Regino Sáinz de la Maza and Federico García Lorca - Generation of ’27 – Part 2

Residencia de Estudiantes

The guitarist Regino Sáinz de la Maza and the poet Federico García Lorca met each other at the “Residencia de Estudiantes” in March 1920 (read the previous essay). Their solid friendship that lasted for 16 years, until the assassination of this brightest poet in 1936, contributed immensely to the development of both music and poetry.

Two months later, Sáinz de la Maza gave a recital at the Hotel Palace in Granada and Lorca wrote a passionate review for a local newspaper “Gaceta del Sur”.

Gaceta del Sur, Granada, May 27, 1920

Thursday 20th, one of the most interesting young Spanish artists, because of his life and his art, appeared in front of the audience in Granada. He is like Llobet and Segovia, a knight-errant who carries the guitar and travels all over the world, drinking landscapes up and leaving full of old melancholic music in exchange on his path (the neck of the guitar works well as a lance).

This Regino Sáinz de la Maza was, above all, a person full of interest. And he is also a melancholic person! Melancholic as the one who wants to fly and realises that he wears a pair of shoes made by iron; melancholic, as the one who goes to the cave of a witch with full of excitement, and finds out that it is decorated with the English furniture; melancholic, as all those who cannot show off the splendid wings that God put on our shoulders; Anatole France knows well about it!

The quality of the writing, his sense of humor, his passion for art, and his comprehension of music made this review truly remarkable.

Lorca’s surrealistic writing style is complex and elaborated despite its apparent simplicity. Here, Lorca beautifully plays with two contrasting opposites, such as between the Castilian character (serious and quietly dignified) of Regino and Andalusian character (charismatic and temperamental) of Lorca, and the melancholy of the guitar and Lorca’s sense of humor. This tendency symbolizes the idea of this generation: the reconciliation between two contradicting aesthetics. Externally opposite characters of the two artists are consolidated by the same internal aesthetic factor, the melancholy and nostalgia as a core element in the art. The contradiction also exists inside an individual, representing duality. The serious Castilian character of Regino will be described later as “nervous and passionate temperament”. In the same way, despite the typical Andalusian image of fun-loving Lorca, he reveals his other side of him with profound sadness and melancholy in his works.

This thirst for adventure, to enjoy new and unknown flowers found on his path, is in the art that brings back the Spanish vihuelists from the 16th century, who were sleeping in the old chests, covered by a web, maybe in the dream of obscurity. And this is what we sincerely should thank Sáinz de la Maza for! He picks up the paper from the decalcomania, and the 16th century shows us the (Fête) galante vignette. There are neither steel helmets nor huge sword, but a pair of big eyes and a smile of love.

His writing style is very visual, dynamic, and almost theatrical; Lorca was a brilliant dramatist too. I find his use of the "old decalcomania" very interesting, given that the decalcomania was created and used by the Surrealists to obtain the unconsciousness from both parties: the artist and the viewer.

Lorca and the other artists of this generation opposed to the Realism and embraced the Surrealism. Among these artists, there are Vicente Aleixandre, the writer; Salvador Dalí, the painter; Luis Buñuel, the filmmaker.

The 16th-century Spanish vihuelists are usually based on folk tunes for their compositions, giving a simple development within a delightful and naive sound.

[...]

Unrefined tunes created by people with full of passion are collected by the vihuelists and transferred to the Court, where they acquire such fine and amatory accent that characterizes themselves.

The melancholy and the happiness of Diego de Narváez* and Mudarra, the hidden sadness of that delicate artist Luis Milán revived in the 20th century Spain thanks to this eminent guitarist who researched with passion, looking for yellowish scrolls at the old libraries, and dignified this poor and slandered guitar in a definitive manner.

*possibly Luys de Narváez

In addition to those pieces, Sáinz de la Maza reveals his nervous and passionate temperament in Bach, Chopin, Sor, Tárrega, Mendelssohn, Granados, etc. These were performed in a right and emotional manner. Sometimes with too much passion. Where is the best place to leave emotion than those six lyrical veins of this utterly difficult instrument?

Though this musician doesn’t belong to the Expressionist school, his interpretation is deeply moving and of natural beauty. The audience who attended on Thursday at the Palace was left delighted with his technique and simplicity.

Gaceta del Sur, Granada, May 27, 1920
 
 
Photo: Ketamino (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Residencia_de_Estudiantes—Recepción.jpg), "Residencia de Estudiantes—Recepción", modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode