The origin of «Suspiros de España», the popular pasodoble composed in one hour


Updated:07/02/2021 00:32h


His notes have involved cante grande tasks all over the skin of a bull, such as the last afternoon of Morante de la Puebla in Córdoba on the day of Hispanidad. “Sighs of Spain” It is for many the biggest and most emotional pasodoble of all pasodobles.

Composed by the master Antonio Alvarez Alonso While entertaining the evening gatherings of a Cartagena café in the spring of 1902, his birth was that curious, as recounted in the book “The copla and the bulls”, by Manuel Román: «During one of the obligatory breaks, the teacher, who was also a composer although of little known work, met for a few minutes to talk with a group of friends. A lively discussion on whether Álvarez Alonso would be able to compose a piece in a few minutes. The bet was accepted by the musician, who only insisted that they specify what kind of piece they were demanding, so as not to resort to one that was already created. There was no deception in that sense and however the members asked him a double step, the master retired to a corner and after less than an hour, surprising as it may seem, finished his work accomplished. That he would premiere on that evening, amid the amazement of his countrymen, who nobly awarded him with loud ovations».

Confectionery and baptism

After that improvised premiere – there would be an “official” one for the Marine infantry– and as they made their way home, those who had witnessed the birth of this very popular paso doble insisted that the piece should be baptized. Thus came the inspiration: «The entourage stopped – Roman says -, at the request of the teacher, before the showcase of a well-known confectionery, which exhibited some sweets very appreciated in the Levantine area, and after observing them, the composer addressed the group: «I already have it! The pasodoble will be called “Suspiros de España”. The allusion was clear: the name of the cake and the Cartagena coffee ».

Two decades later, in 1925, it would be recorded for the first time. The voice of Conchita Supervía, Catalan lyrical mezzo-soprano. The composer Jose Antonio Alvarez Cantos, nephew of the creator of Martos, had put the letter to him. The beginning read like this: “Spanish is my love / I sigh for my Spain / from dawn. / Glow of blood and sun. / Pride of my Spain, / homeland, homeland …” Later, as explained in the aforementioned book, the letter would be modified, recorded by Lolita Seville, although not the score: «I feel sad emotion in me. / I am suffering away from you / and my heart is torn …»

“Suspiros de España” would also give the title to the 1939 film starring Estrellita Castro. «God wanted with his power / to melt four rays of sun / and make a woman with them./ And when fulfilling his will / in a garden in Spain I was born / like the flower in the rose bush./ Glorious land of my love / blessed land of perfume and passion. / Spain, in every flower at your feet / a heart sighs … »

Álvarez Alonso did not hear the Three notices while creating his “task”: not an hour tell that it took him to invent a masterful composition. A gentleman pasodoble.

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