, even today, there are enormous difficulties regarding this issue.

The case of the three String Quartets by Arriaga is paradigmatic: only the full set of parts from the original edition (Paris, Ph. Petit, [c1824]) and posterior reeditions were available until 2004, when they were published as a complete score for the first time.4 None of ← 12 | 13 → the nineteenth century quartets after those of Arriaga – and very few from the first half of the twentieth century – were published during the lifetime of the respective composers, a circumstance that, with some exceptions, applies to a large number of quartets written by Spanish composers in the last six decades.

Perhaps the lack of editions could largely be explained by the difficult access to the primary sources (scores). For the most part, the manuscripts are still solely kept in the private archives of relatives and heirs (who have rarely left copies at a public archive or library). In many cases, they are not ultimate scores but just sketches (with cross-outs, corrections, etc.), or individual parts often written by copyists. In the case of unpublished works (the majority of them), the protection given in Spain to the author’s copyrights (eighty years after his or her death) adds yet another difficulty to the study of music, by forcing the researcher to work in situ, except if an explicit permission by the heirs is granted.

In conclusion, the pointed out problems partly justify the patent lack of interest in the genre of the string quartet on the side of Spanish musicologists, performers, and publishers, quite evident until very recently.

Of course, not everything has been negative inasmuch as, in the last few years, efforts have been made to improve this situation and some initiatives have appeared to confront the oblivion around the string quartets of Spanish origin. In the field of research, the German musicologist Christiane Heine – the editor of this book – was, since the mid 1990s, one of the pioneers in the investigation of Spanish string quartets, compiling primary sources, negotiating (unsuccessfully) with various national publishers the edition of key works (among them, the String Quartets of Conrado del Campo, for the most part still unpublished), offering numerous doctoral courses (at the universities of Granada, Oviedo, and Barcelona) and, since 2000, giving seminars in Spain (Manuel de Falla Courses, Granada) and abroad (at the universities of Reading, Berlin, Tours, Florence, Krakow, Lisbon, Graz, and Prague), as well as lecturing at international conferences, all of them around Spanish chamber music and, particularly, on the string quartet.

Several research projects have commenced in the last decade, aiming at the recuperation and study of Spanish chamber music, with ← 13 | 14 → emphasis on the string quartet. Among them, the European project Garat (2003–2005) – whose goal was to recover string quartets by Basque composers –, a French-Spanish collaboration between Musikene-Centro superior de música del País Vasco and the Conservatoire National de Région (CNR) of Bayonne-Côte Basque, with the participation of Eresbil-Archivo Vasco de la Música and the Institut Culturel Basque, jointly financed by the European Union and the rest of participants, as well as two R&D projects, both supported by the Spanish Government: the initially mentioned one (this publication being a part of it) and La música de cámara en España en el siglo XVIII. Géneros, interpretación, recuperación.5 Moreover, it is worth mentioning that a growing interest in Spanish chamber music can be perceived in the last years, mostly on the part of young musicologists, which has resulted in specific studies around string quartet societies, ensembles or individual works that have led to master theses and doctoral dissertations in some cases.

Concerning the diffusion and, particularly, the performances of this repertoire, the first global approximation to this genre took place in 1995, with a cycle of ten concerts presenting Spanish string quartets some were premiered at this time – including works from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, in Oviedo, Gijón, and Avilés, organised by the Obra Social y Cultural de Caja de Asturias and coordinated by José Antonio Gómez Rodríguez, who, additionally, edited a monographic publication with the collection of program notes of this concert series.6

In the last fifteen years, new ensembles committed to spreading the Spanish repertoire have emerged in the country: Cuarteto Leonor (2001) and Cuarteto Bretón (2004) – both have actively collaborated with the R&D project responsible for this volume –, together with Cuarteto Casals, Cuarteto Quiroga, Cuarteto Assai, Cuarteto Canales, Cuarteto Isasi, Cuarteto Bacarisse or Cuarteto Bécquer, to which some foreign groups, specially engaged with Spanish contemporary chamber music, like the Arditti Quartet and Quatuor Diotima, must be added. All of them have contributed to the diffusion of Spanish string quartets, ← 14 | 15 → providing relevant CD recordings on specific labels (Naxos, Versus, Nîbius, and Kairos).

Likewise, some municipal and provincial institutions are making efforts to retrieve from oblivion musicians of their territories, by means of specific hommages in the form of recordings, editions, and monographic publications (the problem here being the limited number of copies and the merely local dissemination which, again, results in a difficult accessibility). In Madrid, for the last decades, the Fundación Juan March – under Miguel Ángel Marín, director of the music department – has become the main site for the diffusion of Spanish chamber music, making available online, for study and partial listening, its activities since 1975.7

Regarding the editing-publishing of scores, whereas living composers, in general, get their compositions published in a rather short time – thanks to digital technologies –, the printed publishing of their antecessors’ repertoire is much slower. Nevertheless, something has been changing for the last five years, mainly because of the new generation of musicologists: currently, the majority of eighteenth century quartets is already edited. From the (sparse) repertoire of the nineteenth century, the first recently edited quartet is Manuel Manrique de Lara’s (Madrid, Museo Romántico, [2015]). Directed by Christiane Heine, the R&D project HAR2011-24295 is preparing a volume on the nineteenth century, including nine critical editions (19th Century Spanish String Quartets, Madrid, Ediciones Eudora, 2016, in print). Publishing companies such as Boileau, Clivis, CEM (Catalana d’Edicions Musicals) and Dinsic, all from Barcelona, CM Ediciones Musicales from Bilbao, as well as EMEC, ICCMU and, more recently, Eudora Ediciones, from Madrid, are all contributing, within the country, to the increasing dissemination of Spanish quartets. However, many relevant works – like those of Conrado del Campo, Andrés Isasi, Ramón Barce, and Agustín González Acilu – are still unavailable due to the lack of editions.

To this state of affairs, online access to primary sources (just recently available) joins in. Indeed, new technologies play a crucial role in the retrieval of Spanish music, because some archives and libraries8 ← 15 | 16 → give free online access to primary sources in the public domain. This has recently allowed to identify an anonymous String Quartet in G (whose manuscript had the front page torn apart) in the library of the Real Conservatorio Superior de Musica de Madrid – for decades wrongly attributed by the librarians to Martín Sánchez Allú – which turns out to be Salvador Giner’s Quartet no. 2, thanks to an autograph – with the same composer’s writing – kept at the Biblioteca Valenciana (Colección Patrimonio Musical Valenciano/Societat Coral El Micalet) which is accessible online. At the same time, the updated websites of some contemporary composers (such as Carlos Cruz de Castro, Joan Magrané, Hèctor Parra, José María Sánchez-Verdú, Mauricio Sotelo or José Luis Turina, to name a few) allow access to scores, recordings, and useful comments for the study of their string quartets.

It is within these efforts and contributions where this volumen is to be placed. Its initial purpose was mainly to resume, enlarge, and complement the results of preliminary investigations that were partially presented at the First International Conference “El Cuarteto de Cuerda en España de fines del siglo XVIII hasta la actualidad”, organised by the R&D project HAR2011-24295, which took place at the University of Granada, March 20–21, 2014, and where some authors of this volume participated. From a more ambitious viewpoint, the main goals of this publication are to bring up its topic – the string quartet in Spain – to the current state of research, and to provide an overview of the present situation of sources, with the aim of improving the conditions which may lead to reconsider – in the global historiography of the genre – the value of the Spanish production, as well as to encourage performances of these works in Spain and abroad.

Twenty-five national and international musicologists, archive keepers, performers and composers contribute to this volume. Contents are sorted in two parts comprising, on the one side, The Development of the String Quartet in Spain and, on the other, Single Studies: whereas the former includes four essays providing information on the primary ← 16 | 17 → sources known to date, thus contributing to the recuperation of the Spanish musical heritage undertaken by a group of researchers and performers in recent years; the latter consists of twenty individual studies of particular composers and works, from different perspectives, dealing with their sources, compositional procedures, influences, reception, interpretation and edition, among others, thus being a representative cross-section about the panorama of the Spanish string quartet without claiming to be exhaustive.

The first part begins with a synopsis by José Carlos Gosálvez Lara, former director of the Departamento de Música y Audiovisuales of the Biblioteca Nacional de España, about the primary sources of quartets of Spanish origin from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that are kept at the most relevant musical libraries in Madrid, particularly the outstanding collections of the Real Conservatorio and the Biblioteca Nacional. The subsequent essays by Miguel Ángel Marín, Christiane Heine, and Germán Gan-Quesada thoroughly deal with the string quartets composed since the eighteenth century up to the present, thus outlining the (discontinuous) history of the genre in Spain. Marín traces out a panoramic view of the quartet in Madrid in the last three decades of the eighteenth century, by studying its presence in the musical market of that period and by listing a large number of well-known composers and works, for the most part under the influences of Haydn and Boccherini, such as Manuel Canales (1747–1786) and Gaetano Brunetti (1744–1798). Working in a complementary manner, Heine and Gan-Quesada attempt to facilitate the researcher or performer an access to the sources of Spanish string quartets in the nineteenth century and, specially, in the twentieth, with a differentiated treatment for their two respective halves, presenting a general overview of the aesthetics and main stylistic features of the genre. Both essays provide information about the state of research, plus precise data on primary sources in the form of manuscripts and editions, aiming at both facilitating their location and fostering future researches.

The second part of the volume – Single Studies – is subdivided into three sections which, in the first one, deals with different quartets of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries while, in the second and third, the focus is on the twentieth. The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries section opens with the essays of ← 17 | 18 → Christian Speck and Walter Kurt Kreyszig who, from different perspectives, study the work of Luigi Boccherini, a resident in Madrid since 1768. Speck offers a panoramic overview of Boccherini’s String Quartets, penetrating in the evolution and characteristic elements of his style, exemplified in the analysis of String Quartet op. 41 no. 1 in C major (G214). Kreyszig approaches Boccherini’s figure and his contribution to the string quartet in relation to Viennese composers, evaluating the way in which his stay in Madrid determined his public recognition. For this purpose, he analyses the String Quartet op. 64 no. 2 (G249) and the conditions and circumstances of its composition. Màrius Bernadó and José María Domínguez focus on Portuguese composer João Pedro Almeida Mota, whose career took place largely in Spain, primarily clarifying the more confusing aspects of his live, together with a review of his string quartet output. Jorge Fonseca analyses Manuel Canales’s series of String Quartets op. 1, through the study of its historical and musical context, and the principal formal aspects and compositional procedures utilised. Two studies on Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga close this section: Marie Winkelmüller focuses on the use of the e-mode as a means to evoke the folklore, specially in the String Quartet no. 1 in D minor, yet making it compatible with the tonal language of its time, and resolving, in an original way, the conflicts this challenge raises. From a different viewpoint, Tim S. Pack reveals the richness and variety of Arriaga’s musical form and style as it is manifested in his three String Quartets.

Arranged in a chronological order, the second section, dedicated to the Twentieth Century, deals with the quartets of nine Spanish composers: Usandizaga, Turina, Del Campo, Cassadó, Escudero, Félix Antonio, Montsalvatge, Bautista, and Barce. The first two chapters are placed in Paris, at the beginning of the century, more precisely at the Schola Cantorum. Stéphan Etcharry examines José María Usandizaga’s Quatuor à cordes sur des thèmes populaires basques – composed in 1905, while attending the Schola – to demonstrate how its academic milieu influenced the nationalist dimension of this work, where themes from the Basque folklore are integrated in a classical form with a cyclical character. Likewise, Florence Doé de Maindreville investigates the effects of Vincent d’Indy’s teachings on Joaquín Turina, exemplified in his only String Quartet (op. 4, 1910), by examining both its formal structure and how folklore and musical language are reinterpreted in the context of ← 18 | 19 → French music during this epoch. The subsequent chapters are dedicated to two Quartets by Conrado del Campo – out of the fourteen he wrote – but, whereas John Stokes (the cellist of Cuarteto Bretón) provides a performer’s viewpoint, Torcuato Tejada Tauste adopts the position of a musicologist. Stokes explains the difficulties and challenges of ellaborating a critical edition of Conrado del Campo’s music, specifically his Quartet no. 8 (1913), and manifests the need to complement the editor’s vision with that of the performer. On his part, after reviewing Del Campo’s musical thinking, as well as his creative and expressive nature, Tejada Tauste focuses on the first movement of the late Quartet no. 12 (1948), to evaluate both the compositional criteria and the formal structuring. Gabrielle Kaufman approaches Gaspar Cassadó’s facet as a composer by studying his three String Quartets – written between 1927 and 1933 – within the context of his own output and the works of his contemporaries, highlighting the stylistic elements that formed part of Cassadó’s musical idiom. The Quartet in G (1936–1937) by Basque composer Francisco Escudero is the subject of the text by Itziar Larrinaga Cuadra who, after reconstructing the genesis of this work – partially conceived while in exile during the Spanish Civil War –, proposes a reinterpretation of its hermeneutical sense, based on the information supplied by several documents, such as some letters written by the composer, in relation to the own structural narrative of the composition. From a historiographical and analytical perpective, Francisco García Álvarez gets involved with the two String Quartets of Félix Antonio [González] – a “epistolary pupil” of Charles Koechlin –, examining his compositional procedures, style, influences, and public reception among other aspects. Desirée García Gil seeks in Xavier Montsalvatge’s Cuarteto Indiano (1951) features from the popular music of the Antilles and Cuba, integrated with those from his autochthonous Catalonian musical tradition, which define the so-called “Antillian style” developed by the composer within his peculiar nationalist aesthetics. Henri Gonnard places Julián Bautista’s third String Quartet (1958) – composed while exiled in Argentina – at the core of the crisis and redefinition of the tonal dimension of twentieth-century Western music, and discusses the role of dissonance in this work, characterized by its polyphonic language, close to the Second Viennese School. Lastly, Rafael Liñán’s work on Ramón Barce closes this section on the String Quartet in the ← 19 | 20 → twentieth century: after an introduction to the composer’s personality, style and main aspects of his eleven Quartets, Liñán analyses the String Quartet no. 5 (1978), paradigmatic of Barce’s unique “system of levels” – which establishes a tonal base for a scale structure with four different modes –, and of his use of isorhythmic procedures in constant variation with a subtle comic vein.

Finally, in the third section – String Quartet Creation Today from the Composer’s Perspective – four renowned composers, Tomás Marco, Alfredo Aracil, Benet Casablancas and José M. Sánchez-Verdú (all of them recipients of the Spanish Premio Nacional de Música) speak, first hand, of the immediate present, by analysing their respective output of quartets. These texts contribute, on the one hand, to a deeper knowledge of both technical aspects and the circumstances of the composers’s creative processes – which can be revealed solely by them – and, on the other hand, provide not only an approach to four different manners of conceiving composition nowadays, but also give us a comprehension of how these contemporary musicians – who can be considered as representative of their generations – understand this genre and carry out the task of composing a string quartet, with its peculiarities, as well as the particular challenges they face, which are fundamental issues for this volume. In this regard, it is surprising to see how many of the current problems when conceiving a quartet have constantly been the same since the emergence of the genre in Spain, as it can be corroborated in the former chapters of this volume. Thus they become an identity mark of this special instrumental ensemble which, in the light of what composers say, can be judged as complex and demanding while, at the same time, it is “the supreme manifestation of chamber music”, in the words of Casablancas.

The book closes with a bibliography, abstracts, and the abridged biographies of the authors and editors followed by an index of names. Because the articles are in four different languages – English, Spanish, German, and French – all abstracts are provided in English.

The publication is accomplished with funding by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad of the Government of Spain, within the framework of the R&D project HAR2011-24295, to whom we address our gratitude and recognition. The editors gratefully want to acknowledge all the authors, not only for their participation, but also for the ← 20 | 21 → commitment and enthusiasm they have demonstrated. Indeed, collaborating in this work has required, beyond each individual contribution, the will to become integrated in a collective project, which supplies a plus of interest but also of difficulty. A special mention is owed to the four composers who participate with articles on their own output because, to the generosity manifested in the creation and offering of their works, the kindness of sharing their viewpoints and ideas on both their respective quartets and the genre in general has to be added. Our deeply felt gratitude be addressed to all the composers who have supplied materials of their quartets, and also to the heirs, specially Elena Martín, Ramón Barce’s widow, who generously provided copies of his eleven String Quartets for study.

Furthermore, this endeavour has been possible thanks to the support and collaboration of many people and institutions, such as libraries, research centres, and archives, among others, with a special mention of gratitude to José Carlos Gosálvez Lara (Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid), María Elena Magallanes Latas (library of the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid), Ferrán Santonja (Biblioteca Valenciana Nicolau Primitiu, Valencia), Paz Fernández (Biblioteca Española de Música y Teatro Contemporáneo of the Fundación Juan March, Madrid), María Luz González and Adelaida Muñoz Tuñón (Centro de Documentación y Archivos of the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, Madrid), Francisco J. Bonachera (Centro de Documentación Musical de Andalucía, Granada), Cristina Marcos Patiño (Centro de Documentación de Música y Danza of the Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escénicas y de la Musica, Madrid), Jon Bagüés y Pello Leiñena (ERESBIL-Archivo Vasco de la Música, Errentería/Gipuzkoa), Laura Espert Moreno (Centre de Documentació de l’Orfeó Català – Palau de la Música, Barcelona), Elena García Paredes (Archivo Manuel de Falla, Granada), Marta Bilbeny (Ateneu Barcelonès), Padre Mielgo (Biblioteca del Estudio Teológico Agustiniano, Valladolid), Olga Moreno Trujillo (library of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Granada), Juan José Riaño Alonso (library of the University of Oviedo), as well as the archive and library staff of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (Madrid), the Ateneo de Madrid, the Biblioteca de Catalunya (Barcelona), the Conservatori Municipal de Música de Barcelona, the ← 21 | 22 → Archivo General de la Región de Murcia (Murcia), and the archive of the Cathedral of Palencia.

Moreover, in the process of making this volume, it is important to highlight the participation of two prestigious ensembles: the Cuarteto Leonor, and the Cuarteto Bretón (both are EPO–Ente Promotor Observador of the R&D project HAR2011-24295). In addition to sharing their perspective and vital experience as practical musicians, both are also contributing to rescue from oblivion the Spanish string quartet legacy they perform, and to disseminate it within the country and abroad. Likewise, we are very grateful to Angelica Scholze – Peter Lang’s Lecturer in Bern (Switzerland) – for her constant support, to Walter Kurt Kreyszig, who has revised and corrected the English version of the appendices, to Rafael Liñán, for his translation of this introduction and for the revision of some other texts, and to Torcuato Tejada Tauste and Anne-Vinciane Doucet for their collaboration during the editing process.

We hope that the knowledge, effort and dedication of all contributors serve, firstly, to put an end to some of the current prejudices – especially from abroad – about chamber music in Spain, particularly in regard to the string quartet; secondly to the comprehension of this genre’s history between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, and, ultimately, to bring to light a significant part of the Spanish musical heritage, a corpus of works of a much greater relevance than it was esteemed before, both in quantity and quality. Likewise, we believe that an increasing number of editions and performances will foster the spreading of such a little-known (and lesser performed) repertoire, and will encourage new investigations along this line.

1 R&D project HAR2011-24295 (2012–2015), coordinated by Christiane Heine (University of Granada).

2 FINSCHER, Ludwig. “Streichquartett”, in FINSCHER, Ludwig (ed.). Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 27 vols. (1994–2007), Kassel, Bärenreiter-Metzler, 2nd edition, 1998, Sachteil 8, cols. 1924–1977. FOURNIER, Bernard. L’esthétique du quatuor à cordes, Paris, Fayard, 1999. FOURNIER, Bernard (in collaboration with Roseline Kassap-Riefenstahl). Histoire du quatuor à cordes, 3 vols., Paris, Fayard, 2000 (vol. 1), 2004 (vol. 2), 2010 (vol. 3). KRUMMACHER, Friedhelm. Das Streichquartett (Handbuch der musikalischen Gattungen VI, 2 vols., edited by Siegfried Mauser), Laaber, Laaber, 2001 (vol. 1), 2003 (vol. 2); new edition, Geschichte des Streichquartetts, 3 vols., Laaber, Laaber, 2005. STOWELL, Robin (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to the String Quartet (Cambridge Companions to Music), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003. Apart from some individual mentions of a few composers (in Finscher, Fournier’s Histoire…, and Krummacher), only Fournier dedicates a whole chapter to Spain in the third volume, dealing with the generation of composers born round 1930 and later (FOURNIER, B. “Espagne”, Histoire du quatuor à cordes : De l’entre-deux-guerres au XXe siècle, op. cit., 2010, vol. 3, pp. 1196–1208).

3 GARCÍA DEL BUSTO, José Luis. “La música de cámara, ‘Cenicienta’ del siglo romántico español”, El Romanticismo Musical Español (= Cuadernos de música I, 2), Madrid, Antonio Rodríguez Moreno, [1982], pp. 49–57.

4 See ARRIAGA, Juan Crisóstomo de. Obra completa para cuarteto de cuerda, ed. by Joaquin Pérez de Arriaga, Madrid, Polifemo D. L., 2004 (parts 2005); ARRIAGA, J. C. de. Obra completa, 2 vols. (vol. 1 Música instrumental), critical edition by Christophe Rousset, introduction by Judith Ortega, Madrid, ICCMU, 2006; ARRIAGA, J. C. de. Obra completa, 3 vols. (vol. 1 Música instrumental), coord. by Isabel Gortázar, Bilbao, Fundación Vizcaína Aguirre, 2006; ARRIAGA, J. C. de. Tres cuartetos de cuerda. Partitura general, critical edition and introduction by Marie Winkelmüller, Barcelona, Tritó, 2012.

5 R&D project HAR2011-22712 (2012–2014), coordinated by Miguel Ángel Marín (University of La Rioja).

6 See GÓMEZ RODRÍGUEZ, José Antonio (ed.). Cambio de Tercio. Música española para cuarteto de cuerda, Oviedo, Caja de Asturias, 1995.

7 Clamor. Colección digital de Música española, [online] <http://digital.march.es/clamor/> [accessed: 05-10-2016].

8 Biblioteca Digital Hispánica de la Biblioteca Nacional de España: <www.bne.es/es/Catalogos/BibliotecaDigitalHispanica/Inicio/index.html>; Colección Digital del Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid: <www.rcsmm.eu/fondos-digitalizados?aid=fondos-digitalizados>; Biblioteca de Catalunya: <www.bnc.cat/Fons-i-col-leccions/Fons-digitalitzats#musica>; Biblioteca Valenciana Digital: <http://bivaldi.gva.es>; Fundación Juan March (Música española contemporánea – Colecciones digitales): <www.march.es/bibliotecas/musica.aspx?l=1>.

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AAAnnonces, affiches et avis divers (Paris)
AFFAArchivo Familiar de Félix Antonio (Valladolid)
AGAArchivo General de la Administración (Alcalá de Henares)
AMUAgrupación Musical Universitaria (Valladolid)
ANMCAgrupación Nacional de Música de Cámara (Madrid)
Bd., Bde.Band, Bände
BDHBiblioteca Digital Hispánica [= virtual library of the BNE] (Madrid)
BETAVBiblioteca del Estudio Teológico Agustiniano de Valladolid (Valladolid)
BNEBiblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid)
BNFBibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris)
c., cc.compás, compases
CDMACentro de Documentación Musical de Andalucía (Granada)
CDMyDCentro de Documentación de Música y Danza [del INAEM] (Madrid)
CDOCCentre de Documentació de l’Orfeó Català [– Palau de la Música] (Barcelona)
CECritical Edition
CEDOACentro de Documentación y Archivo [de la SGAE] (Madrid)
CMConrado del Campo Manuscript
CNDMCentro Nacional de Difusión Musical [del INAEM] (Madrid)
CNMConcurso Nacional de Música
col(s).column(s), columna(s)
d. h., d. i.das heißt, das ist
Ders., Dies.Derselbe, Dieselbe
e. g.exempli gratia (for example) ← 23 | 24 →
ECCAEscuela de Composición y Creación de Alcoy
ed(s)., éd(s).editor(s), éditeur(s), editor(es)
EMECEditorial de Música Española Contemporánea (Madrid)
et al.et alii
Ex., Ej.example, exemple, ejemplo
f., ff.following, folgende
FJM Fundación Juan March (Biblioteca Española de Música y Teatro Contemporáneo)
GMGazeta de Madrid
hrsg., Hrsg.herausgegeben, Herausgeber
i. e.id est
ICCMUInstituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales (Madrid)
INAEMInstituto Nacional de las Artes Escénicas y de la Musica (Madrid)
incl., inkl.inclusive, inklusive
IRCAMInstitut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (Paris)
ISCMInternational Society of Contemporary Music
JAEJunta de Ampliación de Estudios
JJMMJuventudes Musicales
JlibJournal de la Librairie (Paris)
m., mm.measure, measures
Mov(s).movement(s), movimiento(s)
ms(s)Manuskript(e), manuscript(s), manuscrit(s), manuscrito(s)
n. d.no date
n. e.no editor
n. p.no place
no., n.º, nº, Nr.number, número, numéro, Nummer
o. D.ohne Datum
o. J.ohne Jahr
o. V. ohne Verlag
op. cit.opere citato
p., pp.page, página, pages, páginas
PM Parts Manuscript
RABASFReal Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (Madrid) ← 24 | 25 →
RCSMMReal Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid
resp.respective, beziehungsweise
rev.revision, revisión, revised, revidiert
RISMRépertoire International des Sources Musicales
RNERadio Nacional de España
s., ss.siguiente, siguientes
s. f. sin fecha
s. l.sin lugar
s. p.sin número de página
SABAMSociété des Auteurs Belges – Belgische Auteurs Maatschappij (Bruxelles)
SACEMSociété des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Éditeurs de Musique (Neuilly sur Seine)
SGAESociedad General de Autores y Editores (Madrid)
sig., Sig.signature, signatura, Signatur
SIMCSociedad Internacional de Música Contemporánea
SMISociété Musicale Indépendante (Paris)
SNSociété Nationale de Musique (Paris)
TUMEH Tamagawa University Museum of Educational Heritage (Tokyo)
u. a.unter anderem
UMEUnión Musical Española (Madrid)
vol., vols.volume, volumes / volumen, volúmenes
vs. versus

Library Sigla

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Fuentes documentales del cuarteto de cuerda en España (1770-c1920)

Los orígenes

Al igual que en otros países europeos, la música de cámara, y el cuarteto de cuerda en particular, fueron cultivados en la España ilustrada por músicos aficionados o profesionales que solían reunirse en veladas de carácter privado llamadas «academias». Estas reuniones aparecen descritas en diversas fuentes literarias y, particularmente, en el poema La Música (1779) de Tomás de Iriarte,1 quien además de ser uno de nuestros más conocidos literatos de la época, fue también intérprete de violín y viola y, al parecer, compositor de cuartetos actualmente perdidos. Academias entusiastas intervenían en el seno de la Sociedad Vascongada de Amigos del País, y en los medios burgueses y aristocráticos de Cádiz, Barcelona o Madrid, donde brillaron las sesiones musicales de los Duques de Villahermosa, Marqueses de Manca, Conde de Clavijo, Duques de Alba o los Osuna-Benavente, que veneraban la figura de Haydn de manera casi obsesiva. Aunque los círculos cortesanos eran los más proclives a la música de cámara, el cuarteto de cuerda clásico, junto a otras formas de la música instrumental (sinfonías, oberturas, sonatas, etc.), también se practicó habitualmente en instituciones eclesiásticas, tal como testimonia la presencia de buen número de piezas para esta formación en archivos de catedrales y conventos.2 ← 31 | 32 →

No obstante, el centro más importante de actividad camerística de esos años estuvo en la corte de Carlos IV, de cuya melomanía conservamos abundantes testimonios desde su larga etapa como Príncipe de Asturias. Carlos era además músico aficionado y solía interpretar partes de violín en los cuartetos ejecutados por su Real Cámara; las reformas en la organización de la música palaciega y la presencia en el Palacio Real de Madrid, desde 1772, de los famosos instrumentos Stradivarius3 que el Príncipe hizo traer de Italia, atestiguan ampliamente su interés por la música de cámara. También está muy documentada la afición de otros miembros de la familia real: el infante Don Gabriel estudió música con el Padre Antonio Soler, autor de unos quintetos para cuerda y tecla, y Don Luis de Borbón, hermano de Carlos III, fue patrón de Luigi Boccherini, quien compuso para él cientos de obras de cámara que sonaron en toda Europa, gracias a más de trescientas ediciones publicadas en vida del autor.4

En este gran impulso experimentado por la música de cámara y el cuarteto de cuerda en la corte española intervinieron otros músicos, como Francesco Corselli, maestro de la Real Capilla y autor de un Concertino para cuarteto de cuerda (1770)5 y, sobre todo, Gaetano Brunetti, director de la Real Cámara muy apreciado por el rey Carlos IV, para cuyo círculo compuso ocho series de cuartetos de cuerda entre 1774 y 1793. A pesar de que el Diario de Madrid anunció la publicación, por deseo expreso del monarca, de las obras de Gaetano Brunetti que se guardaban en la colección real, ni han llegado hasta nosotros ejemplares de dichas ediciones madrileñas, ni nos consta que finalmente llegaran a realizarse;6 lamentablemente, las fuentes de sus cuartetos permanecieron ← 32 | 33 → manuscritas y actualmente se conservan fuera de España. Después de más de dos siglos de olvido, la figura de Brunetti, sus cuartetos y el conjunto de su música de cámara empiezan, por fortuna, a escucharse de nuevo, a atraer la atención de los investigadores y a generar publicaciones.7 Otros músicos extranjeros que trabajaron para la corte española también nos dejaron cuartetos, como el opus 2 del portugués João Pedro Almeida Motta (1798),8 músico «Au service du Roi d’Espagne», según reza el ejemplar conservado en la Staatsbibliothek de Berlín,9 o los que el francés Alexandre Guénin dedicó a Carlos IV y que conserva el Archivo del Palacio Real de Madrid.

En contraste con la abundancia de cuartetos del último tercio del siglo XVIII producidos por músicos italianos, austriacos, alemanes, bohemios o franceses, la escasez de cuartetos compuestos por españoles es realmente llamativa: actualmente solo conocemos 36 piezas escritas en esa época por Manuel Canales, José Reynoso, José Teixidor, Pedro Santamant,10 Pau Marsal Bogunyà,11 Manuel Ibeas12 y el «caballero ← 33 | 34 → aficionado» Enrique Ataide.13 También sabemos que algunos españoles más exploraron el género aunque de momento sus cuartetos no hayan aparecido; en este caso están los ya citados de Tomás Iriarte, los del tratadista Fernando Ferandiere, o los compuestos por los integrantes de la Real Capilla, Juan Oliver y Ramón Monroy. De cualquier modo, con apenas una decena de autores conocidos, en su mayor parte también intérpretes, resulta evidente que, aunque aparecieran nuevas fuentes, seguiríamos estando ante una forma musical muy poco practicada por los compositores españoles del siglo XVIII. Parte de la explicación podría estar en la pérdida de muchas fuentes bibliográficas (aunque las referencias de época coinciden en gran medida con las conservadas), en el carácter siempre minoritario de la música de cámara, en la precariedad de nuestra imprenta musical y en la limitación del mercado, cubierto suficientemente con productos importados; no obstante, esto no lo explica todo, y sin duda hay mucho de cierto en la hipótesis que proponen algunos investigadores: como el cuarteto no surgió de una evolución musical propia, los compositores españoles nunca llegaron a dominarlo técnicamente, siempre lo consideraron algo ajeno y no se identificaron plenamente con él. Si la prueba inequívoca de la popularidad de un género es la abundancia de copias de uso privado, como sucede a menudo en la música vocal, del mismo modo la escasez de copias manuscritas de cuartetos podría interpretarse como una señal más de un consumo muy restringido, independientemente de que hayamos conservado en nuestros archivos y bibliotecas un número bastante elevado de impresos extranjeros de esa época.14 ← 34 | 35 →

El vacío del siglo XIX

Pero la escasez de composiciones españolas para cuarteto no es un fenómeno exclusivo del siglo XVIII. Sorprende comprobar que mientras se producía en otros países europeos un desarrollo extraordinario de esta especialidad musical y, consecuentemente, se incrementaba su producción editorial, en la España del siglo XIX se acentuaba aún más su práctica minoritaria, quedando reservada a unos pocos profesionales que actuaban en teatros y salas de concierto. El auge de la música doméstica, cultivada masivamente por aficionados, no estimuló en España la producción de cuartetos, como puede comprobarse en el Registro de Propiedad Intelectual,15 quizás el más fiel retrato de nuestra producción comercial de música; dejando al margen algunas piezas de cámara publicadas para cuerda con piano o para cuerda y voces, solamente se registraron dos piezas breves para cuarteto de cuerda en toda la segunda mitad del siglo XIX y, aun así, en forma de arreglos para piano.16 Además de esta carencia de fuentes, otra evidencia de la escasa asimilación por parte de los músicos españoles de la forma y los desarrollos armónicos del cuarteto, y de su falta de familiaridad con él, es la frecuencia con la que se refieren en sus títulos al carácter experimental de las composiciones, tales como «ensayo sobre este género de música», al «estilo antiguo», «cuarteto clásico», etc., que denotan su carácter de iniciación, su condición de materia de estudio, sin la espontaneidad de una experiencia bien interiorizada. Buen ejemplo de ello debió de ser la obra de Benito Núñez, un músico que llegaría a ser profesor de violín ← 35 | 36 → de la Escuela de San Eloy de Salamanca tras presentar en noviembre de 1839 dos cuartetos de cuerda y una obertura, con el fin de obtener el título de «Consiliario de Mérito» de dicha Escuela.17

En contraste con el gran repertorio del cuarteto europeo y las obras magistrales de Beethoven, Schubert o Mendelssohn, España tan solo aportó en la primera mitad del siglo XIX los excelentes cuartetos de Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga (1806–1826), transmitidos a través de numerosas fuentes manuscritas e impresas,18 y que aún se mantienen en el repertorio de muchas agrupaciones. Del mismo periodo conservamos algunas piezas anónimas que, a pesar de estar escritas para dos violines, viola y violonchelo, no tienen la típica estructura del cuarteto de cuerda y se presentan en movimiento único, temas con variaciones, ejercicios de composición, arreglos de fragmentos operísticos, etc. Apenas quedan de aquella época yerma un cuarteto de Agustín José Páez Cuervo (1795?–1849) y otros dos de su hermano Juan Páez Cuervo (1803?–1878), conservados en un manuscrito fechado en 1841;19 también han sobrevivido unas Variaciones y rondó en cuarteto, desgraciadamente muy incompletas, en un manuscrito de los primeros años del siglo realizado por Andrés Rosquellas (1782–1827), violinista ← 36 | 37 → famoso por su habilidad e integrante de la Real Cámara.20 Según nos cuenta Antonio Peña y Goñi, en el Madrid fernandino la única música de cámara y los únicos cuartetos de cuerda que podían escucharse eran los que se daban en el piso bajo de la botillería de Canosa (1822) o en las casas particulares de dos ministros melómanos, Juan Gualberto González y José de Aranalde, que tocaban el violín y el violonchelo junto a los profesionales.21


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2017 (September)
String Quartet Chamber Music Instrumental Music Spain 18th Century 19th Century 20th Century 21th Century Musical Analysis Musical Style Reception Interpretation Edition Primary Sources
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2017. 982 pp., 48 b/w tables, 177 Examples of notes

Biographical notes

Christiane Heine (Volume editor) Juan Miguel González Martínez (Volume editor)

Christiane Heine studied Musicology, Medieval History, Art History and Hispanic Philology at the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg/Germany (PhD 1992). Since 1993 she holds a professorship in Music Analysis at the University of Granada/Spain. From 2012 to 2015 she coordinated a national R&amp;D project focused on Spanish chamber music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Juan Miguel González Martínez is graduated in Hispanic Studies from the University of Murcia/Spain (PhD 1996) and qualified as a Recorder Senior Professor at the Conservatory of Music in Murcia. He received his bachelor’s degree in Musicology from the University of Granada. Currently he holds a professorship in Art History at the University of Murcia.


Title: The String Quartet in Spain