Episode 20: Antonio José: Silencing and Remembering a Spanish Composer

Episode 20 with Bob Long

Antonio José Martínez Palacios was one of the most promising composers of early twentieth-century Spain.  From his humble beginnings as a musical prodigy from the provincial capital of Burgos, the composer (known as Antonio José) won praise for his choral works and orchestral pieces, drawing inspiration from his native Castile.  But as a proponent of education and Republican values in a deeply conservative town, Antonio José was murdered by a Falange militia at the beginning of the Civil War in an execution that has been compared to that of poet Federico García Lorca.  For some 40 years, the Franco regime banned performances of Antonio José’s music, but his oeuvre has been rediscovered in recent decades.  In this episode, Bob Long, a professor of history at Elgin Community College and a professional musician, traces the life, death, silencing and recuperation of this composer through listening to and analyzing several selections of Antonio José’s music.  We begin with the second movement (Balada: Lento y apasionado) of his Suite ingenua (1928).

The Episode

The Guest

Bob Long (1950-) began his professional career as a jazz pianist over forty-years ago in Chicago and has recorded and performed most of his life there. He has also performed at the JVC Jazz Festival in New York, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, and the Chicago Jazz Festival twice.

In 2006, at the age of 56, Bob began graduate school to study modern European history at the University of California, San Diego and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for 2011-12 for research in Spain. His doctoral dissertation, “Salir del desierto: Dissident Artistic Expression under Franco: 1936-1975,” focused on the lives of three Spanish artists, composer Antonio José, novelist and poet Jesús López Pacheco, and painter Antoni Tàpies during the period of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. The work emphasizes the agency of dissident artists under conditions of political oppression and has been the underpinning of his research into artistic expression as a vehicle for protest.

In 2006, at the age of 56, Bob began graduate school to study modern European history at the University of California, San Diego and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for 2011-12 for research in Spain. His doctoral dissertation, “Salir del desierto: Dissident Artistic Expression under Franco: 1936-1975,” focused on the lives of three Spanish artists, composer Antonio José, novelist and poet Jesús López Pacheco, and painter Antoni Tàpies during the period of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. The work emphasizes the agency of dissident artists under conditions of political oppression and has been the underpinning of his research into artistic expression as a vehicle for protest.

Bob received his PhD in history from UCSD in June of 2014 and taught there briefly as a lecturer that same summer. He has since been teaching as a professor and lecturer in history at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois and at Elgin Community College, Elgin, Illinois, and as a piano instructor at the School of Rock in Evanston, Illinois. He continues to perform as a composer and jazz pianist at the same time.

Trailer for the Documentary Pavana Triste

Suggested Reading

  • Acker, Yolanda. The Castilian Composer Antonio José Martínez Palacios (1902-1936): A Biographical Study with a Catalogue of Work. Melbourne: University of Melbourne, 1995.
  • Antonio José. Pavana Triste. Director, Gregorio Méndez, 2017, Burgos, Spain. http://antoniojose.org/
  • Ballesteros Caballero, Floriano, et al., Burgos 1902-1936: Antonio José y su época. Burgos, Spain: IMC, 2003.
  • Barriuso Guiterrez, Jesús, Fernando García Romero, and Miguel Ángel Palacios Garoz, Antonio José: músico de Castilla. Madrid: Unión Musical Española, 1980.  
  • Graham, Helen. The Spanish Republic at War: 1936-1939. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Haroutounian, Joanne. Kindling the Spark: Recognizing and Developing Musical Talent. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.  
  • Hernández, Ángel Llorente. Arte e ideología en el franquismo: 1936-1951. Madrid: Visor, 1995.   
  • Holguín, Sandie. Creating Spaniards: Culture and National Identity in Republican Spain.   University of Wisconsin Press, 2002.
  • Palacios Garoz, Miguel Ángel Palacios. En tinta roja: cartas y otros escritos de Antonio José. Burgos: Instituto Municipal de Cultura, 2002.
  • Vilaplana, Antonio Ruíz. Doy fe: un año de actuación en la España nacionalista. Paris: Éditions Imprimerie coopérative Étoile, 1937.

Music Credits

  1.  “Balada: Lento y apasionado.”  Suite ingenua, for piano and strings.  The Castile and León Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alejandro Posada with Alberto Rosado, piano.  Recorded July 2003.  Track 10 on Antonio José.  Naxos.  Used with permission.
  2.  “El campo: Allegro.”  Sinfonía castellana.  The Castile and León Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alejandro Posada.  Recorded July 2003.  Track 1 on Antonio José.  Naxos.  Used with permission.
  3.  “Aquel Galán que allá viene.”  Cuatro canciones populares burgalesas.  Coro Ars Nova.  Conducted by Javier Castro.  March 2018.  Source: Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT8UzpGmJqQ
  4. “Final. Allegro con brio.”  Guitar Sonata.  Irina Kulikova, guitar.  Recorded 2008.  Track 6 on 50th Anniversary Michele Pittaluga Guitar Competition, Alessandria.  Naxos.  Used with permission.
  5. “Balada: Suite Ingenua Arrangement for Jazz Trio.”  Arranged by Bob Long.  Bob Long, piano; Ken Haebich, bass; and Charles Heath, percussion.  Crystall Recorders Studio.  Used with permission.

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