José Muñoz Molleda


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José Muñoz Molleda
Obras para Orquesta

Orquesta de Córdoba
Conductor: José Luis Temes




1. CIRCO 10'24





  -Introducción. Allegro enérgico 11’36

  -lento, melancólico 13’18

  -allegretto scherzando 6’40

  -adagio. Presto 7’37





Todas las obras, primera grabación mundial







In strictly chronological terms, José Muñoz Molleda must be considered a member of the so-called Generation of 27 (also the Silver Generation or the Generation of the Republic), because he borra in the sarne year (1905) as for example Ernesto Halffter, Emilio Lehmberg and Jesús Bal y Gay. Then, he was a year older than Gustavo Pittaluga and Simón Tapia-Colman (1906) and a little younger than Jesús García Leoz (1904), Evaristo Fernández Blanco and Rosa García Ascot (1902), Arturo Dúo Vital, Joaquín Rodrigo and Julián Bautista (1901) or Rodolfo Halffter (1900).

Muñoz Molleda shares some common features with this generation: for example, building his catalogue on top-level academic training, no doubt as disciple of a "Generation of maestros" for his control about -: the artisan "trade" of composition. They are also composers between the Hispanic tradition (represented particularly in Manuel de Falla's last phase), and the declared modernity of European and American composers of the time; a difficult equilibrium, between tonal aesthetics linked to revision of the classical past and, in some cases, even the most open atonalism. It will be also common have lived all of them the first great age of music applied to sound film.

In the contrary, some aspects of the life and work of Muñoz Molleda distance him from the rest of the group: particularly those concerning the socio - cultural tone of their catalogues. So it is not easy to see among the staves of our composer, the intellectual concern of other members of the group, or an expression of the heritage of the great Spanish cultural tradition. Neither in his biography -and this is in no way a value judgement- we find the vicissitudes in the political thinking which are characteristics of others elements in the group. In this sense, maestro Muñoz Molleda is a substantially independent figure.

He was born in La Línea de la Concepción (Cádiz) on 16 February 1905. Initially he combined his passion for music with his passion for painting and, in fact, during his youthful years, he toyed with the idea to dedicate to the painting as his fist dedication. He moved to Madrid and was a student in the Senior Conservatory of Abelardo and Tomás Bretón, José Tragó and Conrado del Campo.

The Madrid Symphony Orchestra with maestro Arbós the front, would be the supporters of his two first successful symphonic premieres: Of the high land (1934) and Scherzo macabro (1935). Also at this time, he started to dedicate himself to light genre -which would run in parallel to his academic work throughout his life- at the hands of Imperio Argentina.

In 1934, Muñoz Molleda won the Prize from the Spanish Academy in Rome, which allowed him to travel to the Italian capital to study with Otorrino Respighi. In this city, he was caught by the Spanish Civil War and he did not return to Spain until 1939.

Then, he was closely linked with post-war Spanish film, composing the soundtracks of films of such significance in that historic context as Carmen la de Triana (1939), The sons of the night (1939), Wedding in the hell (1942) or Inés de Castro (1944).

In 1941 he get married to the Italian Doctor Ione Gigliozzi, who had met during his long stay in Rome. The couple settled in Madrid and they hadn't children.

The Spanish National Orchestra ordered him the Concert for piano and orchestra, which appeared in its official presentation program (on 25 July 1940) with Leopoldo Querol as soloist. Then, Muñoz Molleda had composed notable concert and chamber music, which was programmed in various European cities. In 1951 he won the National Music Prize. And in 1962, he was elected a member of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts where he entered with a speech about "The sincerity of the composer faced with modem musical procedures". It is a historically curious information, given that dilemma that, on his death the composer Luis de Pablo succeeded him in his chair.

José Muñoz Molleda held various musical management posts, including on the Board of Directors of the called General Society of Spanish Authors. And as a music member of Madrid's Fine Arts Circle (allow me a new anecdote to indicate that he was followed by Tomás Marco and the undersigned in that Circle).

He died in Madrid on 26 May 1988. He was buried in his native city, La Línea de la Concepción, whose Professional Conservatory took the name of our protagonist shortly. His figure needs a thorough study, both biographically and musically, because his life and his work have serious shortcomings. Whereas, the excellent work done about Muñoz Molleda a few years ago by Gemma Pérez Zalduondo, it has been of great utility, and thanks to that we know some of the data which can now be offered to the enthusiast.

Of the four symphonic works on this disc, the Symphony in A minor is unquestionably the one that reflects most clearly José Muñoz Molleda's musical thought. Composed in 1959, it is highly ambitious work, not just for its duration, also as a compendium of its different aesthetics. It can even be said that it is the work in which the composer goes furthest in the limits which defining his tonal system. Although the romantic symphonism -perhaps most specifically the Brahmsian- hangs over the entire work, tonality is understood so openly that, notwithstanding the name of the symphony, sometimes it is not easy to establish the tonal axis which structures certain passages. However, there are the melodic embellishments of broad Romantic expressivity, or hints at an expressivity of cinematic type, a terrain so familiar to the composer.

The work won the very important Prize of the City of Barcelona Orchestra, together with its premiere in the season of that orchestra. So, it was presented in 1961, under the baton of Eduardo Toldrá, receiving very contradictory reviews, contrasting with the customary success with which had presented earlier works from the Andalusian composer. Next year, the polemic -and some furious open criticism- was renewed when it was performed in Madrid.