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La Virtuosa

( Manuel Saumell )

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) and is dedicated to the virtuous woman (la virtuosa). It is the only piece of the set of contradanzas on this site which is set as single theme.

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.