Songs in Spanish

For those of you teaching “classical” voice, I would like to encourage you to look at the wealth of Spanish language art songs and arias. Spanish is a completely phonetic language, and it is not hard to pronounce, especially if you have any experience with Italian. Unfortunately, it is not usually taught along with the “big 4” of Italian, English, German, and French. As the second most-spoken language in the United States, one would think that it would be sung more here. On the unusual occasions when Spanish lyrics are programmed, they are usually by Spaniards such as de Falla, Granados, Obradors, or Rodrigo.

For some other Spanish language composers, look in these collections as a starting point:

Anthology of Spanish Song, by María di Palma and Richard Walters

Canciones de España by Suzanne Rhodes Draayer (ed.)

Of course, Spain is only a small part of the Spanish-speaking world. There are some wonderful songs in Spanish by non-Europeans of the last 150 years, such as Ginastera, Ponce, León, Guastavino, Fabini, Orrego-Salas, Plaza, Chávez, and many more. The collections below contain some first-rate music that should be better known:

Art Song in Latin America: Selected Works by 20th Century Composers by Kathleen Wilson

A Guide to the Latin American Art Song Repertoire: An Annotated Catalog of Twentieth-Century Art Songs for Voice and Piano by Maya Hoover

The Latin American Art Song: A Critical Anthology and Interpretive Guide for Singers by Patricia Caicedo

La Canción Artística Colombiana (Two volumes of songs by Jaime León Ferro, one of my favorite composers in any genre) edited by Patricia Caicedo

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