Generation of ’27, Part 1 “Regino Sáinz de la Maza”

Regino Sáinz de la Maza

This is a continuation of: 'A historic classical guitar maker: Hernández y Aguado'.

Previously, the guitarist Sáinz de la Maza was mentioned in connection with his important role in the guitars of “Hernández y Aguado”.

This time, I’d like to talk about his huge contribution to the guitar with a short biography. He is also known as an important figure of the “Generation of ’27″.

 

Generación del 27:

Around 1927, an influential group of Spanish poets united to share their concerns about aesthetic and life. Their first formal meeting took place at “Ateneo de Sevilla” (Sevilla) to pay tribute to the baroque poet ”Luis de Góngora” for the 300th anniversary of his death.

The official members of the “Generation of ’27″ are limited to ten authors: Jorge GuillénPedro SalinasRafael AlbertiFederico García LorcaDámaso AlonsoGerardo DiegoLuis CernudaVicente AleixandreManuel Altolaguirre y Emilio Prados.

However, this cultural movement was very extensive. Besides the listed members above, there were large numbers of writers, novelists, essayists, dramatists, painters, filmmakers, and musicians who belonged to this group. Among the key figures in music, there were: Manuel de Falla, Joaquín Rodrigo, Frederic Mompou, Salvador Bacarisse, Ernesto/Rodolfo Halffter, etc.

To begin with, I’d like to focus on Federico García Lorca; one of the greatest poets, Salvador Dalí, the surrealist painter; and Manuel de Falla, one of the most significant composers. I will write about the friendship of these three artists with Sáinz de la Maza on the future essay.

Though it is difficult to define the concept of this generation in simple terms, one of the most distinguishable characteristics would be the tendency to find the balance between two opposite ideas or values.

The situation of this time in Spain has always fascinated me. Spain was aesthetically divided in two opposite values: tradition and renovation, academic formalism and avant-guards, inspiration and discipline, etc. The artists of this generation achieved to combine these conflicting aesthetic values organically, through nationalistic elements.

 

[Short Biography of Regino Sáinz de la Maza]

Regino Sáinz de la Maza y Ruiz (Burgos, 7 September 1896—Madrid, 26 November 1981), begun his studies of the guitar, solfège and piano at the age of 10, and harmony at the age of 14. When he was 17, he attended the first guitar lesson in Madrid by Daniel Fortea (1882-1953), the most direct pupil of Francisco Tárrega.

In 1917, he began his career of concert guitarist in Barcelona.

In 1920, he made debut in Madrid collaborating with Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) at the “Lara theatre”. In the same year, he met Federico García Lorca in the Residencia de Estudiantes (this institution was founded with the aim of making a Madrid version of Oxford and Cambridge Universities).

In 1935, he was named the first professor of guitar at the “Madrid Music Conservatory”. The maestro was well known for being very strict with his pupils demanding discipline.

In 1940, the world première of Joaquín Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez” in Barcelona. This famous concerto for guitar and orchestra was commissioned by Sáinz de la Maza and “Marqués de Bolarque”, a wealthy patron of art.

After the dedicated work of conserving music of the 16th century and making it available in the repertoire of the guitar, he published an essay “The guitar and its history” (1955, the Ateneo of Madrid).

In 1958, he became a member of the “Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando of Madrid”. He gave a conference called “The music of lute, vihuela and guitar from Renaissance to Baroque”. The guitar was recognised by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts for the first time in the music history in Spain.

Video: 
TVE Interview (in Spanish)
TVE Interview (in Spanish)

Next: Generation of ’27, Part 2 “Regino Sáinz de la Maza”

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