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The Cosmos Ensemble, in a picture taken in 2016

Scherzo para un hobbit / Scherzo for a hobbit

For Quintet

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Composed during the summer of 1997, coinciding with a time of great interest of my children in Tolkien's fantastic universe, this Scherzo for a hobbit intends to elaborate, within its small dimensions, a large number of very diverse and changing materials, through a discourse that at all times seeks to facilitate direct and immediate understanding of the work by the listener. The scherzante character of the composition contributes to this in no small measure, which is achieved through a great agility in the treatment of the material, as well as its presentation by the different instruments in an always difficult synthesis of simplicity and technical brilliance. As Tolkien's character also suggests, the Scherzo sometimes does not hide a great capacity for lyricism, and the premeditated alternation between both characters is intended to contribute to an effective clarification of the formal structure of the work.

Hobbits are an unobtrusive but very ancient people, more numerous formerly than they are today; for they love peace and quiet and good tilled earth: a well-ordered and well-farmed countryside was their favourite haunt. They do not and did not understand or like machines more complicated than a forge-bellows, a water-mill, or a hand-loom, though they were skilful with tools. Even in ancient days they were, as a rule, shy of 'the Big Folk', as they call us, and now they avoid us with dismay and are becoming hard to find. They are quick of hearing and sharp-eyed, and though they are inclined to be fat and do not hurry unnecessarily, they are nonetheless nimble and deft in their movements. They possessed from the first the art of disappearing swiftly and silently, when large folk whom they do not wish to meet come blundering by; and this an they have developed until to Men it may seem magical. But Hobbits have never, in fact, studied magic of any kind, and their elusiveness is due solely to a professional skill that heredity and practice, and a close friendship with the earth, have rendered inimitable by bigger and clumsier races.

J. R. R. Tolkien: Lord of the Rings

Written for a quintet made up of a violin, a viola, a clarinet, a bassoon and a piano -whose responsibility bears much of the specific weight of the piece-, this Scherzo for a hobbit is my particular way of congratulating its dedicatee, the Cosmos Ensemble, on its tenth anniversary, as well as conveying to its components my deepest testimony of admiration for their work, as tenacious as it is necessary and unfairly valued in the increasingly precarious scenario in which contemporary Spanish music is currently forced to develop.

Program of the premiere of the Scherzo for a hobbit (Granada, april 19, 1998)

The Scherzo for a hobbit was premiered by the Cosmos Ensemble, conducted by Carlos Galán, in a concert that took place on April 19, 1998 at the "La General" Cultural Center in Granada.
Later I made a version for violin, cello, clarinet, bassoon and piano, and in 2019 another for flute, violin, viola, cello and piano.
In 2013, the cello version of Scherzo for a hobbit was included on the CD José Luis Turina. Chamber Music (CD VRS 2131), published in the BBVA Foundation's collection Spanish and Latin American Composers of Current Music, performed by the Plural Ensemble conducted by Fabián Panisello.

Cover of the CD of the Plural Ensemble (2013)


Recording: Plural Ensemble (cond.: Fabián Panisello) (fragment)

YouTube link

First page of the original version of the Scherzo for a hobbit (1997)

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(Scores and parts without watermarks available at www.asesores-musicales.com )

Score of the original version for violin, viola, clarinet, bassoon and piano of the Scherzo for a hobbit

Score of the version for violin, cello, clarinet, bassoon and piano of the Scherzo for a hobbit

Score of the version for flute, violin, viola, cello and piano of the Scherzo for a hobbit