Rodolfo Halffter´s Violin concerto: fusion of nationalistic Spanish elements and neoclassical style, analysis and a study of performance issues
Rodolfo Halffter's Violin Concerto is a work conceived within the aesthetic ideals of Spanish neoclassicism which developed in the first half of the twentieth century. The composition epitomizes the essence of the trend which aimed at the cultivation of a national musical heritage, and modernization of musical language. Melodic and rhythmic elements of the work derive primarily from the transformation of Andalusian musical idiom, Spanish dance music and popular music of zarzuela. Those components are reworked within the boundaries of the aesthetic concepts of neoclassical composition and specifically stylistic features of the style depouillé. This document describes and classifies this concerto as a neoclassical composition, identifies the most important elements of Spanish influence, deliberates on the hybrid nature of the piece, and focus on the coexistence of these elements which ultimately affect the interpretation of the work. This study offers introductory information which includes a brief biography of the composer, a description of his compositional style, and a consolidation of Spanish nationalism and Spanish neoclassicism. The discussion of the creative process within a neoclassical work, the classification of Halffter's Violin Concerto within the different possible categories that embrace neoclassical compositions, and the analysis of Spanish elements provide an aesthetic perspective vital for the interpretative purposes. In addition, this research paper intends to propose a critical interpretation of Halffter's Violin Concerto based on the exploration of historical and stylistic context. In this case the coexistence of both neoclassical and Spanish stylistic traits introduces a level of complexity which compels a performer to attend to the stylistic requirements of a number of accepted musical conventions and aim toward the perfect balance of these diverse elements. The argument herein delineates the most essential factors such as style and character which govern the interpretation of this work and suggests appropriate performance decisions based on the available editions. Further review and appraisal of choices concerning tempo, articulation, tone color and others considerations assist the performer in establishing boundaries for a stylistically informed interpretation.