José Avellaneda in RISM

Enrique Payo León

Thursday, September 30, 2021

We have received the following from Enrique Payo León (Universidad de Salamanca):

José Larena-Avellaneda y Rodríguez (José Avellaneda) was a violinist who lived between 1863 and 1920 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain). The development of his artistic career took him to London several times, but the activities of the musician in this city have not been documented yet. His most notable achievements include offering a few concerts with the prestigious composer Camile Saint-Saëns in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, being the concertmaster of the orchestra of the Philharmonic Society of Las Palmas for several seasons, but also owning a Stradivari and a Guarneri violin (as a bibliography states, yet to be corroborated).

The violinist offered 34 concerts during his life. The frequency of them started to decrease due to a long illness. In 1919, a few months before his death, José Avellaneda composed his nine pieces. They are inspired by the style of the composers admired by Avellaneda, such as J. S. Bach, C. Saint-Saëns, P. Sarasate and J. de Monasterio. Five of these little pieces are violin improvisations on Bach preludes for keyboard. The remaining four works are complete originals by Avellaneda: a lied for voice and piano, an Ave María for voice, violin and piano, and the two biggest pieces for violin and piano, based on Canarian folk songs.

This work of musical recovery started two years ago by the author of these lines. The project includes research on bibliography and oral testimonies, but also on the important archive of El Museo Canario (E-LPAm), which preserves the autograph manuscripts of the nine pieces that have just been published in RISM. This work will continue, and the critical edition of this music will be published in the next few months.

Photo credit: SIEMENS HERNÁNDEZ, Lothar: Historia de la Sociedad Filarmónica de Las Palmas y de su Orquesta y sus Maestros, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Sociedad Filarmónica de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1995, p. 148.

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