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Researchers of the University of Oviedo trace and recover the lyrical heritage of the Spanish 19th Century

The work of search and edition of scores has led to the recovery of dozens of works of repertoire and songs that had not been heard again since their debut more than 100 year ago

What is the sound of the Spanish 19th Century, a historically convoluted and unknown time from a musical point of view. Tracing and recovering the soundtrack of the times has been the challenge faced by a group of researchers from the the University of Oviedo for two decades to recover the works of Spanish composers of the 19th Century. The team, led by professor María Encina Cortizo Rodríguez, and the tenured professor Ramón Sobrino from the Department of History of Arts and Musicology, has been in charge of the edition, interpretation and recording of dozens of works by Spanish authors that, in many cases, had not been played in any theater since their debut more than one hundred years ago. Thanks to their research, the opera Elena y Malvina, by Catalan Ramón Carnicer, will be performed at the National Auditorium during next June by the National Orchestra of Spain. Moreover, a version of the zarzuela Marina, by master Arrieta, can be currently seen at the Campoamor Theater, incorporating two new numbers found by the researchers from the University of Oviedo in the National Archive of the Almagro Theater. "These are two passages that were not in the original score: a duet and a sardana, which is one of the first that appear in the Spanish lyrical theater", María Encina Cortizo explains. The work by the Edition, Recuperation and Analysis of Spanish Music Heritage (ERASMUSH) research group, has been focused on recovering the musical lyrical and symphonic heritage of Spanish authors of the 19th Century. Thus, they have recovered from oblivion works that are completely unknown by programmers, performers and reserachers. The scarce symphonic tradition in the Spain of the time hid the works of numerous composers that, in many cases, have gone to private collections, institutional archives or even street markets. The musicologists of the University of Oviedo have managed to uncover the tracks of many of these works to edit a score. This is the case of Ildegonda o La conquista de Granada, two operas written by Emilio Arrieta. The process of tracking and creating the scores has also included repertoire works that have been continuously performed. "In many cases, even if the compositions were sucessful at the time or if the had been performed later on, there are almost hand-crafted scripts and scores that are not a clean source for musicologists to study or perform them", says María Encina Cortizo Rodríguez. The roster of authors and genres studied is large. Arrieta, Barbieri, Monasterio, Marqués, Sarasate, Chueca, Bretón, Chapí, Granados, Barrios or Torrandell have been subject of study and many of their works have been edited and recovered, including operas and songs, symphonies and zarzuelas. The result of this work has been published in the collection Música Hispana of the Complutense Institute of Musical Sciences, an initiative created in 1992 by professor Emilio Casares and which has had an important role at the University of Oviedo. Throughout these two decades, the research work has also focused on the recovery of Asturian authors from the 19th Century and the beginnings of the 20th Century, such as Facundo de la Viña, from Gijón, or María Teresa Prieto, one of the few female Spanish authors of the time. Prieto lived in exile during the Civil War in Mexico, where her works were an interesting blend of Latin American rythms with traditional Asturian tunes. La elaboración de partituras llevada a cabo por los investigadores de ERASMUSH ha permitido ver sobre las tablas de prestigiosos escenarios piezas españolas como el Don Giovanni Tennorio de Carnicer, dirigida por el maestro Alberto Zedda, o las óperas Ildegonda y La conquista di Granata de Arrieta, que subieron al escenario del Teatro Real dentro del ciclo Los clásicos del Real, impulsado por Emilio Sagi en su etapa como director artístico del coliseo madrileño. Además, entre mayo y julio de 2014, subirá a las tablas del Teatro de Giessen (Alemania) La conquista di Granata de Arrieta en versión escénica. The composition of the scores made by the researchers of ERASMUSH has led to the performance in prestigious stages of Spanish works such as Don Giovanni Tennorio by Carnicer, directer by master Alberto Zedda, or the operas Ildegonda amd La conquista di Granata by Arrieta, which were performed at the Royal Theater as part of the cycle Los clásicos del Real, promoted by Emilio Sagi in his period as artistic director of the colloseum of Madrid. Moreover, between May and July 2014, the scenic version of La conquista di Granata by Arrieta will be performed in Giessen (Germany).