Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Arriaga - Symphony in D Major

Juan Crisostomo Arriaga (1806 - 1826) was a Spanish musical prodigy who without any regular musical studies composed an opera in 1821 when he was 15 years old.  An opera that was being performed in public no less. He finally went to the Paris Conservatory due to the generosity of some wealthy patrons in his home town that had seen his opera and recognized his talent.

Arriaga completed his studies at the Conservatory after only three years and immediately wrote three string quartets for publication. He also became an associate professor under the guidance of his teacher at the Conservatory. He wrote the Symphony in D major in 1825 while still in Paris.  It was the only symphony he wrote, and the work reflects the stylistic trends he learned about in his studies.

The symphony is said to be in D major, but in the first movement the composer uses D minor as much as the major. The final movement also doesn't establish the dominance of the principle key of D major, a unique thing for a symphony written at the time.

Arriaga died of a lung ailment, exhaustion, or both in Paris when he was 19 years old.

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