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Ayes del Alma

(Manuel Suamell)

This is an arrangement of a piano piece by the Cuban composer Manuel Saumell (1817 - 1870). It is an arrangement of a peasant dance (contradanza). This is the most dramatic of the set of contradanzas, Ayes del Alma means Sighs of the Soul. Wonderful to play, in your mind you hear the violins play drama. Fortunately the piece ends in a slightly optimistic mood.

Manuel Saumell was a self-taught musician who liven and worked in Havana, the Cuban capital. He was a forerunner of the cuban national movement (something like the Spanish national movement around Pedrell, with Albeniz and Granados as its important representatives) in which composers started to use their native music as subject in 'serious' classical music.

Although Saumell wrote a number of 'serious' works, he gained most acclaim with his piano arrangements of popular Cuban music, so many triplets and 3/4 - 6/8 rhythms. These contradanzas are a striking example of this style.

If you want to play this music: a nice collection is 'Six Contradanzas for Two Guitars' of Universal Gitarren Edition UE 18 986.