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Rítmicas;
Tambuco Percussion Ensemble;
Dorian 90245 (1997)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tanzago: Music of Latin America
Suite de La Rebambaramba
(8:56)
New World Symphony
Michael Tilson-Thomas, Conductor
Argo 436 737 2 (1993)
Reissued by ArkivMusic.com with liner notes (2007)

 

 

 

Cuba Piano
Canción de cuna di niño negro
Luiz de Moura Castro, piano
Ensayo 9722 (2000)

 

 

 

Home -> Composers -> Roldán, Amadeo

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Amadeo Roldán y Gardes  (1900-1939)

Afro-Cuban Composer, Violinist and Conductor

Leading Member of Afrocubanismo Style


 


Table of Contents

  1 Birth
  2 Madrid Conservatory
  3 Orquesta Filarmonica
  4 Afrocubanismo
  5 La Rebambaramba
  6 Rítmicas
  7 Leading Cuban Musician
  8 Death
  9 Recordings
  10 Works
  11 Bibliography
 

 

 

 

Centenario Natalicio de Amadeo Roldan
(Centennial of Birth of Amadeo Roldan)
Cuba Stamp 2000
 

Audio Samples
1
Dorian 90245 (1997); Rítmicas; Tambuco Percussion Ensemble; Camerata
   de las Américas; Ricardo Gallarda, Conductor
    a Rítmica 5
    b
Rítmica 6

2 MSR Classics MS 1242 (2008); ASA Piano Music by Composers of African Descent; William Chapman Nyaho, piano  Preludio Cubano

1 Birth
Amadeo
Roldán y Gardes was an Afro-Cuban composer, violinist, conductor and professor.  He was born on July 12, 1900.  Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, http://www.CasaMusicaledeLerma.com, has been writing about African heritage in classical music for four decades. His research entry for this page is an excerpt from a work in progress which will be an Encyclopedia of Black Classical Music.  Prof. De Lerma writes of Amadeo Roldán y Gardes:

He was born in Paris to Cuban parents. His mother, the Afro-Cuban pianist Albertina Gardes, encouraged a musical career not only for her son (who began the study of violin when five), but also for his siblings: mezzo-soprano María Teresa and cellist Alberto.

2 Conservatorio de Música
Roldán y Gardes attended the Conservatorio de Música in Madrid, Prof. De Lerma writes:

In 1908, now in Spain, he entered Madrid's Conservatorio de Música, studying with Conrado del Campo (composition) and Agustín Soler (violin) and later with Antonio Fernández Bordas (violin) and in Havana with Sanjuan. In 1916 he graduated, winning the school's Sarasate violin prize and joined the Orquestra Filarmónica de Madrid as violinist.

3 Move to Havana
Roldán y Gardes may have settled in Cuba as early as 1919, the research entry tells us:

He continued the study of violin after moving to Havana, perhaps as early as 1919,1 with Pedro Sanjuán.

He joined the Sociedad de Música de Cámera as violist in 1921, working under the leadership of Alberto Falcón, and the next year was violinist in the Orquesta Sinfónica de La Habana, directed by Gonzalo Roig.

1 Slonimsky (in Grove's) dates the move was in 1921.

 

4 Conducting
Prof. De Lerma describes the makeshift arrangements by which Amadeo Roldán y Gardes supported himself and also began composing:
 

During the earlier years in Cuba, while accepting ad hoc jobs to earn a sufficient income, he used odd moments for composing. In 1924 he became concertmaster in the orchestra as well as the opera. In 1925 he was appointed the orchestra's assistant conductor, becoming musical director in 1932, following the death of its founder, Pedro Sanjuán.

Rapidly becoming a major figure in Havana's musical life, in 1925 he was elected secretary of the Sociedad de Solidaridad Musical de La Habana, and in 1926 he began presenting new music in concert with Alejo Carpentier. In 1927 he established the Havana String Quartet. He became director of the Havana Conservatory in 1934. The Teatro Amadeo Roldán was constructed in 1929.3 CLARIFY:See footnote 133.

 

 

A vanguard composer,4 Roldán instituted Afrocubamismo, replacing the Italianate influences that permiated music of the Latin Americas. In this he was assisted by the non

1 Slonimsky (in Grove's) dates the move was in 1921.


 

2 He was on the first stand of the violas in 1922.


 

3 Following a fire, it was reopened in 1999 and is the venue for the Sunday concerts of the Orquesta Sinfónica de la Habana.


 

4 He objected to the neoclassical movement, unlike his students Juan Antonio Cámara, Virginia Flietes, Harold Gramatages, and Esther Rodriguez.


 

 

 

3 Orquesta Filarmonica 
The research entry of Dominique-René de Lerma continues:

He moved to Havana in 1919 and became a student of Pedro Sanjuan.

In 1924 he became concertmaster of Havana's Orquesta Filarmonica and, following the death of Sanjuan, its conductor.

Roldán's promotion to conductor of the Orquesta Filarmonica occurred in 1932. 

4 Afrocubanismo
In an article in Africana Encyclopedia, Roanne Edwards notes that Amadeo Roldán was one of the leading members of the style of composition known as Afrocubanismo.  She gives these examples of works in the style:

String Quartet  Poema negro  (1930)
Ballet  La Rebambaramba  (1928)
Orchestral Piece  Rítmica V

5 La Rebambaramba
Suite de La Rebambaramba  (8:56) and 
Rítmica V  (2:42) were recorded on CD by the New World Symphony, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, Argo 436 737 2 (1993).  In the liner notes Simon Wright appraises Amadeo Roldán's role in the classical music of Cuba:

An enthusiastic conductor and composer, Roldán put 'serious' Cuban music on the map by primarily bringing Afro-Cuban rhythms and sounds to the concert hall.  They were the inspiration behind the ballet  La Rebambaramba(1927-28), based on a scenario by Alejo Carpentier depicting Havana's low-life on the day of Epiphany in 1830.

This recording has been reissued with liner notes by ArkivMusic.com (2007).

6 Rítmicas
The Tambuco Percussion Ensemble has recorded Roldán's Rítmica V (2:14) and Rítmica VI  (2:00), both composed in 1930, on the CD Rítmicas, Dorian 90245 (1997).  Guest performers include Camerata de las Américas, and the
works are conducted by Ricardo Gallardo.  The liner notes compare these
compositions to a piece by the avant-garde composer Edgar Varése:

Along with Edgar Varése's Ionisation, the Ritmicas  written by Amadeo Roldán are considered as pioneers' works that would open the ground for the development of a new gender in the twentieth century chamber music literature: The percussion ensemble.

Whilst  Ionisatiion
  explores timbric qualities of each instrument and the resulting sound mass of the whole ensemble, Roldán's work integrates polyrhythmic qualities, freshness and vital energy of both music and instruments of afro-cuban origin, in two short pieces that, in spite of being small in terms of duration, are gigantic in their accomplishments and relevance of their original ideas.

7 Leading Cuban Musician
The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music says of Roldan:

Initially playing viola in the Philharmonic's chamber music society, in 1927 he founded the Havana String Quartet, giving periodic contemporary concerts. He founded the Escuela national de musica in 1931; from 1935 to his death he taught at the Havana Conservatory, directing it from 1936 to 1938.  He was the leading Cuban musical figure of his day; as a composer he was the first to integrate Afro-Cuban elements into European-oriented concert music, and among the first to compose works for percussion only.

8 Death
Orchestral works listed in the Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music include  Obertura sobre temas cubanos  (1925),  Tres pequenos poemas (1926),  El milagro de Anaquillé  1929),  Tres toques  (1931) and  Marcha solemne  (1936). 
Roldán also wrote for wind quintet, percussion ensemble, voice and piano.  He died in Havana on March 2, 1939.
 

9 Recordings
Serenata Cubano, Centaur 2582 (2005) features Nohema Fernandez on piano.  The program includes
Roldán's  Preludio Cubano  (1:46) and  Mulato (2:07).

Cuba Piano,  Ensayo 9722 (2000) is a CD on which pianist Luiz de Moura Castro performs the composer's work Cancion de cuna del nino negro.

10 Works
Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma

A Chango, for 4 lutes (1928). Première: Hermanos Aguilar.

2 Canciones populares, for violoncello & piano (1928). New York: Southern Music. 1. Canto criollo; 2. Guejira.

LP: Adolfo Odnoposoff, cello; Bertha Huberman, piano. Panart 4001.

----- for guitar/

LP: Leo Brouwer, guitar. Musical Heritage Society MHS-3839 (The classics of Cuba; 1972).

Cubanas  (WRIGHT)

Danza negra, for voice, 2 clarinets, 2 violas & percussion.

El milagro de Anaquillé, ballet (1929).

La remabaramba, ballet in 1 act and 2 scenes (1928). Scenario: Alejo Carpentier.

----- Suite. 1. Final del 1er cuadro; 2. Interludio; 3. Comparsa lucumí;
4. Comparsa de la culebra; 5. Final.


CD: New World Symphony; Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor. Argo 436.737 (Tanzago; Music of Latin America).

Llamada, para despertar a Papa Montero, for clarinet, 2 violins, 2 violas, violoncello & timpani.

Motivos de son, for high voice & orchestra (1934).

----- 1. Negro bembón.

AC: Iris Burguet, soprano; Orquesta Naciónal de Cuba; Enrique Ginzakes-Mantici, conductor.

----- 2. Mulata.

AC: Iris Burguet, soprano; Orquesta Naciónal de Cuba; Enrique Ginzakes-Mantici, conductor.

----- ?. Búcate plata.

AC: Iris Burguet, soprano; Orquesta Naciónal de Cuba; Enrique Ginzakes-Mantici, conductor.

Mulato, for piano. New York: Peer International, 1965. 6p. (#918-5).

3 Pequeñas poemas, for orchestra (1926). 1. Oriental; 2. Pregón; 3. Fiesta negra.  Duration: 14:00.

AT: Orquesta Naciónal de Cuba; Manuel Duchon-Cusan, conductor (1979/I/22).

LP: Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra; Enrique González-Mántici, conductor. Melodiia D-014653-64a

2 Piezas infantiles, for piano (1937). New York: Carl Fischer (Masters of our day). 1. El diablito baila; 2. Canción de cuna de niño negro.

LP: Alex Blin, piano. Da Camera SP-93106 (1965).

----- 1. El diabolito baille, for guitar, arr. by Leo Brouwer (1955).

LP: Leo Brouwer, guitar. Erato STU-70669.

LP: Leo Brouwer, guitar. Musical Heritage Society MHS-3839 (1972).

----- 2. Canción de cuna di niño negro

CD: Luiz de Moura Castro, piano. Ensayo 9722 (1991).

LP: Alex Blin, piano. Da Camera SP-93106 (1965).

Poema negra, for string quartet (1939).

Preludio (WRIGHT)

Rítmica, no. 1, for woodwind quintet & piano (1930). New York: Southern Music Publishing Co, 1959.

LP: Henriette Roget, piano; soloists of the Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française; Georges Tzipine, conductor. Angel 35105.

LP: Henriette Roget, piano; soloists of the Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française; Georges Tzipine, conductor. Columbia FCX-220.

Rítmica, no. 5; Tiempo de son, for percussion ensemble (1930). New York: Southern Music Publishing Co., 1967. 12p. & parts.

CD: New World Symphony percussionists; Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor. Argo 436.737.

CD: Rodrigo Alvarez, Gerardo Contreras, David Espinoza, Armano Zarquera, Richardo Gabriela Jiménez, Israel Moreno, Claudia Oliveira, Armando Zerquera, percussion; Tambuco Percussion Ensemble [Alfredo Bringas, Iván Manzanilla, Raúl Tudón]; Ricardo Gallardo, conductor. Dorian DOR 90245 (1996; Rítmicas).

LP: Manhattan Percussion Ensemble [Zita Carno, Michael Rosenberg, claves; Gerald Jacobosky, claves, quijada; Richard Allen, claves & cencerro; Sal Buccola, güiro; Don des Roches, maracas; Ray de Roches, bongos; Edward Cornelius, timbales cubanos; Warren Smith, timbales orquesta; Damon Buckley, bombo; George Boberg, marimbula]; Paul Price, conductor. Mainstream MS-5011 (ca. 1955).

LP: Manhattan Percussion Ensemble [Zita Carno, Michael Rosenberg, claves; Gerald Jacobosky, claves, quijada; Richard Allen, claves & cencerro; Sal Buccola, güiro; Don des Roches, maracas; Ray de Roches, bongos; Edward Cornelius, timbales cubanos; Warren Smith, timbales orquesta; Damon Buckley, bombo; George Boberg, marimbula]; Paul Price, conductor. Time 58000.

LP: Manhattan Percussion Ensemble [Zita Carno, Michael Rosenberg, claves; Gerald Jacobosky, claves, quijada; Richard Allen, claves & cencerro; Sal Buccola, güiro; Don des Roches, maracas; Ray de Roches, bongos; Edward Cornelius, timbales cubanos; Warren Smith, timbales orquesta; Damon Buckley, bombo; George Boberg, marimbula]; Paul Price, conductor. Time 8000.

Rítmica, no. 6. Tiempo de rhumba, for percussion ensemble (1930). New York: Southern Music, 1967. 12p. & parts.

CD: Rodrigo Alvarez, Gerardo Contreras, David Espinoza, Armano Zarquera, Richardo Gabriela Jiménez, Israel Moreno,Claudia Oliveira, Armando Zerquera, percussion; Tambuco Percussion Ensemble [Alfredo Bringas, Iván Manzanilla, Raúl Tudón]; Ricardo Gallardo, conductor. Dorian DOR 90245 (1996; Rítmicas).

LP: Manhattan Percussion Ensemble [Zita Carno, Michael Rosenberg, claves; Gerald Jacobosky, claves, quijada; Richard Allen, claves & cencerro; Sal Buccola, güiro; Don des Roches, maracas; Ray de Roches, bongos; Edward Cornelius, timbales cubanos; Warren Smith, timbales orquesta; Damon Buckley, bombo; George Boberg, marimbula]; Paul Price, conductor. Mainstream MS-5011 (ca. 1955).

LP: Manhattan Percussion Ensemble [Zita Carno, Michael Rosenberg, claves; Gerald Jacobosky, claves, quijada; Richard Allen, claves & cencerro; Sal Buccola, güiro; Don des Roches, maracas; Ray de Roches, bongos; Edward Cornelius, timbales cubanos; Warren Smith, timbales orquesta; Damon Buckley, bombo; George Boberg, marimbula]; Paul Price, conductor. Time 58000.

LP: Manhattan Percussion Ensemble [Zita Carno, Michael Rosenberg, claves; Gerald Jacobosky, claves, quijada; Richard Allen, claves & cencerro; Sal Buccola, güiro; Don des Roches, maracas; Ray de Roches, bongos; Edward Cornelius, timbales cubanos; Warren Smith, timbales orquesta; Damon Buckley, bombo; George Boberg, marimbula]; Paul Price, conductor. Time 8000.

11 Bibliography
Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma

“Catálogo cronológico de las obras mas importantes del compositor Amadeo Roldán” in Música y artes visuales, n38 (1953/IV) p19-20.

“La muerta del maestro Amadeo Roldán” in Estudios afrocubanos, v3 (1939) p109-121.

American music, v1n4, p80

Ardévol, José. "Testimonio sobre la obra de Amadeo Roldán" in La gaceta de Cuba, v7n71 (1969)

Ardévol, José. Introdución a Cuba: La música.  La Habana: Instituto del Libro, 1969. 195p. (Cuadernos populares, 5)

Ardévol, José. Música y revolución. La Habana: Ediciones Union, 1966. 223p.

Asche, Charles Byron. Cuban folklore traditions and twentieth-century idioms in the piano music of Amadeo Roldán and Alejandro García-Caturla. Graduate paper (D.M.A.) University of Texas, Austin, 1983. 101p.

Bakers 1992

Béhague, Gerard.  Music in Latin America; An introduction.  Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1979, p147-149, 151, 233, 234, 256, 259, 260.

Bennett p488

Black Music Research Center Digest v6n3, p4

Black music research journal, 1981-2, p84, 144; v10n2, p276

Bull 1964, 1974,

Bull, Storm. Index to biographies of contemporary composers, vol. 3. Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1987. xxiv, 854p. ISBN 0-8108-1930-9.

Carpentier, Alejo. "La música contemporénea de Cuba" in Revista musicale chilena, v3, n27 (1947/XII) p9-17.

Carpentier, Alejo. La música en Cuba.  México: Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1972, 1946. 282p. (Colección tierra firme, 19).

Carpentier. Alejo. “La música contemporánea de Cuba” in Revista musicalke chilena, v3, n27 (1947/12) p9-17.

Carter, Madison H. An annotated catalogue of composers of African ancestry.  New York: Vantage Press, 1986.

Chase, Gilbert. "Creative trends in Latin-American music" in Tempo, n50 (winter 1959) p25-28.

Compositores de America; composers of the Americas. Washington: Pan American Union, 1955.

Cowell, Henry. "Rímica no. 1, for wind quintet and piano" in Musical quarterly, v42 (1956/I) p118-119.

Cowell, Henry. "Roldán and Caturla of Cuba" in Modern music, v18n2 (1940) p98-99.

Cowell, Henry. “Motivos de son: a series of eight songs for soprano, with a small orchestra” in Musical quarterly, v36 (1950) p270.

Danuser 1987

Delpar, Helen, ed. “Roldán, Amadeo” in Encyclopedia of Latin America.  New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974, p539.

Ferdinand, Henning. "Roldán, Amadeo" in Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 196?, v9, c648.

Fernández-Bonilla, Raimundo. "Diálogo con Julian Orbón" in Exilio (1969/summer) p5-13. RILM 71/3949.

Fisk 1980, p9

Fleisher 1979

García Caturla, Alejando. “Posibilidades sinfónicas de ka música afrocubana” in Musicalia, n7 (1929/VII-VIII

Gonzáles, Hilario. “La rumba de Alejandro García Caturla” in Tono; Rebista del CENIDIM [México] (1982/I-III), p20-26.

Gramatages, Harold. "Bosquejo de la música cubana" in Buenos Aires musical, v12, n197 (1957/X/01) p2.

Gray 1988 & author index

Cuney-Hare, Maud. Negro musicians and their music, introduction by Josephine Harreld Love. New York: G. K. Hall, 1996, 1936. xl, xii, 439p. (African-American women writers, 1910-1940, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., general editor).

Horne, Aaron. String music by Black American composers. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1991 (Music reference collection, no. 33). xx, 327p. Foreword by Dominique-René de Lerma. ISBN 0-313-27938-1. +

Horne, Aaron. Woodwind music by Black American composers. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1990.

La Vega, Aurelio de. “Roldán, Amadeo” in The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians, ed. by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan, 1980, v16, p111-112.

León, Argeliers. “Las obras para piano de Amadeo Roldán” in Revista de música [La Habana] v1n4 (1960/10) p112-123.

Lerma 1981

Lerma, Dominique-René de. “Roldán of Cuba” in Baltimore Afro-American, v86n76 (1978/05/06) p13.

Lerma, Dominique-René de. Black music in our culture; curricular ideas on the subjects, materials, and problems. Kent: Kent State University Press, 1970, p178, 192, 198.

Lezcnao, José Manuel.  Afro-Cuban Rhythmic Elements in the Published Choral and Vocal Works of Alejandro Garcia Caturla and Amadeo Roldan. Disertation (Ph.D., Musicology) Florida State University. Research director: R. Smith. DDM Code: 79rhLezJ

Matthis, Olivia. “Roldán y Gardes, Amadeo” in International dictionary of Black composers, ed. by Samuel A. Floyd, Jr. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999, v2, p957-962.

Mead, Rita H. “Latin American accents in New music” in Revista de música latino americana, v3n2 (1982/fall-winter) p207-228.

Muñoz de Quevedo, María. "Orquesta filarmónica" in Musicalia, v1n3 (1928/IX-X) p104-109.

NANM 1991

Nena, Benítez. "Ante la tumba de Roldán" in Amadeo Roldán, by Antonio Quevedo. La Habana: n.p., 1939.

O’Mahoney, Terry. “An abbreviated history of Cuban music and percussion” in Percussive notes (II/1997) p14.

Pérez Sentenat, César. "Postrer triunfo de Amadeo Roldán" in Amadeo Roldán, by Antonio Quevedo. La Habana: n.p., 1939.

Pichugin, P. “Klassiki kubinskoÑ muzyki” in SovetskªÌa muzkya, v29 (1965/01) p114-121.

Quevedo, Antonio. Amadeo Roldán.  La Habana: n.p., 1939. 24p.

Rodríguez, Olavo Alén.  De lo afrocubano a la salsa. c1994.

Roldán, Amadeo. "The artistic position of the American composer" in American composers on American music, ed. by Henry Cowell. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1933, p177.

Roldán, Amadeo. “The artistic position of the American composer” in American composers on American music, ed. by Henry Cowell. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1961, p175-179.

Root, Deane L. “The Pan-American Association of Composers, 1928-1934” in Yearbook for interamerican musical research, v8 (1972) p49-70. RILM 73/958.

Simón, Pedro. "La música cubana en la danza" in Cuba en el ballet, v2n3 (September 1971) p36-45.

Slonimsky, Nicholas. “Roldán, Amadeo” in Baker’s biographical dictionary of musicians. 6th ed. New York: Schirmer Books, 1978, p1445.

Slonimsky, Nicholas.  Music of Latin America.  New York: 1972, 1945.

Southern, Eileen. “Roldan, Amadeo” in Biographical dictionary of Afro-American and African musicians.  Westport: Greenwood Press, 1982, p325-326. (The Greenwood encyclopedia of Black music).

Southern, Eileen. Biographical dictionary of Afro-American and African musicians. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1982. (The Greenwood encyclopedia of Black music).

Symphonium v5n1

Thomas 1989, p12, 31

Valdes de Guerra, Carmen. "Amadeo Roldán, músico e ejemplar" in Revista de música, v1n3 (1960/VII) p72-89.

Vanlandingham, Larry. "The percussion ensemble, 1930-1945" in Percussionist, v9n3 (1973/spring) p71-81.

Vinton, John. Dictionary of contemporary music. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1974.

White, Charles W.  Alejando García Caturla; A Cuban composer in the twentieth century. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2002. 304p. ISBN 0-8108-4381-1.

 

 

This page was last updated on January 1, 2016