Juan Morel Campos

About Danza de Juan Morel Campos “El Torbellino”

This beautiful danza is a rare piece of vintage music.  If you will allow me to indulge for a moment, I shall give you my own interpretation:  the music is clearly romantic, in keeping with the character of its age, but also extremely wise beyond its years:  In it we cannot fail to hear the pending sense of doom that is at first forecast by its opening, followed by Marching Spanish Battalions, the hustle and bustle of a citizenry scurrying about — desperately trying to keep their wits about them; and, though by the music’s end, we are left with the sense that the tension has lightened somewhat, it ends suddenly and abruptly — whereupon we   find that we’ve come full circle again, only to find ourselves right back where we started!

El Torbellino is originally an instrumental piece; it is a miniature suite with six major smaller sections, which fit well on the piano if you tweak the score and change some of its voicing to fit the range of your chosen instrument.   I made a few revisions of my own, which you might notice, if you have the original version (Olimpio Otero) at hand.

I.  El Paseo/Promenade – Intro

This opening is richly cast in an 18th Century classical tradition.  I can hear the influences of his teacher Tavarez – such as when Tavarez took a Creole melody and spun it into “Haydnesque” gold to demonstrate the power of variation at the thirteen year-old boy’s lessons.  Tavarez was trained in the Paris conservatory and was especially fond of Haydn’s music.  No doubt this rubbed off on young Juan Morel too.  Both, Haydn and Tavarez’ influence is innately sealed in this “Paseo.”  Play this opening exactly like Haydn or Tavarez…and play it unapologetically.  It’s exactly what Juan Morel Campos would have done himself.

II. Principal Theme

This is definitely a Spanish rhythm.  It’s marked “giocoso” but should be played with brilliance and a stomp, in the true spirit of a zapateado, regardless of the speed you choose.

III. Secondary Theme

This is the heart of the danza, the cantilena, and it contains one of Morel’s sweetest tunes.  On the piano it should be taken at one’s own pleasure, but played tenderly and expressively.  I took a laid-back Caribbean approach in the rhythm of this section to contrast it with its faster counter parts, and to create some contrast.

IV. This is a Military March, and should sound like one.  Incidentally, Juan Morel Campos received his training in a School established by the Spanish Military Brigades that were stationed all over the Island.

V.  This last section has the function of both, ending the previous March, and forming a bridge between it and the final section.  The repeating octave groups should be played “poco a poco accelerando” and end loudly and abruptly.

VI. The final section recaps the danza rhythm heard in the 3rd section.  Think of it as its antecedent or counterpart.  These two sections share a very intimate relationship: they are like two lost lovers separated by inclement weather.  You could practically create a whole new piece just by marrying these two parts together!

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