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Roberto Gerhard

 1896 - 1970Roberto Gerhard Photo:


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Roberto Gerhard studied piano in Barcelona with Granados and composition with Pedrell, who aroused his interest in Catalan folk music * Pupil of Schoenberg in Vienna and Berlin (1923-28) * On return to Barcelona, first Spanish serial pieces included Wind Quintet * Worked during 1930s as composer, music professor and editor at Catalan Library * Undertook collaborative projects with Mirò in Ariel, and Massine and Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo in Soirées de Barcelone * After Civil War defeat of Republicans emigrated to Paris, settling finally in Cambridge * As an emigré, struggled to achieve musical recognition in UK * 1940s saw composition of ballet Don Quixote and opera The Duenna, which effectively combine Catalan folk elements with individualised serial technique * Music of 1930s and 40s is underpinned by infectious dance rhythms and colourful orchestration * Acclaim only came in 1960s, through support of BBC and numerous prestigious commissions * 1990s witnessed growing Gerhard interest, including first staging of The Duenna and two recording series on Auvidis and Chandos

Works by Roberto Gerhard include:
Don Quixote (1940-41,1947-49) Ballet in one act
Violin Concerto (1942-43)
The Duenna (1945-47) Opera in three acts
Symphony No.1 (1952-53)

"Melody is not necessarily embodied in 'lines' or 'tunes' alone. It can well up from within the music and suffuse even the most complex sound-structures. If I had to give a general characteristic of my own music, this would be it". — Roberto Gerhard

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