Thursday, April 23, 2009

Leo Brouwer Wrote 'Un Dia de Noviembre' for a 1972 Film by Humberto Salas

[A day in November; Adam Khan, guitar; Dinmore DRD052]

AfriClassical recently posted a research inquiry from Timothy Mahn, “Was Leo Brouwer's Guitar Work 'Un Dia de Noviembre' Originally Composed for Piano?”. Today Tim writes: Mr. Zick -- recently I requested information on Leo Brouwer's work. Apparently the information I received -- that 'Un Dia de Noviembre' had originally been composed for piano -- is erroneous. But I did get some interesting history on the piece from the Library of Congress. I thought you might be interested. Thanks! Tim Mahn”

James Wintle of the Music Division of the Library of Congress writes: “Mr. Mahn, Leo Brouwer’s popular guitar solo “Un dia de Noviembre” was not originally written for piano. The piece was in fact originally written for a 1972 Cuban film of the same name directed by Humberto Solás. The original instrumentation was for guitar accompanied by flute, bass, and percussion. In an interview with Mr. Brouwer conducted by Vladimir Wistuba-Alvarez in 1989 (citation below), Brouwer discusses the piece and explains that it was originally orchestrated and was then transcribed by him for solo guitar (Wistuba-Alvarez, p. 145).

The only published score that I have found is for solo guitar, which as you mentioned in your query is widely available. The interview listed below is entirely in Spanish. Wistuba-Alvarez, Vladimir. “Lluvia, Rumba y Campanas en los Paisajes Cubanos de Leo Brouwer y Otros Temas (Una conversacion con Leo Brouwer),” Latin American Music Review / Revista de Música Latinoamericana, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Spring – Summer, 1989), pp. 135-147. I am sorry that I was unable to locate a score from the original film version of “Un dia de Noviembre,” but given the political climate in Cuba in the early 1970’s it is no wonder that a copy was not acquired by the Library of Congress. I hope that this answers your query regarding Leo Brouwer’s music. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to write again.” [The Afro-Cuban composer, conductor and classical guitarist Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is profiled at]

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