One Thousand Years of Spanish Music

164 TUTOR: Wayne Bennett (MA)


The music of Spain has deep roots and is related to the music of the Islamic world and Jewish traditions as well as the more conventional music found elsewhere in Europe. We will encounter the blending of traditions and the making of a unique sound signature that is instantly recognisable. We will explore the music of Islamic Spain and its Christian counterpart, the glories of Spanish polyphony and the virtuosic music Scarlatti, Soler and Arriaga - known as the Spanish Mozart! Our survey will include Manuel de Falla, Enrique Granados and Isaac Albéniz concluding with some zarzuela, flamenco and the evocative music of Joaquín Rodrigo.


Course Notes


We will begin our exploration by looking at the music of Moorish Spain and its Jewish counterpart. This sound-world indelibly imprints itself on the music of Spain right up to the present day. We will also look at the vast Cantigas de Santa Mariaof Alfonso X of Castilla in order to get a measure of what was happening during the age of the Christian Reconquest.


After indulging in some monastic plainchant from the monastery of Santo Domingo del Silos in Soria province we discover how the arrival of polyphony transformed ecclesiastical music. The great composers of the age will be examined and we will listen to masterpieces by Morales, Victoria, Guerreroand Lobo.


Alongside the great music of the church there was music for the court. The Italian Domenico Scarlatti spent much of his working life in Madrid as did Spanish born Antonio Soler. Their contribution of the development of keyboard music cannot be overlooked.Neither can the theorist and guitarist Gaspar Sanz. He lay the foundations for the modern classical guitar repertoire. We will also hear the extraordinary work of Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga who sadly died at the age of 19.


If there was a 'Golden Age' of Spanish music then it has to be the second part of the nineteenth century into the twentieth century. Names such as Francisco Tárrega, Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados and Manuel de Falla. These and many others reinstated a Spanish-ness in music - all part of that Europe wide phenomenon of establishing national identities.


Today we loosen our focus to include the extraordinary musical invention that is zarzuela. A light form of popular opera more akin to the music. It's full of sentiment, drama and foot-tapping fun.Another popular musical form is flamenco which beyond the cliché is rhythmically and harmonically complex and yet today quintessentially Spanish. This leads us to that master of orchestral colour Joaquín Rodrigo. We will examine several of his works including the famous Concierto de Aranjuez.

Course Tutor

Wayne Bennett


About Wayne



After an initial training and career in the theatre (including working in London's West End and for over four years at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden) Wayne studied fine art and art history at Camberwell School of Art and Goldsmiths'College, University of London, where he obtained a first class honours degree. He studied archaeology at Exeter University and has a Master's degree in Art History from the Open University.For two years he worked for the Contemporary Art Society based at the Tate Gallery and for 23 years was General Manager and Director of Dillington House - Somerset's College of Adult Education until his retirement in 2015. He now divides his time between his research interests - archaeology, cartography, cultural history, music and art.He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.



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Summer School Dates for 2024

All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM