Regino Sáinz de la Maza - Generation of ’27 – Part 1

Regino Sáinz de la Maza

The guitarist/professor Regino Sáinz de la Maza had an important role in the development of “Hernández y Aguado” guitars (Read the previous essay: Hernández y Aguado: A historic classical guitar maker in Spain).

The “Generation of ’27″ is a fascinating cultural movement of modern Spain and Maestro Regino Sáinz de la Maza also had an important role in it.

This and the following essays are about Maestro Regino Sáinz de la Maza and “Generation of ’27″ movement from guitarists' point of view.


[Short Biography of Maestro 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 recognized by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts for the first time in the music history in Spain.


Generation of ’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..

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 into two opposite values: tradition and renovation, academic formalism and Avant-guards, inspiration and discipline, etc.. The artists of this generation achieved to reconcile these conflicting aesthetic values organically through nationalistic elements.