Forbidden songs, forgotten treasures--the Canciones Liricas of Cuba: Part I.
Still, despite the travel and trade embargo, some singers dream of Cuba's sensuous melodies, its fusion of African, European Spanish, and Cuban folk rhythms, and its sultry and coquettish poetry. Because the island was forbidden to US citizens for decades, we continue to be intrigued and fascinated by its mystery--so close and yet so impossibly far.
Does Cuba have a classical music heritage? Specifically to singers, did native Cuban composers create and develop art song in the 19th and 20th centuries? From an island so small, is there Cuban song repertoire available to singers? Was this remote island so monopolized by slavery, sugar plantations, and chaotic governments that the arts couldn't survive or flourish? Which Cuban song composers bridged the semiclassical/classical world?
What constitutes true Cuban art song? Who is a true Cuban? If the composer immigrated to the U.S. as a child and was educated here, what is the nationality of the composer, Cuban or U.S.? Maya Hoover in A Guide to the Latin American Art Song Repertoire: An Annotated Catalog of Twentieth-Century Art Songs for Voice and Piano lists Joaquin Nin Culmell (1908-2004) as a Cuban composer. Nin Culmell was born in Berlin, educated in the U.S., Paris, and Spain, and after returning to the U.S. in 1938, he lived here until his death in 2004. Of his 96 years, Nin Culmell spent perhaps three years in Cuba (1909-1912). Is the decision regarding nationality based on parentage? Yes, Nin Culmell is considered a Cuban national because his father Joaquin Nin Castellanos (1879-1949) was born in Havana, and his mother was the Cuban-born singer, Rosa Culmell (1871-1954). (1)
At what point does one consider oneself culturally assimilated? In this researcher's opinion, Nin Culmell could be better categorized as a western European cosmopolitan composer who crafted songs on a variety of themes--Cuban, Catalan, Castilian, and Sephardic. He cannot be classified as purely Cuban because he spent most of his life outside of Cuba and was not educated there. Questions regarding nationality and primary influences, among other considerations, seek clarity on a variety of levels.
THE PROBLEM OF ACCESSIBILITY
Another problem in researching and performing Cuban repertoire has to do with accessibility. Although the Cuban publishing houses--Editora Musical de Cuba, Editorial Letras Cubanas, Carasa & Co., Universidad de La Habana, Ediciones del Patrimonio Musical de Cuba, Excelsior Music, Tipografia Musical Acosta, Imp. Molina y cia--printed many volumes of art songs in the first half of the 20th century, as of 2014 only Editora Musical de Cuba still exists. Sadly, most repertoire published after 1960 is held in only a few libraries worldwide and is not generally available for purchase.
Four art song anthologies, however, include Cuban song. Kathleen Wilson, editor, published a song by Orlando Garcia (b. 1954) and one by Alejandro Garcia Caturla (1906-1940) in The Art Song in Latin America (see Selected Bibliography). Patricia Caicedo, editor, published four songs--two by Gisela Hernandez (1912-1971) and two songs by Eduardo Sanchez de Fuentes (1874-1944)--in La Cancion Artistica en America Latina: Antologia Critica y Guia Interpretativa para Cantantes.
A third anthology, published by E. B. Marks Music Company, titled Always in My Heart: The Songs of Ernesto Lecuona = Siempre En Mi Corazon contains eleven songs by Ernesto Lecuona (1895-1963). This collection, distributed by Hal Leonard, can be acquired effortlessly in the U.S.; ten of the songs were recorded and popularized by tenor Placido Domingo. Of course, the question is: Are these songs considered classical or are they, like the songs of George Gershwin, renounced by classical singers, yet not truly embraced by popular singers? The singer will need to decide if the Lecuona songs are art song or vernacular in style. An adequate biography of Lecuona, included in the anthology, mentions his impressive contributions of 11 film scores, 400 songs, 52 theater pieces, an opera, and numerous piano solos. (2)
For the singer wishing to include other Lecuona songs on a program or aspiring to create a group of Cuban songs in a similar style, a fourth anthology is available. Emilio Grenet published seven other Lecuona songs in his Popular Cuban Music: 80 Revised and Corrected Compositions. This anthology, printed in 1939 and permanently out of print, is held in many libraries nationwide; it includes boleros, criollas, canciones, sones, cradlesongs, rumbas, and congas by thirty-one Cuban composers. In his introduction, "Cuban Music: Guide to its Study and Understanding," Grenet presented an excellent resource on the origins of Cuban song in which he describes Spanish, indigenous, rhythmic, and popular influences on Cuban music. The Table of Contents of this anthology is listed in Appendix A.
Cuban art song composers found inspiration in the writing of many poets, not only those native to Cuba, but also writers from other Latin American countries and those from Europe. The work of the Mexican poets Amado Nervo (1870-1919), Manuel Acuna (1849-1873), and Jose Peon y Contreras (1843-1907) was set, as was the poetry of Venezuelan Juan Liscano (1914-2001) and Nicaraguan Ruben Dario (1867-1916).
The European nationalist composers, Joaquin Nin Castellanos and his son Joaquin Nin Culmell, composed many song collections setting the folk poetry of Cuba, Andalucia, Salamanca, and Cataluna in their villancicos and cantos populares. The Nins were also inspired by several of Spain's Golden Age poets, including Miguel Cervantes (1547-1616) and Lope de Vega (1562-1635).
Romantic and Modern era peninsular Spanish poets--peninsular Spanish must be used here as Cuba was part of Spain until the Cuban War for Independence concluded with the signing of a peace treaty in 1898--were also important to Cuban song composition. Many Cuban composers set the poetry of Jose de Espronceda (1808-1842), Gustavo Adolfo Becquer (1836-1870), Juan Ramon Jimenez (1881-1958), Antonio Machado (1875-1939), Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), and Rafael Alberti (1902-1999).
Of the song repertoire listed here, Cuban composers were most inspired by the poetry of their compatriots--Mariano Brull (1891-1956), Dulce Maria Loynaz (1902-1997), Emilio Ballagas (1908-1954), Mirta Aguirre (1912-1980), and Gaston Vaquero (1916-1997).
Cuban nationalism, particularly in the poetry of Jose Marti (1853-1895), is evident in the songs of Eduardo Sanchez, Nin Culmell, Jose Ardevol, and many other composers. Marti voiced the cry for Cuban independence from the obtrusive dictates of Spain and the expansionist policies of the U.S. Marti died a martyr, fighting for Cuban independence. His name appears frequently in this article, and Appendix B lists the contents of a rare collection of canciones setting Jose Marti's poetry. This song anthology, Canciones Cubanas Con Textos De Jose Marti (Cuban Songs with Texts by Jose Marti), contains thirteen songs, twelve of which are settings of Marti poetry. Available via Interlibrary Loan (ILL), this collection is held in just two libraries worldwide.
Another Cuban nationalist poet, Nicolas Guillen (1902-1989), inspired Jose Ardevol, Gisela Hernandez, Hilario Gonzalez, Tania Leon, Danilo Aviles, Amadeo Roldan, Alejandro Garcia Caturla, and others. These composers, in their search for new and distinctive harmonic and rhythmic materials, were moved to include African and European influences in their music, fusing the vernacular with the art music of their traditional training. Like Guillen's poetry, the music is considered Afrocubano in style.
CUBAN ART SONG COMPOSERS
The following Cuban composers should be recognized for their contributions to the musical development of the cancion lirica in Cuba. Each entry, for voice and piano unless noted otherwise, includes a brief biography, compositions in other genres, and a list of art song repertoire.
Composers Born 1800-1910
Laureano Fuentes Matons (1825-1898), violinist, orchestral conductor, and composer, was born in Santiago de Cuba where he studied violin, theory, and composition with Severino Carranza, Juan Casamitjana, Juan Paris, and others. In 1840, Fuentes joined the Capilla de Musica de la Catedral de Santiago de Cuba as principal violinist.
Fuentes wrote several masses and requiems, a Stabat Mater, hymns and other sacred works, as well as a symphonic poem, four zarzuelas, orchestral works, the opera La Hija de Jefte, and small chamber works. A prolific composer, Fuentes also composed numerous works for solo piano, and voice and piano.
As a writer, Fuentes founded the musical magazine La Lira Cubana in 1846, and he wrote a book, Las Artes en Santiago de Cuba, in 1893. Fuentes participated in concerts given by Louis Moreau Gottschalk, the American pianist, and also with Adelina Patti, the renowned coloratura soprano. (3)
Fuentes's one-act zarzuela, Me Lo Ha Dicho la Portera, is available via ILL, but no other sheet music in any other genre is available. Jesus Gomez Cairo, however, vice president of the Instituto Cubano de la Musica and director of the Museo Nacional de la Musica in Havana, donated several scores to the Darrell W. Krueger Library at Winona State University:
"El eco del torrente" (Jose Zorrilla, poet)
"Sobre las aguas del Bayamo"
These songs are available through ILL.
Guillermo Manuel Tomas Bouffartigue (1868-1933), composer, flutist, and musicologist, was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, where he began his musical studies in flute, piano, theory, and composition with Sebastian Guell, Antonio de la Rubia, Ramon Solis, and Jose Manuel Jimenez. He spent many years in the U.S., studying and conducting, and in 1911, Tomas earned his doctorate in music at the Conservatory of Music, New York. Upon his return to Cuba, he conducted many concerts, bringing the music of Wagner, Bach, Haydn, and Mozart to his homeland, as well as performing the music of his contemporary Cubans.
Tomas made many contributions to musical life in Havana, including the founding in 1903 of the Escuela de Musica O'Farrill, later named the Conservatorio Municipal de La Habana and now the Conservatorio Amadeo Roldan. In 1908, he founded Bellas Artes, a magazine in which he collaborated with Henry T. Finch, Felipe Pedrell, and Joaquin Nin Castellanos.
Tomas, who composed in a late Romantic style, counts among his oeuvre music for piano, band, choir, chamber music, orchestral music, and the following art songs: (4)
"A una Eva" (Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, poet)
"Ausencia" (Heinrich Heine, poet)
"Canto de cuna" (anonymous poet)
"Canto de esperanza" (Heinrich Heine, poet)
"Canto de guerra" (Francisco Sellen, poet)
"El pino y la palmera" (Heinrich Heine, poet)
"Mensaje" (anonymous poet)
"!No! Canto de esperanza" (anonymous poet)
"?Por que tan duro rigor?" (Heinrich Heine, poet)
"?Que mas deseas mi bien?" (Heinrich Heine, poet)
"Si supieran" (Heinrich Heine, poet)
"Tenue" (Amado Nervo, poet)
The Prayer of the Believer, cantata for soloist, chorus, and band
"El pescador" (Jose de Espronceda, poet)
"Yo soy ardiente, yo soy morena" (Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, poet)
"Yo quiero" (Manuel Acuna, poet) Tres Canciones
"!No!" (Diego V. Tejera, poet)
"!Jamas!" (Manuel Acuna, poet)
"Tus pupilas negras" (Jose Peon y Contreras, poet)
"Tu tienes tus flores" (Jose Peon y Contreras, poet)
Much of this song repertoire is available through ILL.
Eduardo Sanchez de Fuentes (1874-1944), prolific composer and musicologist, was born in Havana (La Habana). Sanchez began his music studies in 1886 at the Conservatorio Hubert de Blanck, and later, he studied with Arturo Quinones, Carlos Anckermann, and Ignacio Cervantes. Setting a poem by his brother Fernando in 1892, Sanchez composed his tremendously successful habanera "Tu," which was disseminated throughout Spain and Latin America. (5) (Sheet music for "Tu" is available for free download at Petrucci Music Library.) (6)
Sanchez's habanera "Noemi" won first prize in the Sociedad Coral Chaminade competition in 1910, and when his Serenata Espanola was premiered in Spain in 1911, Sanchez was named the Cuban delegate to the International Congress of Music in Rome. The next year, his Fuga en Do for string quartet won the gold medal in the National Academy of Arts and Letters Competition. Sanchez's one-act opera, El Caminante, premiered in 1921 with tenor Tito Schipa and soprano Ofelia Nieto. Many other honors followed, including guest performances in Mexico (1922) and, with Alejandro Garcia Caturla, Sanchez represented Cuba at the 1929 Ibero-American Festival in Barcelona. In 1939, Sanchez presented a lecture on Cuban music at the International Music Congress in New York. Copies of this lecture and others are available through WorldCat.
As a tireless advocate for Cuban music and an author, Sanchez de Fuentes was very influential in the Cuban music scene, writing many books, including Viejos Ritmos Cubano: La Letra en Nuestras Canciones; Consideraciones Sobre la Musica Cubana, and Ignacio Cervantes Kawanag, Pianista y Compositor Eminente: Su Vida, Su Obra, Su Talento Creador, among others. (7)
Sanchez's compositions include dances, waltzes, and mazurkas for piano solo, an oratorio, a cantata, zarzuelas, a ballet, four operas, chamber music, and works for orchestra, as well as some 75 habaneras, criollas, and songs for voice and piano. Many of his songs are extant, including two that Caicedo published in her La Cancion Artistica en America Latina anthology: "Deseo" and "Canto de esclavos." (8) Five Sanchez songs are included in Grenet's Popular Cuban Music: 80 Revised and Corrected Compositions (listed in Appendix A), including the very popular "Tu." (9)
Thirty-eight Sanchez songs are published in the two volumes of Eduardo Sanchez de Fuentes Centenario, 1874-1974: Voz y Piano, and baritone Ramon Calzadilla and pianist Juan Espinoza recorded 31 of the songs. (10) For the Sanchez birth centenary, Ediciones del Patrimonio Musical de Cuba published two volumes of his songs, both of which are available through ILL. (11)
The twenty songs in volume one are:
1. "Romance del ingenio antiguo" (Pedro Lopez Dorticos, poet)
2. "La volanta" (text by the composer)
3. "Punto carretero" (text by the composer)
4. "Niebla" (Lola Rodriguez de Tio, poet)
5. "Canto de esclavos" (text by the composer)
6. "Intima" (Raquel Sanz, poet)
7. "Guajira" (Jose M. Carbonell, poet)
8. "Rosalinda" (text by the composer)
9. "Deseo" (text by the composer)
10. "Secreto" (Amado Nervo, poet)
11. "En el baile" (Hilarion Cabrisas, poet)
12. "Corazon" (text by the composer)
13. "Napolitana" (Francisco Villaespesa, Luis Sanchez de Fuentes y Sell, poets)
14. "Tu cancion" (text by the composer)
15. "Amor" (Juana de Ibarbourou, poet)
16. "Cuba" (J. Arango, poet)
17. "Dolorosa" ("Romanza de Enrique"; Federico Uhrbach, poet)
18. "Romanza de dolorosa" (Federico Uhrbach, poet)
19. "Doreya" (Hilarion Cabrisas, poet)
20. "Kabelia" (text by the composer)
Volume 2 contains:
1. "La cancion inicial" (Juan B. Delgado, poet)
2. "La cancion del camino" (text by the composer)
3. "La buena cancion" (Mariano Brull, poet)
4. "La nina de Guatemala" (Jose Marti, poet)
5. "Aqui esta el pecho, mujer" (Jose Marti, poet)
6. "Juventud" (Ruben Dario, poet)
7. "Copa de nieve" (Manuel Machado, poet)
8. "Arlequin" (text by the composer)
9. "Estio" (Juana de Ibarbourou, poet)
10. "Metamorfosis" (Luis G. Urbina, poet)
11. "Dame, Ninon, las crenchas" (Emilia Bernal, poet)
12. "El telar de la abuela" (Luis Millares Cubas, poet)
13. "Envio" (Tomas Morales, poet)
14. "Voz lejana" (text by the composer)
15. "Todavia no" (Amado Nervo, poet)
16. "Pero te amo" (Amado Nervo, poet)
17. "Quando cadran le foglie" (in Italian; Lorenzo Stecchetti, poet)
18. "Priere" (in French; Sully Prudhomme, poet)
Giro, in his Diccionario, (12) listed these canciones as Sanchez himself categorized them:
"Balada" (Eugenio Sanchez de Fuentes, poet)
"Blanca palomita" (Maria Sanchez de Fuentes, poet)
"Brisa de verano" (Maria Sanchez de Fuentes, poet)
"Campesina" (Juana de Ibarbaurou and Federico Uhrbach, poets)
"Cancion de amor" (Isabel Esperanza Betancourt, poet)
"Cancion triste" (text by the composer)
"Contigo todo" (Pedro Lopez Dorticos, poet)
"Corazon" (text by the composer)
"Cuando lejos muy lejos" (Gustavo Sanchez Galarraga, poet)
"Presentimiento" (Pedro Mata, Julio Flores, poets)
"Realidad" (text by the composer)
"Sed" (Amado Nervo, poet)
"Serafina" (text by the composer)
"Cuando volveras" (Amado Nervo, poet)
"Dejame" (text by the composer)
"Dia, claro dia" (anonymous poet)
"El muro" (anonymous poet)
"En sueno" (Amado Nervo, poet)
"Esa cancion" (Agustin Castellanos, poet)
"Flor de mayo" (Amado Nervo, poet)
"Francina" (Juan Ramon Jimenez, poet)
"Fri" (text by the composer)
"Hay un instante" (Guillermo Valencia, poet)
"Hermanita tristeza" (text by the composer)
"La ausente" (anonymous poet)
"La hora" (Juana de Ibarbourou, poet)
"Luz perpetua" (Amado Nervo, poet)
"Morenita" (text by the composer)
"Nada soy para ti" (Lola Arronte, poet)
"Niebla" (Lola Rodriguez de Tio, poet)
"Padre nuestro" (anonymous poet)
"Pompa de jabon" (Gustavo Sanchez Galarraga, poet)
"Solo por ti" (text by the composer)
"Tu cancion" (text by the composer)
"Tus ojos" (text by the composer)
"!Ven!" (text by the composer)
"Vivir sin tus caricias" (Amado Nervo, poet)
Sanchez categorized the following songs as lieder:
"Aqui esta el pecho, mujer" (Jose Marti, poet)
"Arlequin" (text by the composer)
"Copa de nieve" (Manuel Machado, poet)
"Dame, Ninon, las crenchas" (Emilia Bernal, poet)
"Deseo" (text by the composer)
"Dios hara lo demas" (Amado Nervo, poet)
"El fondo de la copa" (Juan Martin Leiseca, poet)
"El telar de la abuela" (Luis Millares Cubas, poet)
"Estio" (Juana de Ibarbourou, poet)
"Habanera del 800" (text by the composer)
"Juventud" (Ruben Dario, poet)
"La buena cancion" (Mariano Brull, poet)
"La cancion inicial" (Juan B. Delgado, poet)
"La nina de Guatemala" (Jose Marti, poet)
"La volanta" (text by the composer)
"Madrigal" (Arturo Alfonso Rosello, poet)
"Metamorfosis" (Luis G. Urbina, poet)
"Nacer para morir" (Luis Fernan Cisneros, poet)
"Napolitana" (Francisco Villaespesa, Luis Sanchez de Fuentes y Sell, poets)
"Nunca" (S. Nubuer, poet)
"Para que no me olvides" (text by the composer)
"Pero te amo" (Amado Nervo, poet)
"Priere" (Sully Prudhomme, poet)
"Romance del ingenio antiguo" (Pedro Lopez Dorticos, poet)
"Su voz me arrulla" (Josefina Cepeda, poet)
"Todavia no" (Amado Nervo, poet)
"Vivo lleno de ti" (Jose Manuel Carbonell, poet)
"Yo se de un beso" (Jose Manuel Carbonell, poet)
Sanchez categorized two songs as boleros:
"Ella puso un dolor en su mirada" (Agustin Acosta, poet)
"La enredadera" (anonymous poet)
Sanchez categorized these works as criollas:
"Arimao" (Pedro Lopez Dorticos, poet)
"Canto de esclavos" (anonymous poet)
"Estrella errante" (anonymous poet)
"Linda criolla" (anonymous poet)
"Mi criolla" (anonymous poet)
"No son lindos mis ojos" (anonymous poet)
"Serenata" (anonymous poet)
"Tristes amores" (anonymous poet)
"Tus ojos sonadores" (Pablo White, poet)
"Un amor que se va" (anonymous poet)
Finally, Sanchez categorized these works as habaneras:
"A unos ojos" (anonymous poet)
"Como eres tu" (text by the composer)
"Cuba" (J. Arango, poet)
"Cubana" (M. S. Pichardo, poet)
"Dominadora" (Federico Uhrbach, poet)
"El abanico" (text by the composer)
"Florecita" (anonymous poet)
"Intima" (Raquel Sans, poet)
"Los aguinaldos" (anonymous poet)
"Mia" (Ruben Dario, poet)
"Mirame asi" (text by the composer)
"Ni tu ni yo" (text by the composer)
"Noemi" (Julian del Casal, poet)
"No lo se" (Amado Nervo, poet)
"!Probrecita!" (Amado Nervo, poet)
"Toma mi bien" (Federico Uhrbach, poet)
"Tu" (Fernando Sanchez de Fuentes, poet)
"Ultimo sueno" (anonymous poet)
"Vida" (anonymous poet)
Many of these songs are available through ILL.
Joaquin Nin (y) Castellanos (1879-1949), composer, musicologist, and pianist, was born in Havana. As a young man (n.d. available, perhaps 1900), Nin Castellanos moved from Cuba to Spain to study piano, first with Carlos G. Vidiella in Barcelona, and in 1902, at the Paris Schola Cantorum with Vincent D'Indy and with pianist Moritz Moszkowski. From 1905 to 1908, Nin Castellanos taught at the Schola Cantorum before teaching in Brussels for two years. In 1910, he returned to Cuba, where he founded a Sociedad de Conciertos and a music magazine (no name available).
Nin Castellanos departed for Spain a few years later where he began to investigate 17th and 18th century Spanish music. Editor Max Eschig published many of his works for solo piano, including Dieciseis Sonatas Antiguas de Autores Espanoles in 1925. Siete Cantos Liricos Espanoles Antiguos and other works followed in the next decade, preserving the rich musical heritage of Spain.
Nin Castellanos, best remembered as a musicologist, composed a few works for solo piano, violin and piano, and guitar and cello. (13) Be aware that in some resources the composer is confused with his son, Joaquin Nin Culmell. All scores listed below are available for purchase or through ILL.
Cantos Populares Espanoles (anonymous poetry)
1. "Tonada de Valdovinos" ("Chanson de Baldouin")
2. "Cantar" ("Chanson")
3. "Tonada de la nina perdida" ("Cantilene de la jeune fille perdue")
4. "Montanesa" ("Montagnarde")
5. "Tonada del conde sol" ("Chanson du comte sol")
7. "Granadina" ("Grenadine")
9. "Jota tortosina" ("Jota tortosine")
10. "Jota valenciana" ("Jota valencienne")
14. "Asturiana" ("Asturienne")
15. "Pano murciano" ("Pano murcien")
16. "Villancico catalan" ("Noel catalan")
17. "El canto de los pajaros" ("Le chant des oiseaux")
18. "El vito"
19. "Canto andaluz" ("Chant andalou")
Chants d'Espagne (anonymous poetry), mezzo soprano and piano, or mezzo soprano and orchestra
Classiques Espagnols de Chant: 14 Airs Anciens d'Auteurs Espagnols
1. "Corazon que en prision" ("Pauvre coeur prisonnier ..."; Jose Marin, poet)
2. "Desenganemonos ya..." ("Fuis de l'emprise d'amour"; Jose Marin, poet)
3. "Cloris Hermosa" ("Belle Chloris..."; Sebastian Duron, poet)
4. "Minue cantado" ("Enuet chante"; Jose Bassa, poet)
5. Antonio Literes: Aria de Acis y Galatea (Air d'Acis et Galatee)
6. "Alma, sintamos" ("Souffrez, mon ame"; Pablo Esteve, poet)
7. "El jilguerito con pico de oro" ("Le Chardonneret au bec d'or"; Blas de Laserna, poet)
8. "El amor es como un nino..." ("L'amour est enfant volage"; anonymous poet)
9. "Tirana" (Guillermo Ferrer, poet)
10. "A la jota" (Pablo Esteve, poet)
11. "Tirana" (Blas de Laserna, poet)
12. "Por colacion seis abates" ("Pour collation six abbes ..."; Blas de Laserna, poet)
13. "Las majas de Paris" ("Les belles de Paris"; Blas de Laserna, poet)
14. "Las majas madrilenas" ("Les belles madrilenes"; Blas de Laserna, poet)
Diez Villancicos Espanoles (Dix Noels Espagnols; anonymous poets)
"Villancico de Cordoba"
"Segundo villancico catalan"
"Jesus de Nazareth"
"La Vierge au Calvaire" ("La Virgen en el Calvario"), soprano solo, 4-voice women's choir, piano
"Le Chant du Veilleur" (anonymous poet), mezzo soprano, violin or saxophone, piano
Amadeo Roldan (y) Gardes (1900-1939), violinist, pianist, conductor, and composer, was of Cuban parentage but born in Paris. In 1908, Roldan entered the Conservatorio de Musica y Declamacion in Madrid, where he studied solfege and violin with Pablo Hernandez, Agustin Soler, and Antonio Fernandez Bordas. In 1913, Roldan began studying harmony with composer Conrado del Campo. After performing as a first violinist with the Madrid Philharmonic, he moved to Cuba in 1919. There, he performed as a violinist and violist with the Musica de Camara, the Orquesta Sinfonica de La Habana, and the Orquesta Filarmonica de La Habana. With his brother, cellist Alberto Roldan, and musicologist and author Alejo Carpentier, Roldan presented a series of concerts in 1926 titled Musica Nueva, performing the works of Stravinsky, Satie, Ravel, Poulenc, Falla, and others. He collaborated with Spanish composer Joaquin Turina in the Hispano-Cubana de Cultura in 1927. (14) Appointed director of the Havana Philharmonic in 1929, Roldan conducted works by European masters as well as by Henry Cowell, Joaquin Turina, Guillermo M. Tomas, Howard Hanson, Amadeo Vives, George Gershwin, and many others.
Roldan was a driving force throughout the remaining years of his short life. He organized numerous concerts, founded the Conservatorio de la Filarmonica, where he taught harmony and composition, and he was active as a performer.
Amadeo Roldan was the initiator of modern symphonic art in Cuba, the first Cuban musician who incorporated Afro-Cuban instruments--not as simple accompaniments, but as primary, constructive elements to the musical work, the first to present graphically the rhythmic and technical possibilities of those instruments. With Roldan, the Cuban musical panorama opened to the world, through which were established important relationships and exchanges with foreign composers and conductors...[translated by the author]. (15)
Roldan, who incorporated African rhythms in an avant-garde/nationalistic style, composed chamber works, two ballets, piano solos, works for orchestra, and some transcriptions of compositions by Brahms, Gretry, Laureano Fuentes Matons, and others. Of his works for solo voice and voice and instruments listed below, only Motivos de Son, "Clair de lune," and Sensitiva are available through ILL.
Danza Negra (Luis Pales Matos, poet), voice and 7 instruments, version for voice and piano (1929)
Fiestas Galantes (Paul Verlaine, poet), 8 songs but only "Claro de luna" ("Clair de lune") is published (see Amadeo Roldan by Zoila Gomez)
Improvisacion (Mariano Brull, poet)
Motivos de Son (Nicolas Guillen, poet), voice and instruments (1930), version for voice and piano (1930)
1. "Negro bembon"
2. "Mi chiquita"
4. "Bucate plata"
5. "Aye me dijeron negro"
6. "Tu no sabe ingle"
7. "Si tu supiera"
Paisaje de Oriente
Priere (Luis de Soto, poet)
Recitacion a Solas (Mariano Brull, poet)
Rima XXI (Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, poet)
Sensitiva (Francisco Villaespesa, poet)
Roldan died of facial cancer when he was only 39 years old.
Alejandro Garcia Caturla (1906-1940), composer, was born in Remedios, Cuba. He began his music studies in 1914, entering the Academia de Maria Montalvan the following year. His instructors included Pedro Sanjuan (harmony, counterpoint, fugue), America Pando Ruiz (violin), and he studied voice with Italians Tina Farelli and Arturo Bovi. Also trained as a pianist, Caturla played in movie theaters, accompanying silent films. (16) (Researchers will find this composer's name listed alphabetically under Garcia [paternal family name] or Caturla [maternal family name]. Because Garcia is such a common name, he is commonly identified by Caturla.)
After completing a law degree, Caturla arrived in Paris in June 1928 to enhance his musical resume. His goals were to establish contact with European publishing companies, to promote his musical works, and to study composition. He contacted Nadia Boulanger for composition lessons, but in his correspondence, he made it clear that he composed without regard for traditional rules and wanted to follow his own inspiration. (In this researcher's opinion, he could not have been a good student.) During his Paris trip, he did manage to sign a publishing contract with Editions Maurice Senart for his orchestral work, Tres Danzas Cubanas. (17)
When he returned to Cuba just four months later, Caturla resumed his law practice while continuing to compose. That same year (1928), Caturla joined the Pan American Association of Composers (PAAC), an organization created by Henry Cowell, Carl Ruggles, Edgard Varese, and Carlos Chavez that proved to be a valuable resource for Caturla. Members of PAAC disseminated Caturla's works via radio, performance, and publication. (18) Additionally, the Orquesta Filarmonica de La Habana, conducted by his former teacher Pedro Sanjuan, performed two of Caturla's Tres Danzas Cubanas (1928), and when the Spanish composer Joaquin Turina arrived in Cuba to lecture and conduct (1929), Caturla made a fortuitous connection. Because of Turina's influence, Caturla's Tres Danzas Cubanas were performed as part of the 1929 Barcelona (Spain) Exposition. (19)
Along with Amadeo Roldan, Caturla, according to White in his book, Alejandro Garcia Caturla: A Cuban Composer in the Twentieth Century, "initiated a whole new Afro-Cuban movement in the domain of art (or concert) music." (20) White considers Caturla a modernist and nationalistic composer, embracing avant-garde music with dissonance, bitonality, and frequent changes of meter. He assimilated classical style with French melodies, Cuban folk melodies, and African rhythms. Caturla was very critical of Sanchez de Fuentes, Lecuona, and Roldan, among others, for their refusal to unite African and Cuban influences in their music. (21)
Caturla composed works for orchestra, band, unaccompanied choir, organ, chamber music and numerous piano pieces. Also included in his oeuvre is a ballet, the opera Manita en el suelo, film works, and the operetta El Lucero. (22) He composed thirty art songs with texts by Nicolas Guillen, Alejo Carpentier, and others. An important figure in Cuban music, most of Caturla's compositions are available via ILL.
"Ansia" (text by the composer; 2 versions)
"Ave Maria," baritone, 2 violins, viola, organ
"Bajo mis besos" (text by the composer)
"Bito Manue" (1930; Nicolas Guillen, poet; Roldan set all of Guillen's Motivos in 1931 for voice and chamber orchestra, but Caturla did not. Caturla may have intended to set all 8 poems but when Roldan's 1931 chamber work was completed, Caturla probably abandoned the project. (23) Eliseo and Emilio Grenet also set some of the poems.)
"Berceuse para dormir a un negrito" (Emilio Ballagas, poet)
"Canto de esperanza" (text by the composer)
"Como te amaba mi corazon" (text by the composer)
"Sonera" (text by the composer)
"En el batey" (vocalise)
Dos Poemas Afrocubanos (Alejo Carpentier, poet)
"El simbolo" (text by the composer)
"Elegia del Enkiko" (tenor aria from the comic opera, Manita en el Suelo, by Alejo Carpentier)
"Ingratitud" (text by the composer)
"La leyenda de la rosa" (text by the composer; soprano, chamber orchestra)
"La promesa" (Juana de Ibarbourou, poet)
"La deshilachada" (text by the composer)
"Labios queridos" (text by the composer)
"Mi vida" (text by the composer)
"Mi amor aquel" (Rosario Sansores, poet)
"Mulata" (Nicolas Guillen, poet, from Motivos)
"Pebetita" (text by the composer)
"Sabas" (Nicolas Guillen, poet, voice, piano, or voice, chamber ensemble)
"Sangria" (anonymous poet)
"Serenata de mayo" (Julio Herrera y Reissig, poet)
"Serenata de otono" (Julio Herrera y Reissig, poet)
"Tarde tropical" (Ruben Dario, poet)
"Una lagrima" (Luis Urbina, poet)
"Vidita" (text by the composer)
"Y si el volviera un dia" (text by the composer)
"Yambambo" (Nicolas Guillen, poet)
Joaquin Maria Nin Culmell (1908-2004), the composer/pianist son of Joaquin Nin Castellanos (1879-1949) and singer Rosa Culmell (1871-1954), may be considered by some singers and researchers a European cosmopolitan composer rather than a Cuban composer. Born in Berlin to Cuban parents, Nin Culmell's roots in Cuba are not deep. As previously stated, of his 96 years, Nin Culmell spent three years in Cuba (1909-1912) during his youth, and he lived in Cuba for a brief time during World War II.
Nin Culmell first began piano lessons with his father, and in 1913 studied with soprano/pianist Conchita Badia, a student of Enrique Granados. In the 1920s, Nin Culmell enrolled at the Schola Cantorum and at the Conservatorio Nacional, where he was a disciple of Paul Dukas. Later, he studied composition with Manuel de Falla and piano with Ricardo Vines. In 1939, Nin Culmell began teaching in the U.S., first at Middlebury College (Vermont), at Williams College (Massachusetts), and finally in 1950, at UC Berkeley, where he was named professor emeritus upon his retirement in 1974.
Nin Culmell built an international career, performing abroad and in the U.S. He premiered works by many of Spain's most notable composers, including Joaquin Rodrigo, Federico Mompou, and the Halffter brothers--Ernesto and Rodolfo. In 1936, Nin Culmell premiered Falla's Le Tombeau de Paul Dukas, a memorial work honoring the influential composition teacher of Rodrigo, Messiaen, and Debussy, among many others.
Nin Culmell's compositions are generally considered neoclassical and nationalistic in style. In addition to vocal repertoire, he composed two ballets, an opera (La Celestina), a Concierto for piano and orchestra, and works for piano, orchestra, choir, chamber music, and guitar. (24) His vocal output was often influenced by various regions in Spain, such as his Douze Chansons Populaires de Catalogne and his Cuatro Canciones Populares de Andalucia. (As many Nin Culmell works were published first in Paris by Editions Durand, titles are in French with Spanish and French texts.) Only three vocal works pay homage to Cuba--Deux Chansons Populaires Cubaines and Si Ves un Monte de Espumas, setting the poetry of the Cuban poet, Jose Marti.
A prolific composer, more details of his long, productive life are accessible in English. Many of Nin Culmell's works are available for purchase and most may be borrowed through ILL.
4 Canciones Populares de Andalucia (Federico Garcia Lorca, poet), medium voice, piano
"Los cuatro muleros"
"Debajo de la hoja"
4 Canciones Populares de Salamanca (anonymous poet), medium voice, piano
"Los mozos de Monleon"
"Ya se muriu el burru"
"Los ojos de mi morena"
"Ahi tienes mi corazon"
6 Canciones Populares Sefardies (anonymous poet), medium voice, piano
"Yo boli de foja en foja"
"La rosa enforece"
"Ya salio de la mar"
"Mi suegra la negra"
"Secretos quero descuvrir"
Canciones de la Barraca, mezzo soprano and piano
1. "No tiene tumba" (Federico Garcia Lorca, Antonio Machado, poets)
2. "La Mari-Juana" (Lope de Vega, poet)
3. "Sea bienvenido" (Lope de Vega, poet)
4. "Lavareme en el Tajo" (Lope de Vega, poet)
5. "Siempre escogen las mujeres" (Miguel Cervantes, poet)
Cantate, mezzo soprano and orchestra, or mezzo soprano and piano (Padre Jose Pradas, 1689-1757, composer, realized by Nin Culmell)
Cinco Canciones Tradicionales Espanolas
1. "Tres morillas me enamoran en Jaen"
2. "Si tu madre quiere un rey"
3. "En el cafe de Chinitas"
4. "Este galapaguito: nana"
5. "Tengo los ojos azules"
Deux Chansons Populaires Cubaines (Canciones Populares Cubanas)
"Cancion de cuna Afro-cubana" (anonymous poet)
"La nina de Guatemala" (Jose Marti, poet)
Dos Poemas de Jorge Manrique (soprano, string quartet or piano reduction)
Douze Chansons Populaires de Catalogne (vol. 1)
"Lo noy de la mare"
"Canso de Nadal"
"La noya d'Ampurda"
"Mort de la Nuvia"
"La ploma de perdiu"
Douze Chansons Populaires de Catalogne (vol. 2)
"La mare de Deu"
"El ram de la passio"
"La dama d'Arago"
"El testament d'Amelia"
"La Paula i en Jordi"
"L'hostal de la Peira"
"Canco del lladre"
"El pardal quan s'ajocava"
"La filla del marxant"
"Els fadrins de Sant Boi"
"Quatre Chansons Populaires de Catalogne (Canciones Populares  de Cataluna)
"Rossinyol que vas a Franca"
"El pobre alegre"
"La gata i el belitre"
Si Ves un Monte de Espumas (Jose Marti, poet), baritone, piano
Tres Poemas de Gil Vicente, medium voice, piano
"?Por do pasare la sierra?"
"Ro, ro, ro"
"?Cual es la nina que coge las flores?"
The second part of this article will examine the contributions of Cuban composers born in the last century, since 1910. Many of these composers are still living and composing, including Aurelio de la Vega, Tania Leon, Odaline Martinez, Orlando Jacinto Garcia, Jorge Martin, Irina Escalante Chernova, and others.
(1.) Suzanne Draayer, Art Song Composers of Spain: An Encyclopedia (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2009), 388-389.
(2.) Ernesto Lecuona and Placido Domingo, Always in My Heart: The Songs of Ernesto Lecuona = Siempre En Mi Corazon (United States: E. B. Marks Music Co, 1997), 4.
(3.) Radames Giro, Diccionario Enciclopedico De La Musica en Cuba, vol. 2 (La Habana, Cuba: Letras Cubanas, 2007), 126-128.
(4.) Ibid., vol. 4, 191-194.
(5.) Ibid., vol. 4, 122-125.
(6.) Petrucci Music Library, "IMSLP," 2012: www.imslp.org/(accessed May 12, 2014).
(7.) Helio Orovio, Cuban Music from A to Z (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004), 196.
(8.) Juan P. Esnaola, Gilardo Gilardi, Alberto Nepomuceno, Luis A. Calvo, de F. E. Sanchez, Gonzalo G. Hernandez, Pedro H. Allende, Edgar Valcarcel, Carlos Vazquez, Alfonso Broqua, Eduardo Fabini, Aponte A. Estevez, Patricia Caicedo, Yvette Souviron, Theodoro Valcarcel, Juan B. Plaza, Modesta Bor, Agustin Fernandez, Osvaldo Lacerda, Jaime Leon, and Rafael Aponte-Ledee, La Cancion Artistica En America Latina: Antologia Critica Y Guia Interpretativa Para Cantantes = the Latin American Art Song: A Critical Anthology and Interpretive Guide for Singers (Barcelona: Trito, 2005), 63-65, 66-69.
(9.) Emilio Grenet, Popular Cuban Music: 80 Revised and Corrected Compositions, Together with an Essay on the Evolution of Music in Cuba (Havana: Printing by Carasa & Co., 1939), 197-199.
(10.) F. E. de Sanchez, Ramon Calzadilla, and Juan Espinosa, Centenario 1874--1974 (Havana: Egrem-Areito, 1970).
(11.) Eduardo Sanchez de Fuentes Centenario, 1874-1974: Voz y Piano (La Habana: Ediciones del Patrimonio Musical de Cuba, 1974).
(12.) Giro, vol. 4, 123-125.
(13.) Ibid., vol. 3, 158-160.
(14.) Alejo Carpentier, Music in Cuba, edited and with an introduction by Timothy Brennan, trans. Alan West-Duran (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001), 269.
(15.) Giro, 76. Amadeo Roldan fue el iniciador del moderno arte sinfonico en Cuba, el primer musico cubano que incorporo los instrumentos afrocubanos, no como simple acompanamiento, sino como elemento protagonico y constructivo de la obra musical; el primero en representar graficamente los ritmos propios de esos instrumentos de percusion con todas sus posibilidades tecnicas. Con Roldan, el panorama musical cubano se abre al mundo, entablandose importantes relaciones e intercambios con compositores y directores extranjeros...
(16.) Ibid., vol. 1, 224.
(17.) Charles W. White, Alejandro Garcia Caturla: a Cuban Composer in the Twentieth Century (Lanham MD: Scarecrow Press, 2003, accompanied by audio CD), 47-48.
(18.) Ibid., 52.
(19.) Ibid., xxiii.
(21.) Ibid., xvi-xxi.
(22.) Giro, vol. 1, 228-229.
(23.) White, 114-115.
(24.) Giro, vol. 3, 160-161.
Canciones Cubanas Con Textos De Jose Marti. Cuba: Editoria Musical de Cuba, 1974.
Carpentier, Alejo, ed., and with an introduction by Timothy Brennan. Translated by Alan West-Duran. Music in Cuba. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.
Chase, Gilbert. A Guide to the Music of Latin America: A Joint Publication of the Pan American Union and the Library of Congress. New York: AMS Press, 1972.
Curtin, Phyllis, Ryan Edwards, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Hekel Tavares, Hekel Tavares, Jayme Ovalle, Hekel Tavares, Oscar L. Fernandez, Julio Perceval, Valdo Sciammarella, Blas Galindo, Blas Galindo, Alberto Ginastera, Alberto Ginastera, Jayme Ovalle, Caturla A. Garcia, and Caturla A. Garcia. Boston University Presents Phyllis Curtin: Cantigas y Canciones of Latin America. New York, N.Y: Vanguard, 1985.
Diccionario de la Musica Espanola e Hispanoamericana. Director y coordinador general Emilio Casares Rodicio. Madrid, Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, 1999.
Draayer, Suzanne R. Art Song Composers of Spain: An Encyclopedia. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2009.
--. "Seductively Spanish--Programming Ideas for Spanish Song." Journal of Singing 67, no. 5 (May/June 2011): 523-535.
Fuentes Matons, Laureano, and Abelardo Estrada. Las Artes en Santiago de Cuba. Ciudad de La Habana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1981.
Giro, Radames. Diccionario Enciclopedico De La Musica en Cuba. La Habana, Cuba: Letras Cubanas, 2007.
Gomez, Zoila. Amadeo Roldan. La Habana: Editorial Arte y Literatura, 1977.
Guillen, Nicolas, Amadeo Roldan, Alejandro Garcia Caturla, Eliseo Grenet, and Emilio Grenet. Motivos de Son: Edicion Especial 50 Aniversario. Musica de Amadeo Roldan, Alejandro Garcia Caturla, Eliseo Grenet, Emilio Grenet. La Habana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1980.
Hoover, Maya F, and Stela M. Brandao. A Guide to the Latin American Art Song Repertoire: An Annotated Catalog of Twentieth-Century Art Songs for Voice and Piano. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010.
Howell, Christopher. "Recordings of the Month, Joaquin Nin." 2003; www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2003/Apr03/nin.htm (accessed August 12, 2014).
--, Placido Domingo, and Lee Holdridge. Always in My Heart: Siempre En Mi Corazon: The Songs of Ernesto Lecuona. New York: CBS, 1984.
Martin, Edgardo. "Panorama Historico de la Musica en Cuba." [Havana]: Universidad de La Habana, 1972.
Orovio, Helio. Cuban Music from A to Z. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004.
--. Diccionario De La Musica Cubana: Biografico y Tecnico. La Habana, Cuba: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1992.
Pendle, Karin. Women & Music: A History. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991.
Petrucci Music Library. "IMSLP." 2012; www.imslp.org/(accessed May 12, 2014).
Randel, Don M. The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996.
Redford, Robert, Lena Olin, Sydney Pollack, and Richard Roth. Havana. Universal City, CA: MCA Home video, 1991.
"The Lied and Art Song Texts Page," 2009; www.recmusic.org (accessed August 12, 2014).
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Vol. 2. Edited by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan, 2001.
White, Charles W. Alejandro Garcia Caturla: A Cuban Composer in the Twentieth Century. Lanham MD: Scarecrow Press, 2003. Accompanied by audio CD.
Wilson, Kathleen L., et al. The Art Song in Latin America: Selected Works by Twentieth-Century Composers. Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon Press, 1998.
YouTube LLC. 2012 at www.youtube.com (accessed May 12, 2014).
Grenet, Emilio. Popular Cuban Music: 80 Revised and Corrected Compositions, Together with an Essay on the Evolution of Music in Cuba. Havana: Printing by Carasa & Co., 1939. Musical score.
"Despues de un beso"
"El arroyo que murmura"
"Flor de Yumuri"
"Mi canto eres tu"
"Oye mi clave"
"Frutas del Caney"
"!Si llego a besarte...!"
"Tres lindas cubanas"
"Danza Cubana," no. 1
"Danza Cubana," no. 2
"Al recordar tu nombre"
"En el tronco del arbol"
"Danza Cubana," no. 2
"Las perlas de tu boca"
"Mi vida es cantar"
"Quirino con su tres"
"Tu no sabe ingle"
"Los ojos negros"
"En el sendero de mi vida"
"Buche y pluma N'ma"
"Ahora que eres mia"
"Como arrullo de palmas"
"Junto al rio"
"La Conga se va"
Jose Marin Varona
"Es el amor la mitad de la vida"
"Son de la loma"
"El que siembra su maiz"
"La mujer de Antonio"
Juan Francisco Mendez
"Rosa, que linda eres"
"Uno, dos y tres"
"Las cuatro palomas"
"Maria Belen Chacon"
"Una rosa de Francia"
"Sun sun paloma"
"Mares y arenas"
"Junto a un canaveral"
"Se va el dulcerito"
Eduardo Sanchez de Fuentes
"Vivir sin tus caricias"
"Sola y triste"
"Ya reire cuando tu llores"
Canciones Cubana Con Textos De Jose Marti (Cuba: Editoria Muscial de Cuba, 1974. Musical score.)
"Poema de Mayo" (Jesus Orta, poet, Roberto Sanchez Ferrer, composer), duet, tenor/baritone
"Yo se los nombres extranos" (Jose Marti, poet, Olga de Blanck, composer)
"!Penas!" (Jose Marti, poet, Harold Gramatges, composer)
"Fuera del mundo" (Jose Marti, poet, Jesus Ortega, composer)
"Cultivo una rosa Blanca" (Jose Marti, poet, Jose Ardevol, composer)
"Rima, No. 38" (Jose Marti, poet, Miguel Garcia, composer), voice, flute, piano
"Sueno con claustros de marmol" (Jose Marti, poet, Maria Alvarez Rios, composer)
"Oh, Marmol" (Jose Marti, poet, Maria Alvarez Rios, composer)
"Yo se de Egipto y Nigricia" (Jose Marti, poet, Serafin Pro, composer)
"La voz enamorada" (Jose Marti, poet, Hilario Gonzalez, composer)
"Una virgen esplendida--(Jose Marti, poet, Rafael Vega Caso, composer)
"Y te busque" (Jose Marti, poet, Hector Angulo, composer)
"Mi caballero" (Jose Marti, poet, Jose E. Urfe, composer)
Dr. Suzanne R. Draayer, soprano, now resides in Tucson, Arizona. She is professor emerita of music at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland where she studied with James McDonald and George Shirley.
An avid advocator of Spanish music, Dr. Draayer frequently performs Spanish vocal literature and has written extensively on the subject. Several of her articles have appeared in the Journal of Singing and in Classical Singer. Her books include: A Singer's Guide to the Songs of Joaquin Rodrigo (Scarecrow Press, 1999); the six volumes of Canciones de Espana--Songs of Nineteenth-Century Spain (Scarecrow Press, 2003, 2005, 2007); and Art Song Composers of Spain: An Encyclopedia (Scarecrow Press, 2009). She is the Spanish song contributor for IPASource.com, adding more than 750 song texts, translations, and IPA transcriptions to the site.
Dr. Draayer served as NATS Vice President of Workshops (2006-2010), and she served two terms (2002-2006) as regional governor of the North Central District. She has been a frequent presenter at NATS National Conferences and at ICVT in Vancouver (2005), Paris (2009), and Brisbane (2013).
For more information, please contact Suzanne Draayer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are words like Freedom Sweet and wonderful to say. On my heart strings freedom sings All day everyday. There are words like Liberty That almost make me cry. If you had known what I know You would know why.
Langston Hughes, "Words Like Freedom"
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|Publication:||Journal of Singing|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2015|
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