Al Andaluz

by Herman Rechberger

14 images from Moorish Spain

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Herman Rechberger

Al Andaluz

Music Finland


The Moors called Spain for Al-Andalus, a name which is up to the present day in use as Andalucía. In 711, the Moorish arrival made a strong impression on Spanish culture. Arab musical treatments were translated into Latin and disseminated throughout Spain and Arab musicians performed in Christian courts. The courts were important forces in the studies of music and, for example, Alfonso X (1221-1284) engaged the services of Castilian, Galician, Jewish and Muslim musicians. One could speak about a true multicultural activity. During the Spanish-Moorish period, important music schools have been founded, each of them with its own performing styles: Granada, Córdoba, Valencia and Seville. After the fall of the Moorish empire, these schools have been established in present Morocco (Fez, Tetouan, Meknez and Chefchaouen). Spain served as a gateway for a number of musical instruments used in Western music, particularly in Spanish music. Moorish music had a tremendous influence on the birth of flamenco, early Christian music, such as the Cantigas de Santa Maria, and later on, the nuba, which could be considered as a predecessor of the barock suite. This genre is still the most important musical form in the classical Arab music of North Africa. Among the significant instruments used in Western music, two of them are certainly of Arabian heritage: The lute (and its successor, the guitar) and several forms of horizontal folk harps (deviants from the qanun), among them the Finnish folk harp Kantele.

My suite "14 images of Moorish Spain" is a tribute to this illustrious culture. I combined (as it may have been practised in the Moorish period) different genuine styles with somewhat more contemporary attempts (in the spirit of the Moorish musicians). TOTAL DURATION: ca. 33 minutes. If for some reasons, there is no possibility to perform the entire suite, the following combinations should be chosen: 1,4,5,7,8,11,14 or 1,2,5,6,7,9,10,13,14 (whatever combination you choose, 1, 7 and 14 must always be included. Note: Because the guitarist has to retune there and then the sixth string, the Kantele could fill these spaces with small improvisations to make the changes more flowing. Another possibility is the use of guitars, one tuned to EADGBE and the other DADGBE.

- Herman Rechberger -


guit, kantele/hp


Chamber Works


1. Amanecer (Sunrise), 2. Meditación (Meditation), 3. Volta (Stroll), 4. Ornamento moresco (Moorish ornament), 5. Cantigas, 6. Pensamientos de un vigilante en el Alczar (Thoughts of a watchman in the Alcazar), 7. Arraks al-Magharbi (The Moorish dance), 8. Miniatura, 9. Taqasim, 10. Juegos de los niños gitanos (Gypsy children's games), 11. Córdoba, 12. Villancico, 13. Wasla, 14. Guadalquivir

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