Nights in the Gardens of Spain : Work information

Manuel de Falla (y Matheu) ( Music, Images,)
Performed by
Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, Fernando Lozano (Conductor)

This work

Work name
Nights in the Gardens of Spain
Work number
G. 49
1915-00-00 02:00:00

This recording

Ivan Pastor
Recording date

Track listing

  • In the Generalife 10:31 min
  • The Distant Dance 13:18 min


Manuel de Falla first started work on his evocative Noches en los jardines de Espana (Nights in the Gardens of Spain) in Paris in 1909. Initially planned as a set of three nocturnes for solo piano, Falla was persuaded to expand the work by fellow composer Isaac Albeniz and pianist Ricardo Vines. Although eagerly anticipated by the Parisian musical world, the outbreak of war in 1914 prompted Falla to take the sketches to Sitges near Barcelona.

At Sitges he composed at the piano of Catalan painter Santiago Rusinol whose pictures of Spanish gardens may have at least inspired the title of Falla's new work. Noches en los jardines de Espana finally had its first performance on April 9 1916 at the Teatro Real in Madrid with Jose Cubiles playing the piano and Enrique Fernandez Arbos conducting.

Falla wrote of the work:

"If these 'symphonic impressions' have achieved their object, the mere listing of their titles should be a sufficient guide to the listener....The themes employed are based..on the rhythms, modes, cadences and ornamental figures which distinguish the popular music of Andalucia, though they are rarely used in their original forms. The orchestration frequently employs..certain effects peculiar to the popular instruments used in those parts of Spain. The music has no pretensions to being descriptive; it is merely expressive."

The Composers

Manuel de Falla (y Matheu)

Spanish composer Manuel de Falla was one of the central figures of 20th century Spanish music.

His music drew on the influence of many artistic movements, including neo-classicism, nationalism and impressionism.

His work, like that of many Spanish artists, was also strongly affected by the events of the civil war that ravaged the country from 1936 until 1939, and which inspired Hemingway’s “Farewell to arms” and “For whom the bell tolls”.

Many Spanish critics mistakenly attacked de Falla’s music as unpatriotic, largely because of the strong influence of the work of French composer Claude Debussy . It is certainly true that much of de Falla’s work relies heavily on the work of several leading French composers, but he was very much a nationalist and his music is unmistakably Spanish in origin.