home > list of works > orchestral music > orchestra >Tour de manivelle

Cover of the program of the premiere of Tour de manivelle
(Madrid, May 13, 2008)

Tour de manivelle

(Music for five short films by Segundo de Chomón)

Article Turina and Chomón play with the cinema, by Carlos Colón
Reviews and press news
Download scores


I must admit that it has not been easy for me to decide to accept the joint commission of the Community of Madrid Orchestra and the Teatro de la Zarzuela to compose the music for this new edition of its already traditional Concert-Projection. As those responsible know very well, the offer that had been made to me for a few years had met with my refusal time and time again, which was motivated both by my little time available to undertake a job of this magnitude, and by my misgivings. before my capacities to carry out the composition of the music for a silent film. In my more than thirty years of profession I have written a couple of operas, a stage-musical show, several choral and orchestral pages, and a lot of chamber music and for solo instruments, but I have always felt alien to the world of film music, against which I was warned by the meager deadlines that composers usually have as well as the subordination of their work to the primacy of the visual.
Undoubtedly aware of all this, my good friend and colleague José Ramón Encinar had the ability to lay me a sneaky trap from which I neither knew nor wanted to escape: on the one hand, to offer me generous time to write the score (two years, instead of one, as was customary); on the other, not entrusting me with the composition of the music for a feature film like those of previous editions, but allowing me to select a few short films from the abundant and dazzling filmography of Segundo de Chomón, without conditioning of any kind, whose joint duration would give meaning to the Concert -Projection.

Segundo de Chomón (Teruel, 1871 - París, 1929)

For a few days I dedicated myself fully to the task of viewing six DVDs, from the Cataluña Film Library, which included a large part of Chomón's films: no less than 100 short films, whose duration ranged from a little more than one minute, the shortest (Loïe Fuller, from 1902), to the long quarter of an hour in Le Fils du Diable (from 1906).
The short films contained in the DVDs (filmed mainly between 1902 and 1909) represent an eloquent sample of Chomón's talent for everything related to cinematography: photography, tricks, hand coloring and, starting in 1906, directing, techniques all of them in which the Teruel filmmaker gives undeniable and continuous proof of a talent and inventiveness that place him at the level of the best and most brilliant directors of the moment (the recognition of the parallelism between his filmography and that of Georges Méliès is practically unanimous).
What makes Chomón's cinema especially attractive –even more than a hundred years later, when nothing seems to dazzle us anymore, as far as special effects are concerned– is his vocation as a visual conjurer. There is no film of his that does not include some kind of trickery, from the simplest overprinting to the most elaborate arrêt de caméra, in a display of spectacularity that must have left the spectators speechless. Chomón is a kind of magician of the image, a true artisan of “nothing here, nothing there”, always ready to pull out of the hat a surprising effect that is always the penultimate in an endless series. If to this is added a magnificent taste for staging, and the astonishing and patient hand-colored, frame by frame, of many of his films, it will be perfectly understandable that we find ourselves with one of the greatest representatives of the cinema of his time, and it will not be understood that he is a perfect stranger to the common fan.
It struck me, as I was watching the short films included in the DVDs, that a considerable part of them had titles of children's stories: Ali Baba et les quarante voleurs, Le chat botté, Aladin ou La lampe merveilleuse, La belle au bois dormant, Le Petit Poucet … It is clear that the cinema of those years was aimed at a broad audience, generally family members, for whom viewing these films must have been a very pleasant moment of shared fun, with no age limit -for all audiences, to use an expression originally from the world of cinema. And since for quite a few years now I have been feeling more and more interested in the world of children and youth, to the point of having accepted to take charge of an orchestra like JONDE and having oriented a part of my catalog towards pedagogical music, it didn't take long for me to realize that what I really wanted was to give this Concert-Projection that was entrusted to me a festive, family atmosphere, composing the music for a show entirely thought out and carried out with children as the main recipients.
Based on that idea, I selected three short films based on three classic children's stories: Puss in Boots, Tom Thumb and Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp, to serve as the main core of the show. I started composing the music for Puss in Boots in the fall of 2006. In the winter of 2007 I started Aladdin, and in the course of it I decided that the three films about the three stories should be preceded and followed, in the manner of a prologue and an epilogue, of two more short films, much shorter in duration and very representative of Chomón's mise en oeuvre, although they were not directly related to the world of children: Creation of the Serpentine, an enigmatic film that begins in a mysterious and Mephistophelian environment and ends in a dazzling visual ballet, and the Cosmopolitan Dances in Transformation, a brilliant uninterrupted succession of pas de deux in which the same couple of dancers change their dances and their costumes on 16 occasions on little more than three minutes.
At the end of the prologue, the Serpentine character, created shortly before in the laboratory where the action of the film takes place, "comes out" of the screen and is in charge of being the guiding thread of the rest of the show, adopting the role of a story-teller who previously narrates what will be seen on the screen next, accompanied by music composed for this occasion. The texts do not try to be faithful to the originals, but rather to tell the action of each story in the same sequence that will later be seen in the projection. On the other hand, it has concerned me with taking care of the literary writing of those texts. Puss in Boots is told in prose, but the cat's interventions are in rhymed verse. Tom Thumb, for his part, is written in rigorous octosyllabic verses, but without any rhyme, or in any case fortuitous. On the other hand, the text for Aladdin responds to a very strict versification (octosyllables rhymed in a-a-b-c-c-b).
The absence of sound in films allows music to have a permanent presence, so the great difficulty lies in establishing a balanced symbiosis between music and image. The music for these short films by Chomón accompanies the image, underlining the action at times. Posed in this way, synchrony is necessary if the desired effect is to be achieved, which on the other hand poses serious difficulties for its performance in concert, which would be easily overcome in a studio recording.
In Creation of the Serpentine, two sections follow one another, the first incidental, and the second a dance that ends up becoming frantic, as the character multiplies himself. The music for Puss in Boots includes a good number of references, which the informed spectator will quickly identify: from the cat’s theme of Peter and the wolf by Prokofiev, to the march from The Marriage of Figaro with which Cherubino leaves for the victory, going through a brief memory of the Macabre Dance of Saint-Saëns, in the scene of the dance of the skeletons in the palace of the Ogre.
Tom Thumb, meanwhile, serves as the "slow time" of the global show. To the orchestral staff of the remaining four (2 woodwinds, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, harp, timpani, three percussionists and strings), the music for Tom Thumb is written solely for the string section, and in it the most dramatic moments are reached, in keeping with the cruelty intrinsic to the story itself: a true horror story that has disturbed almost all of our sleep in our childhood.
With Aladdin the jovial character of the music is recovered. The color of the entire orchestra is matched by the fantastic hand-colouring, admirably preserved in all its showiness, of this short film, the longest and most ambitious of the five, in which Chomón shows off his set design, as well as his tricks and special effects. And as the icing on the cake, the supreme inventiveness of the Cosmopolitan dances in transformation puts an optimistic end point to this Concert-Projection.
Tour de manievelle se estrenó en el Teatro de la Zarzuela de Madrid el 13 de mayo de 2008. La interpretación corrió a cargo de la Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid dirigida por José Ramón Encinar. La actriz Ana Hernández Sanchiz se encargó de dar vida a los textos que preceden a cada uno de los tres cuentos principales. Posteriormente, el concierto-proyección se repitió en 2008 y 2009, en diversos conciertos del ciclo de "Música para escolares" de la Fundación Caja Madrid.
The score of Tour de manivelle (French expression used to designate the act of filming a movie) was completed in December 2007, and is dedicated to the Fuentes Núñez family, with whom I have a close relationship: Ángel, Mariví and my three goddaughters, Alicia, Carolina and Berta.
Tour de manievelle was premiered at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid on May 13, 2008. It was performed by the Community of Madrid Orchestra conducted by José Ramón Encinar. The actress Ana Hernández Sanchiz was in charge of giving life to the texts that precede each of the three main stories. Subsequently, the concert-projection was repeated in 2008 and 2009, in various concerts of the "Music for Schoolchildren" cycle of the Caja Madrid Foundation.

Program of the premiere of Tour de manivelle
(Madrid, May 13, 2008)

First page of Creation of Serpentine, from Tour de Manivelle

First page of Puss on Boots, from Tour de Manivelle

First page of Tom Thumb, from Tour de Manivelle

First page of Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp, from Tour de Manivelle

First page of Cosmopolite Dances in Transformation, from Tour de Manivelle


El Gato con Botas / Puss on Boots
Pulgarcito / Tom Thumb
Aladino o la Lámpara maravillosa / Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp

El Gato con Botas

Hace ya mucho, mucho tiempo, el Anciano Molinero presintió su muerte y mandó llamar a sus tres hijos, para repartir sus pocos bienes entre ellos.
- Tú te quedarás con el molino -le dijo al mayor-. Tú, con el caballo -le dijo al segundo. Entonces se dio cuenta de que apenas le quedaba nada para el pequeño. Tras dudar unos instantes, le dijo antes de morir:
- Y tú, quédate con el gato.
Al dolor por la muerte del padre se unió en el joven el desconsuelo por una herencia tan miserable. Pero un día el gato se hartó de tanto oírle llorar y le dijo:

Soy tu herencia, y si te pesa
has de saber que conmigo
cambiará toda tu suerte.
Te haré poderoso y fuerte.
Lejos de ser un castigo,
te daré fama y riqueza.
Pero un poco de nobleza
no estará de más, amigo.
Dame un saco y unas botas
-procura que no estén rotas...-
y cumpliré lo que digo.
Usaré bien la cabeza.

Asombrado, el joven le dio lo que pedía, y el gato, tras calzarse las botas, se dispuso a cumplir lo prometido.
Al llegar cerca de una madriguera de conejos puso el saco en el suelo, lo abrió y arrojó dentro un puñado de hierbas. Se sentó a esperar, y al poco tiempo un conejo entró en el saco para saciar el hambre. El gato lo cerró rápidamente, y con el saco lleno y al hombro se dirigió al palacio del rey, donde pidió audiencia con el monarca, entregándole el conejo y diciéndole:

- Majestad, he aquí un presente
del Marqués de Carabás,
mi señor noble y valiente
que os ha de servir con más.

El rey agradeció el obsequio, y en los días sucesivos el gato repitió la misma operación con perdices, liebres, faisanes y todo tipo de caza menor. El gato fue haciendo amistad con los sirvientes de palacio, y así se enteró de que el rey salía todos los días a dar un paseo en berlina por la orilla del río, acompañado de su hija, la bellísima princesa. Y el gato tramó un difícil y arriesgado plan.
Una mañana convenció a su amo para que le acompañara a dar un paseo por el río, y en cuanto el gato sintió aproximarse la carroza real le dijo:

Mi señor, rápidamente
tírate al río. Deprisa,
no hay que perder un segundo.
Serás el amo del mundo
si, en pantalón y camisa,
te lanzas a la corriente.

No sin un punto de duda, el joven molinero se arrojó al agua. Cuando la carroza estaba ya muy próxima, el gato comenzó a dar grandes voces, diciendo:

¡Mi amo se ahoga! ¡Socorro! ¡Ayuda!
En las frías aguas del río ha caído
y nadar no sabe. ¿Alguno me ha oído?
¡Deje lo que haga y a salvarlo acuda!

Al oírlo, el rey mandó detener la carroza y ordenó al cochero que se echara al agua para socorrer al joven. Una vez fuera, le ayudaron a secarse y le hicieron entrar, no sin que antes el gato anunciara que quien había estado a punto de ahogarse no era otro que el Marqués de Carabás, a quien debían llevar a su palacio, en lo alto de una colina a cuatro leguas de allí, para que pudiera ser debidamente atendido después del susto.
El gato tomó enseguida la delantera, y al pasar camino del palacio por los campos que estaban al pie de la colina, dijo a los labradores con voz amenazante:

Para evitar la ruina
sobre estos campos de mies,
decidle al Rey, que en berlina
viene un poco más atrás,
que su dueño es el Marqués
mi señor de Carabás.

Los campesinos quedaron temerosos de que pudiera ocurrirles una desgracia si no hacían lo que el gato les había ordenado. Y cuando la carroza real pasó a su lado y el rey les preguntó que a quién pertenecían unos campos tan grandes y cuidados, todos contestaron a coro:
- ¡Al Marqués de Carabás!
Mientras tanto, el gato había tenido tiempo de llegar a lo alto de la colina. Llamó a la puerta del palacio y pidió ser recibido por su dueño, un ogro terrible que tenía atemorizada a la población, gracias a su facultad de transformarse en cualquier animal, incluso el más fiero. La escena en el interior del palacio era terrible, pues mientras unos esqueletos bailaban una danza macabra, el ogro arrojaba a unos niños a un caldero de agua hirviendo. El ogro le preguntó de malos modos que por qué se atrevía a molestarle, y el gato respondió:

Me han hablado de que puedes
transformarte en lo que quieres
con sólo pensarlo un poco.
Y me he dicho: "Hay que estar loco
para no ver la proeza
del poder de tu cabeza"

- Te han dicho bien -contestó el ogro, ufano y presuntuoso-. ¿En qué animal te gustaría que me convirtiera ahora mismo?
El gato pensó un instante.

Me gustaría un montón
verte en forma de león.

El ogro soltó una carcajada.
- ¡Ponte a buen recaudo, amigo, si no quieres que tu vida corra peligro!
Y en un abrir y cerrar de ojos se convirtió en un fiero león cuyos rugidos aterrorizaron al gato. Cuando el ogro hubo recobrado su forma natural (no menos fiera y monstruosa), el gato le propuso otra prueba:

Me he quedado impresionado
con esa transformación.
Me pregunto si has probado
en algún momento dado
a convertirte en ratón.

El ogro volvió a reírse de forma estruendosa, y se convirtió en el acto en un ratón diminuto. Entonces el gato, rápido como el felino que era, saltó sobre él y se lo zampó de un solo bocado. Inmediatamente reunió a los criados, a los que comunicó que había dado muerte a su amo y que a partir de ese momento pasaban a servir al Marqués de Carabás, lo que no dudaron en aceptar, con gran alivio al haberse librado de la tiranía del temible ogro.
Al poco llegó la carroza real, y ante el asombro del joven molinero, que no podía dar crédito a todo cuanto le estaba sucediendo, el gato y todo el servicio le recibieron como a su dueño y señor. El rey, al ver esto y la hermosura del palacio, le ofreció de inmediato la mano de su hija, con la que al poco se desposó en una solemne ceremonia cuyos festejos duraron varios días.
El gato siguió a su servicio, cumpliendo así la voluntad del Anciano Molinero y no revelando nunca el humilde origen de su amo. Sólo a éste se lo recordaba periódicamente, para que nunca olvidara cómo había prosperado:

Como has visto, nada impide
en esta vida triunfar
al que se arriesga y decide
utilizar con astucia
la cabeza y toda argucia
que sirva para medrar.


¿Os imaginais que un día
vuestros padres os dijeran
que al no poder manteneros
os iban a dejar solos,
abandonados en medio
de mil peligros sin cuento?
Pues eso fue lo que hicieron
un leñador y su esposa
al hallarse en la ruina.
Desesperados, deshechos,
se encontraron de repente
con que el único futuro
que sus siete hijos tenían
era ser abandonados,
dejados a la ventura,
porque el destino terrible
que, si no, les esperaba,
era mil veces más triste,
más inseguro y nefasto
que el que ellos podían darles
con su mísero trabajo.
De ese modo un día el padre
convocó a los siete hermanos
y los sacó de la casa
llevándoselos muy lejos,
adentrándose en el bosque
para que así se perdieran
cuando él los dejara solos,
pues no encontrarían nunca
el camino de regreso.
Pero el más joven de ellos
-Pulgarcito le llamaban
por su pequeño tamaño-
había oído a sus padres
mientras ambos discutían
qué iban a hacer con sus hijos.
Y entonces tuvo una idea:
iría dejando un rastro
de pequeñas piedrecitas
para encontrar el camino
de regreso desde el bosque.
Como lo pensó lo hizo,
y al notarse abandonados
sus hermanos prorrumpieron
en prolongados sollozos,
que enseguida se aplacaron
al mostrarles Pulgarcito
el camino de regreso
que marcaban los guijarros.
La sorpresa de los padres
al ver a sus siete hijos
de vuelta sanos y salvos
fue mayúscula, y pensaron
que debían intentarlo
llevándoselos más lejos,
a una parte más profunda
y más oscura del bosque,
de donde jamás pudieran
regresar a la morada.
Pulgarcito no pensaba
que otra vez lo intentarían,
y pillado por sorpresa
no pudo salir con tiempo
a recoger los guijarros
para marcar el camino.
Tan sólo pudo llevarse
un trozo de pan de hogaza
que deshizo poco a poco,
dejando detrás un rastro
formado todo de migas.
Al verse de nuevo solos
los siete hermanos, creyeron
que como la vez pasada
sería cosa muy fácil
desandar la senda andada
. Pero las migas de pan
no estaban en el camino,
pues los pájaros del bosque
se las habían comido.
Y cuando se dieron cuenta
de que sería imposible
encontrar la vuelta a casa,
fueron presas nuevamente
del pánico. Pulgarcito,
que del susto se repuso
con una gran rapidez,
se hizo cargo de la empresa
de velar por sus hermanos.
Asumió el papel de guía,
y tras caminar un rato
buscando alguna salida
del laberinto del bosque,
mientras caía la noche
y todo lo oscurecía,
pensó que desde lo alto
sería mucho más fácil
encontrar alguna pista
que revelara un camino.
Sin pensárselo dos veces
trepó a lo alto de un árbol,
y desde allí pudo ver
que a lo lejos una luz
señalaba entre los árboles
la existencia de una casa.
Hacia allá se dirigieron
ya más tranquilos, pensand
o que al menos por esa noche
podrían dormir seguros.
Al llegar estaba abierta
la puerta, y cuando entraron
vieron que en una gran sala
se encontraba una señora
que les recibió contenta,
pero también preocupada,
porque su esposo era un ogro,
y su plato preferido
era comer carne fresca,
cuanto más tierna mejor.
Al notar que se acercaba
les dijo que se escondieran
en un arcón, y al momento
llegó el ogro, cuyo olfato,
de una perfección suprema,
le indicó que no muy lejos
había una buena presa
con la que saciar su hambre.
"¡Aquí huele a carne fresca!",
dijo, y por más que su esposa
se empeñó en contradecirle,
llegó enseguida al arcón
y encontró a los siete hermanos
estremecidos de miedo.
Su apetito era tan grande
que al momento los quería
servidos en una fuente,
bien guisados con especias
que los hicieran sabrosos.
Rápidamente, la esposa
le sugirió que esperara
a la mañana siguiente,
pues después de haber dormido
estarían aún más tiernos.
Ante esa perspectiva
el ogro aceptó encantado,
y decidió que esa noche
la pasaría bebiendo
para abrir más su apetito
hacia el plato suculento
que en unas horas tendría.
La mujer llevó a los niños
a un enorme dormitorio
en el que había dos camas
grandes como catedrales.
En la primera de ellas
las siete hijas del ogro
dormían a pierna suelta,
con las cabezas tapadas
con unos vistosos gorros.
Los siete niños, temblando,
entraron en la otra cama,
y cuando quedaron solos,
ante el temor de que el ogro
apareciera en la noche
y quisiera devorarlos
antes de que amaneciera,
Pulgarcito, astutamente,
cambió el gorro de las niñas,
por el de sus siete hermanos.
Tal como había temido
al poco apareció el ogro
armado con una espada,
y como estaba borracho
y con la vista nublada
sólo se fijó en los gorros,
degollando así a sus hijas
en vez de a los siete niños.
Pulgarcito, horrorizado,
despertó a sus seis hermanos
y huyeron a toda prisa
de aquella espantosa casa,
adentrándose en el bosque
sin saber adónde iban,
con la sola orientación
del miedo a ser atrapados.
Cuando el ogro se dio cuenta
del desastre cometido
montó en cólera, y se puso
las Botas de Siete Leguas,
para correr tras los niños
y alcanzarles enseguida.
Pero estaba tan borracho
que al poco de perseguirlos
y ya muy cerca de ellos,
le entró el sueño, y se quedó
profundamente dormido.
Cuando lo vio, Pulgarcito
pensó que era un buen momento
para quitarle las botas
y ponérselas el mismo.
Y con un enorme esfuerzo
descalzó al ogro, y se puso
las Botas de Siete Leguas,
que servían, sobre todo,
para correr muy deprisa,
tanto, que casi volaba,
escapando de ese modo
y ayudando a sus hermanos
a encontrar la vuelta a casa,
donde desde ese momento
cambió la suerte de todos.

De este modo, Pulgarcito
demostró que su tamaño
no importaba, porque usaba
la cabeza de tal forma,
que, aunque el cuerpo era pequeño,
era capaz de alcanzar
lo que otros, grandes y fuertes,
nunca hubieran conseguido.
Por eso, no menosprecies
nunca al que tienes al lado
si parece poca cosa.
Puede que te dé cien vueltas
y que te deje en ridículo
por ser más inteligente
que tú, aunque te parezca
que por ser mucho más alto
habrás de llegar más lejos.
Tenlo siempre muy presente
y no olvides el consejo
aunque te parezca raro:
el tamaño no lo es todo.

Aladino o la Lámpara maravillosa

En un país muy lejano,
donde amanece temprano,
mucho más pronto que aquí,
donde sus extrañas gentes
hablan lenguas diferentes
y distintas entre sí,
vivía hace mucho tiempo
un joven triste y hambriento
que estaba siempre soñando
con vivir en otra vida
más dulce y agradecida
que la que le estaban dando
el infortunio y la pena,
la desgracia y la condena
a la perpetua tristeza,
a padecer el tormento
duro, cruel, perverso y lento
de vivir en la pobreza.
Y sobre todo soñaba
que un día se enamoraba
de una mujer muy hermosa,
con la que, juntos, vivía
por el resto de sus días
en una vida dichosa.

Un día, deambulando
mientras su alma iba llorando
por la calle, sin destino,
oyó el ruido de un cortejo
que sin duda de muy lejos
llegaba por el camino.
Y cuando pasó a su lado
pudo ver, alucinado,
que la mujer de su sueño
en un caballo montaba,
y que el pueblo la adoraba
como a princesa de cuento.
Pues princesa era, en efecto,
y estaba haciendo el trayecto
hacia el palacio real,
donde su padre reinaba
y a su pueblo gobernaba
y evitaba todo mal.
Aladino quedó mudo;
desgracia para él no hubo
mayor en aquel momento;
perdió el pulso, quedó blanco,
como encogido de espanto,
casi sin conocimiento.

De la escena fue testigo
un mago que, mal amigo,
quiso sacar su ventaja,
y le dijo que sabía
de un lugar donde podría
resolver su mala racha.
Aladino le hizo caso,
puesto que aunque fuera falso
nada que perder tenía,
y se fue detrás del mago,
que, saliendo del poblado,
asumió el papel de guía.
Tras caminar un buen rato,
junto al lecho de un regato
el mago cesó la marcha,
y señalando en el suelo,
justo a un paso de un ciruelo
le mostró que había una trampa.
Tras una explosión, la puerta
poco a poco quedó abierta
ante el susto de Aladino,
y hacia dentro de la tierra
le indicó que descendiera
y no perdiera el camino.
Aladino no quería,
pero el mago le insistía
a que iniciara el descenso,
y aun temblándole las piernas
descendió hacia las tinieblas
yendo cada vez más dentro.
Pero al fondo de la cueva
una luz completa y nueva
daba al sitio claridad,
permitiendo al visitante
continuar adelante
sin miedo a la oscuridad.
Y Aladino, deslumbrado,
lleno de estupor, pasmado,
con sus ojos pudo ver
que un fantástico tesoro,
todo de monedas de oro,
se extendía por doquier.
Y en un espacio contiguo
había un jardín antiguo,
y árboles cuyos ramajes
rebosaban de manzanas
de oro puro que, lozanas,
revestían sus follajes.
Aladino cogió una,
haciendo así su fortuna
sin saberlo, por deleite.
Y sobre un altar, brillante
como una estrella, elegante,
una lámpara de aceite
a la vista se imponía,
pues como la luz del día
su resplandor irradiaba;
imposible era no verla,
pues parecía una perla
de tanto como brillaba.
Al cogerla, una corriente
le sacudió, de repente,
de los pies a la cabeza,
pero sin perder su aplomo
pensó que, ni por asomo,
iba a dejar esa pieza.
Luego se dio media vuelta,
y al dirigirse a la puerta
para salir del lugar,
le impidió el mago la huida
al bloquear la salida
y no dejarle pasar.
Su intención era quitarle
la lámpara, despojarle
del bien recién conquistado.
Pero Aladino se opuso
con energía y, confuso,
el mago quedó frustrado,
y levantando un gran muro
le condenó sin futuro,
enterrado de por vida.
Horrorizado de espanto
rompió en un terrible llanto
que nada calmar podía
y sin cesar aumentaba
cuanto más cuenta se daba
que todo esfuerzo era en vano.
Como buscando consuelo,
la lámpara elevó al cielo
y la frotó con la mano.
Entonces, estupefacto,
vio como un Genio, en el acto,
surgió quién sabe de dónde
y, haciendo una reverencia,
le dijo: "Vuestra Excelencia
ordena, manda y dispone".
Sin entender bien del todo
qué pasaba y de qué modo
podía aquello explicarse,
le pidió que el muro hiciera
añicos; de esa manera
podría al fin escaparse.
"Complaceros será fácil",
dijo el Genio, y con un grácil
movimiento de su brazo
señaló hacia la escalera,
y donde el muro estuviera
se vio ahora un amplio espacio.
Como pies que lleva el diablo
corrió Aladino, incendiado
de pavor, nervio y premura
por llegar pronto a su casa
y poner por fin la lámpara
a buen recaudo y segura.
Y al llegar, rápidamente
la frotó, y nuevamente
el Genio acudió a la cita.
Le pidió vestidos, viandas,
riquezas, y a sus demandas
añadió que la maldita
morada en la que habitaba,
donde sus males penaba,
en palacio convirtiera,
y que un séquito de pajes,
con muy vistosos ropajes,
de inmediato le sirviera.
Todo se cumplió al instante:
Aladino se hizo grande
y se difundió su nombre,
y hasta el rey, de gran boato,
sintió el deseo inmediato
de conocer a ese hombre.

Y quedan para la Historia
el recuerdo y la memoria
de la audiencia de Aladino.
¡Qué presentes! ¡Qué regalos!
¡Oro, plata, joyas, cuadros,
requesón, manteca y vino!
El rey se siente abrumado.
De gratitud se ha llenado
y a Aladino se la expresa
con un gesto soberano,
concediéndole la mano
de su hija, la princesa.
Aladino está dichoso:
es un día muy hermoso
y ha tenido la fortuna
de conseguir lo que amaba
cuando pensaba, soñaba
y estaba siempre en la Luna.

Pero todo se estropea
cuando regresa a la escena
el mago malo del cuento.
Ve la lámpara en la alcoba
y, sin dudarlo, la roba
y se la lleva, contento.
Al instante ordena al Genio
que convierta en un infierno
la dicha de los amantes,
secuestrando a la princesa
y llevándosela presa
de una manera arrogante.
Aunque Aladino se opone,
la fuerza de que dispone
el Genio es mucho mayor,
y ve como en un momento
su nueva vida de cuento
se mustia como una flor.
Cuando el hecho se conoce
se acaba tan pronto el goce
que el rey ordena prenderle.
Alegando su inocencia
pide Aladino clemencia,
sin del todo convencerle.
Y el muchacho, desolado,
del palacio es expulsado
y abandonado a su suerte.
Su alma es una pura queja,
y el corazón no le deja
sino desear la muerte.

De repente, una mendiga
se le acerca con fatiga
para pedirle una ayuda.
Es una mujer muy vieja
cuya vida ya se aleja.
Su piel es toda una arruga.
El joven se compadece
de la mujer y le ofrece
un espléndido festín,
al entregar a la anciana
la muy brillante manzana
que se llevó del jardín.
En el acto, la mendiga
se transforma en hada amiga
de deslumbrante belleza,
que le presenta una daga
confiando en que le haga
recuperar su riqueza.
De este modo bien armado
corre en busca del malvado
causante de su ruina,
encontrándose a su presa
abrazado a la princesa
en actitud muy mezquina.
El mago, malhumorado,
con gesto de desagrado
se encara con Aladino,
pero éste, alzando la daga,
con rapidez se la clava
y le da justo castigo.
Herido el mago de muerte,
se desploma y queda inerte.
La princesa, liberada,
está muy agradecida
por salvar así la vida,
que por perdida ya daba.
Precedido de la guardia
llega el monarca a la estancia,
y cuando ve que en el suelo
yace el mago, apuñalado,
entiende lo que ha pasado
y da las gracias al cielo.
Y en el plazo de unas horas
manda celebrar las bodas
de Aladino y la princesa,
en las que el Genio interviene
y a todo el mundo entretiene
con su magia y su destreza.

Y aquí se acaba la historia
de Aladino, cuya gloria
se extendió, e hizo famosa
-y hasta convirtió en leyenda-
a la sin par y estupenda
lámpara maravillosa.

(Texts by José Luis Turina)

Turina and Chomón play with the cinema

(Article by Carlos Colón, published in the program of the premiere of Tour de manivelle)

Music in the cinema is part of the history of a long, although not always peaceful, friendship between music and entertainment. It all started in Greece, where for the first time music revealed its beauty to the first socially conscious public made up of free citizens who sanctioned the success or failure of the performance with their response; and where, for the first time, they reflected on the power of music to predispose certain states of mind. In Book 8th of his Politics Aristotle wrote: «Rhythms and melodies can represent, with a high degree of resemblance to the natural model, anger and meekness, courage and temperance and their opposites, and in general all the other poles. opposites of the moral life, as the facts demonstrate, with which it turns out that by listening to music we change our state of mind. […] In the melodies there is a natural possibility of imitating the customs, obviously due to the fact that the nature of the harmonies is varied, in such a way that listening to them in their diversity our disposition is different towards each one of them: in front of some of us feel full of pain and recollection, as when it comes to the harmony called mixolydia; with others more relaxed we feed voluptuous feelings; the Doric harmony is, on the other hand, the only one that inspires composure and moderation, while the Phrygian gives off enthusiasm».
From then until the appearance of the most elaborate forms of union of spectacle, dramatic representation, and music -masquerades and melodramas from the 16th century, operas and ballets from the 17th and 18th centuries- and their absolute integration into Wagnerian opera that blends words, representation, and music in the melodic, symphonic and dramatic continuity of the "total work of art", music has been a powerful ally -sometimes submitting the plot to its desire for autonomy and other times submitting to it- of the show. That is why it will be present in cinematographic projections even before cinema (as a set of production, representation and narration procedures) existed: when the cinematograph artifact filled the rooms to see moving images since 1895, the projections were accompanied by music; even before the Lumières, Emile Reynaud's Optical Theater announced its projections with musical accompaniment since 1888.
When the cinematographic language was articulated, the silent projections were accompanied by repertoire music (fragments of classics released in catalogs of scores ordered thematically -love, tragedy, persecution…- of great popularity during the silent) or by original scores written for the film (some of the oldest documented are the one composed by Camille Saint-Saëns for The Assassination of the Duke of Guise in 1907 or those written from 1908 by Stephane Chapellier for the projections of the Parisian Winter Circus). "Never did a cowboy parade cross the screen without the help of music, never did a drama elicit tears without its help," recalled Henri Colpi, the first historian of film music. «A silent film, seen without musical accompaniment, makes the viewer feel uneasy. Music is not only an instrument to express the affective tone, but the third dimension of the screen. Music makes accept the cinematographic image as a true image of living reality. The music ceases…, everything appears smooth…, shadows deprived of flesh», wrote the pioneer of film theory Béla Bálazs. According to the category of the cinemas, the films were accompanied by a piano, in the most modest ones, even by orchestras in the great theaters of New York, Berlin, London or Paris. From Paris, Joaquín Turina wrote an enthusiastic chronicle of the premiere of Fred Niblo's Ben-Hur at the Cinematographe de la Madeleine in 1926: «A large orchestra, conducted by Georges Bailly, with Miss Viola Mayer as organist, plays the musical adaptation, based on Massenet's Herodiades, Dupont's Les heures dolentes, Quo Vadis? by Nougués and a piece by Axt, made expressly for the Roman chariot race» (William Axt worked for the Metro in the silent and when he came to sound he directed his musical department until 1939).
The films by Segundo de Chomón (1871-1929) for which José Luis Turina has composed the accompanying music belong to the very first moment of the transition from the cinematographic artifact to the set of procedures, practices, findings or routines that we call cinema, since were shot between 1902 and 1906. It doesn't surprise me that J.L. Turina, endowed with both a sense of humor and mistrust towards the subordination of music to image, has chosen Chomón's non-narrative, magical and fun cinema of effects when deciding to compose for the screen. There is a first Chomón who works in the pioneering years of creation of the industry and the cinematographic language, filming his own fantasies (from Train Crash in 1902 to An Incoherent Excursion in 1909) and skits or historical reconstructions (Los guapos del parque in 1904 or The Sites of Chile in 1905) and acting as an operator or creating the effects for films of others (working at Pathé -hired as a rival to the triumphant George Méliès- for narrative films by pioneers Albert Capellani or Ferdinand Zecca between 1905 and 1907). There is a second Chomón who works for his own short-lived production company Chomón y Fuster (1910), for the production company Ibérico (1911-1912), dependent on Pathé, or for the extremely famous comedian André Deed (The lonely worm, 1912), which combines the effect with increasingly complex narrative structures. And there is a third Chomón who, at Italia Films in Turin, works as an operator and specialist in tricks for the great Giovanni Pastrone from 1912, placing himself in one of the centers of definitive conformation of the cinematographic language of which Griffith in Hollywood (The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance, 1915 and 1916) and Pastrone in Turin (Cabiria, 1914) represent the first monumental narrative models. Always in Italy he went as producer associated with Albertini Film in 1919 to return in 1923 to Paris. Of this last stage, his collaboration stands out in El negro que tenía el alma blanca by Benito Perojo (1926) and especially in the colossal Napoleon by Abel Gance (1927). Until his death in 1929 he worked on color filming.
José Luis Turina has chosen the first Chomón, less narrative, more playful and close to the universe of the magician George Méliès with one of whose collaborators, the variety actress and film colorist Julienne Mathieu, he married. J.L. Turina has chosen three stories -Puss in Boots, Tom Thumb and Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp, in addition to the fantasies Creation of the Serpentine and Cosmopolitan Dances in Transformation- that show Chomón's taste for the stories of Editorial Calleja and his perspicacity commercial, since Méliès had popularized the filming of stories known to all that facilitated the understanding of the plots, in addition to the creation of effects, at a time when there were not enough elements of cinematographic narration. Puss in Boots (1902) is a film by Lucien Nonguet and Ferdinand Zecca colored by Chomón with the "pochoir" (transparent celluloid template over which an aniline-impregnated cotton tampon was passed) that he created to help his woman. Tom Thumb (1903) was made within the series based on Calleja's stories. Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp (1906) is the result of his work as an operator and creator of tricks for Pathè, being produced by Albert Capellani, with which Chomón adds works for the three most representative filmmakers of Pathé: Zecca worked for the Pathé brothers since 1899 and was one of those responsible for the success of the production company thanks to films such as History of a crime (1900) or The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ (1902-1905), becoming artistic director of the studio, director of the American division of Pathé and the Pathé Baby department that launched the first home cinema in history; Lucien Nonguet was Zecca's assistant; Albert Capellani, also born from Zecca's entourage, rose to become director of the Société Cinématographique des Auteurs et Gens de Lettres in 1908, which the Pathé created after the successful creation of the rival Le Film d'Art to produce "noble" films, based on famous works or performed by famous actors and thus recover the bourgeois public that, lost in initial interest towards the moving image, left the theaters fed up with the simplicity of the films.
I leave for the last thing to note that with this score José Luis Turina recovers a family tradition: Joaquín Turina (1882-1949) composed the music for Primavera Sevillana and Campamentos (1941, short films), El abanderado (1943, L. Fernández Ardavín), Eugenia de Montijo (1944, López Rubio), Luis Candelas, ladrón de Madrid (1948, Fernán) and Una noche en blanco (1950, "Fernán", completed by Leoz), integrating some of these compositions into his catalogue.

Críticas y noticias en prensa

Turina opens the Zarzuela concerts to children
By Almudena González
(Press release of the EFE Agency. Madrid, May 11, 2008)
Tour de Manivelle is the title of the concert-projection based on children's stories

Madrid's Teatro de la Zarzuela hosts on Tuesday the world premiere of a score by José Luis Turina written for its traditional concert-projection, but, for the first time, it is intended for a family audience, since it is based on some short films by Segundo de Chomón about children's stories.
Tour de Manivelle is the title of this concert-projection by José Luis Turina, who in an interview with Efe assures that he has been for a long time "thinking about the need for composers not to live isolated in a creative ivory tower".
"We forget -he adds- that there are large sectors of the population that are very neglected. I think we neglect the children's audience. We are more interested in high speculation. I am more and more interested in the world of children and I wanted to do a show designed for them".
This is his first foray into the world of cinema, but he acknowledges that in a "rare and very free" way.
"I have made the music that some images have suggested to me. In these two years I have not had the feeling of being a film musician, which has many demands," continues the director of the National Youth Orchestra of Spain (Jonde) since 2001, position in which it will remain until 2011, according to the plans of the National Institute of Performing Arts and Music (Inaem) for those responsible for its production units.
For four years, he had been putting off José Ramón Encinar, director of the Community of Madrid Orchestra, to participate in these concert-projections, which on previous occasions used films such as Don Quichotte, with a score by Jorge Fernández Guerra, or La Pasión de Juana de Arco, with music by Marisa Manchado.
But the Reina Sofía Composition Award (1986) and National Music Award (1996) was not tempted by a feature film, and even less in view of the haste of a commission within a year, since the dedication that Jonde demands leads him to accept with great caution the works of composition.
But, he allowed himself to be "fooled" by an atypical proposal: to work two years ahead and based on some short films that he himself selected by the Spanish filmmaker Segundo de Chomón, a magician of special effects from the beginning of the 20th century.
He analyzed 100 titles created by the Teruel filmmaker between 1902 and 1908, until he decided on three that recreated classic tales: Puss in Boots, Tom Thumb and Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, which in the show are preceded by a piece entitled Creation of the Serpentine, whose protagonist leaves the screen and becomes the narrator.
José Luis Turina, who recognizes the difficulty for a conductor to fit the music with the image without renouncing the emotion of the music, proposes "sitting in an armchair and letting yourself go, listening without prejudice".

José Luis Turina puts music to Chomón at the Teatro de la Zarzuela
(Press release prublished in Diario de Teruel. Teruel, May 11, 2008)
The composer premieres five scores for the Teruel filmmaker on Tuesday

The Teruel director Segundo de Chomón is back in fashion with the premiere next Tuesday at the Teatro de la Zarzuela of five musical themes that José Luis Turina has composed for as many films by this pioneer of cinema. The concert, entitled Tour de manivelle (Music for five short films by Segundo de Chomón), will also be offered to school groups on Wednesday in a morning session.
The world premiere of the five scores once again places Chomón not as a genius of his time, but as a creator who continues to inspire other artists, such as the composer José Luis Turina.
The concert will take place at the Teatro de la Zarzuela next Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. and will be performed by the Community of Madrid Orchestra, under the direction of José Ramón Encinar, and will also feature the participation of actress Ana Hernández Sanchís as narrator.
In this new musical journey through Chomón's cinematographic universe, five short films that he colored by hand or made during his time at the French production company de la Pathè have been scored. The titles that will be screened and accompanied by the score are Creation de la serpentine (1909), Le chat botté (1903), Petit-Poucet (1909), Aladin ou la lampe merveilleuse (1906) and Danses cosmopolites à transformation (1902).
The composer of these scores, José Luis Turina, assures that what makes Chomón's cinema especially attractive, even a century after these films were shot, "is his vocation as a visual conjurer." And there is no film of his that does not include some kind of trickery, "from the simplest overprinting to the most elaborate arrêt de caméra, in a display of spectacularity that must have left the audience speechless".
Turina defines Chomón as "a kind of magician of the image, a true craftsman of nothing here, nothing there, always ready to pull out of the hat a surprising effect that is always the penultimate in an endless series". After a long work of viewing, Turina created the score for Tour de Manivelle, which he concluded in December of last year.

Segundo de Chomón's cinema returns to the big screen
(Press release of the Europa Press Agency. Madrid, May 13, 2008)
Several shorts by the Aragonese director about children's stories are being screened today in Madrid with unpublished music by Turina

MADRID. The Teatro de La Zarzuela in Madrid will present today the world premiere of "Tour de Manivelle" (Turn of the crank), a show with music by José Luis Turina that accompanies the projection of shorts films by the Teruel filmmaker Segundo de Chomón (1871-1929), a pioneer of special effects in cinema.
The Community of Madrid Orchestra (ORCAM) will perform the soundtrack live in this concert-projection with some of the shorts from the Aragonese director's first stage.

"A great filmmaker"
Turina, who received this commission two years ago, confessed that thanks to this project he has "discovered everything" about Chomón. "My cinematographic culture is that of a medium amateur. Even his name was new to me. After what I have researched and worked on, I can say that he was a great filmmaker and was in the most absolute cinematographic avant-garde of the moment," he assured.
The composer, who has been the director of a JONDE (Young National Orchestra of Spain) for six years, worked on a hundred short films by Chomón from the Filmoteca de Catalunya and belonging to his first period (between 1902 and 1909), in which the great talent of this filmmaker appears: photography, tricks, hand coloring, technique, direction, etc.
After seeing all this material, Turina decided on "basic children's stories", specifically "Puss in Boots", "Tom Thumb" and "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp". And he wanted them to be preceded by "Creation of the Serpentine" and followed, as an epilogue, by "Cosmopolitan Dances in Transformation", which are "a dazzling visual ballet" and "a brilliant succession of 'pas de deux", Turina indicated.
A year and a half and "many hours and lost diopters" is what Turina has had to create this score that, on the day of its premiere, will also have the participation of the actress-narrator Ana Hernández Sanchís.

Reach the children
José Luis Turina clarified that what he has tried is that this work "can reach a child audience." "Music is direct enough so that young children (between 6 and 10 years old) can enjoy it without prior knowledge," said Turina, who believes that in Spain there is a "lack of attention to children by composers."

The Teatro de la Zarzuela screens five shorts by Chomón with music by Turina
By Susana Gaviña
(Press release prublished in the newspaper ABC. Madrid, May 13, 2008)

MADRID. This evening, at 8 pm, and tomorrow, in a morning session for children, the Teatro de la Zarzuela will become a movie theater to host its traditional concert-projection, in which a composer puts music to a classic film.
On this occasion, the responsibility has fallen on José Luis Turina from Madrid who has chosen, among a hundred titles, five shorts by Segundo de Chomón: «Creación de la serpentina» (1909), «El gato con botas» (1908) , «Tom Thumb» (1909), «Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp» (1906) and «Cosmopolitan Dances in Transformation» (1902). The short films belong to the early days of the Aragonese filmmaker. In many of them -explains Turina- Chomón would resort to children's stories because at that time the cinema was something very familiar. With this selection, the composer brings a new approach to projection concerts by presenting a show for children, the great forgotten ones.
He has also been in charge of writing the texts that Ana Hernández will narrate during the screening. «It is a recreation in my own way of the recreation in images that Chomón did». As for the music, «it is inspired by what is happening but it is not a conventional soundtrack. The score can survive without the image as if it were a symphonic suite».

The composer who goes to the cinema
By Tomás Marco
(Review published in the newspaper El Mundo. Madrid, May 16, 2008)

Every year, the Teatro de la Zarzuela and the Madrid Community Orchestra hold a concert-projection in which important silent films are given sound by current composers. The initiative has given very good results so far and this year's has been one of the best.
With the title of Tour de Manivelle, that stupendous composer that is José Luis Turina has made five orchestral pieces that provide sound for five short films shot at the beginning of the 20th century by Segundo de Chomón, a pioneer of Spanish cinema who traveled to Paris in 1987 to study the invention of the Lumiére brothers, and one of the fathers of animation.
Films that undoubtedly have an undoubted interest, but I think the music that has been put to them has had it even more. Turina closely follows the events of the films and underlines them appropriately.
But it is not only about this, but at the same time he has made five autonomous orchestral pieces, of great quality and appreciable innovations that, for more virtuosity, fit perfectly together as if it were a unitary symphony, functioning perfectly as music for concert.
The composer has known how to treat the images of famous children's stories such as Puss in Boots, Tom Thumb or Aladdin with irony and ingenuity, but he has also managed to adhere to the initial fantasy of Creation of the Serpentine and the dynamism and dislocated humor of the final Cosmopolitan Dances.
This is where Turina has thrown the rest in terms of ingenuity and creative capacity, and although his grandfather left us the famous Fantastic Dances, these that are baptized as Cosmopolitan Dances are by no means inferior today.
The three children's stories were previously recited by Ana Hernández, who did it very well, but the work carried out by the Community of Madrid Orchestra can never be praised enough, a task that in this case is much more difficult than the simple execution of a concert and that perhaps is not so appreciated.
The orchestra was great, with its director in front, José Ramón Encinar, who is not only a great maestro, but who knows how to unravel new music and offer it in the best conditions like no one else.
Finally, between the author and his interpreters they gave us a most attractive session.

Segundo de Chomón, according to José Luis Turina
By Leticia Martín Ruiz
(Review published in the magazine Scherzo. Madrid, June 2008)

The Projection-Concert, a co-production of the ORCAM with the Teatro de la Zarzuela, is already one of the expected events of contemporary music in Madrid, has had this year two protagonists: Segundo de Chomón, one of the fathers of celluloid and inventor of many visual "tricks", and José Luis Turina, a composer who at each premiere shows us that he has one of the most interesting languages on the national scene. To convince the composer, as he himself explains, this year we have not found a film lasting more than an hour but rather five short shorts, which have been born as independent pieces although closely related and united under the title Tour de manivelle. Three shorts based on classic tales, Puss in Boots, Tom Thumb and Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, were the central body of the concert, accompanied by a prologue, Creation of the Serpentine, and an epilogue, Cosmopolitan Dances in Transformation, they showed us the primitive cinema by Chomón, the Spanish Méliès, with special effects and editing that were absolutely surprising for the time of its creation, the first decade of the 20th century.
José Luis Turina has written music for these stories that adapts frame by frame to the image, in perfect synchrony, with what this implies of expressive and narrative richness of the music. His knowledge of the orchestra has given him the perfect instrument to be able to go through different atmospheres, from the terror of Tom Thumb, with the string orchestra as the protagonist, to the magical moments of Aladdin or the dances of the epilogue, which worked almost like a music collage. Using his personal language, with a perfect structure and compositional technique, he has not renounced other expressive resources that are very similar to him, such as the quote, the cat from Peter and the Wolf or the Macabre dance that took us to the Dies Irae in an amazing percussive timbre. Turina himself, thinking of the children who would listen to him the next day, beautifully adapted the stories and they were narrated preceding the listening and viewing by the actress Ana Hernández-Sanchís, a good idea to explain to those who might not know the classic stories, but that limited the visual and musical rhythm of the concert.

Cinema and music
By Víctor Pliego
(Review published in the magazine Trabajadores de la Enseñanza. Madrid, June 2008)

CRANK Turn (Tour de Manivelle) is the apt title chosen by the composer José Luis Turina for the music he has written to accompany five delicious short films by Segundo de Chomón from the beginning of the last century. The maestro has been somewhat resistant to accepting the commission from the Community of Madrid Orchestra, which for the last nine years has premiered a score every year under the projection of some silent film classic. Incidental music has been a genre that until now has not attracted Turina and that also presents synchronicity difficulties to be performed live during a screening (something that does not happen, of course, in the recording studio). Fortunately, the director of the Madrid Community Orchestra, José Ramón Encinar, managed to convince him. Turina has written a beautiful score that accompanies, underlines and intensifies Chomón's shorts, who knows how to be in his place without renouncing his commitment to the most modern musical language. This pairing makes contemporary music easily reach all audiences and also makes that wonderful and primitive cinema that is rarely seen on the screens more accessible. José Luis Turina's music shows as much imagination and fantasy as Chomón's films. The composer has chosen three stories for this show (Puss in Boots, Tom Thumb and Aladdin) framed by two choreographic pieces: Creation of the Serpentine and Cosmopolitan Dances. Chomón's magic, ingenuity, humor and theatrical sense filled an evening that was short. The actress Ana Hernández Sanchís narrated the stories between pieces with the exact tone and expressive voice. They are tragicomic and sometimes sinister fables. The appointment did not disappoint the fans who come to it annually. The encounter between music and cinema has given, continues to give, and still has to give many satisfactions.


Interview with José Luis Turina about the premiere of Tour de Manivelle
By Leticia Martín-Ruiz
(Published in the magazine El Duende in January 2008)

Question.- The Projection Concert was born as an initiative that unites cinema with music (image to sound) so that they can provide feedback. To what extent has the fact that they are generated for a specific film affected music?
Answer.- In the specific case of the films I have chosen (a selection of short films by Segundo de Chomón, born in Teruel, about classic children's stories: Puss in Boots, Aladdin, Tom Thumb...) and the music I have composed for them, the interrelationship is absolute, since the music closely adapts to the image; follows, in a certain sense, the same dramatic course. I'm not saying that in other cases it couldn't be otherwise, but for this specific concert-projection, which is primarily aimed at children, the music was obliged to serve the image in a very direct way.

Q.- As it is not a film but several short films, do you propose the work as a unit or as independent parts?
A.- Each film has its own independent music, so that the end result is like a suite of five movements (one for each selected short). But even conceived in this way, there are some musical elements that jump from one film to another (for example: the ending of Puss in Boots and that of Aladdin are practically the same, with the necessary adaptations to the different length of the corresponding scenes), which gives unity to the whole.

Q.- Do you think that the result of this composition could have a life independent of the film?
A.- You never know what will happen to a score once it is finished and released, but I would certainly love it to be like that, although I would prefer it to survive as a global show than, because it is aimed at children , could have a long career in didactic activities for children, who in my opinion are the great ignored of contemporary creation, more attentive to flatter the taste or intellect of adults.

Q.- Contemporary society seems to be fleeing from silence, there is music everywhere, noise, machines... do you think that contemporary man can understand silent cinema or is it too abstract for him?
A.- Undoubtedly, contemplating a silent film is somewhat strange for us today, after having learned about the great technical progress that has occurred in the audiovisual world. But it was also effective for his contemporaries at the time, when they needed a group of musicians to animate what was being seen with sound. Be that as it may, human beings suffer from a chronic vacui horror, surely genetic, which makes the need for silence exclusive to rather strange and somewhat asocial people, with a capacity for introspection alien to ordinary human beings. But it is still curious that, although we like to surround ourselves with a sound environment, we hate that it is imposed on us (hence the hatred towards the annoying neighbor who turns the television too loud, for example, when we surely listen to it at the same volume, or the harmful annoyance, almost painful, of the noise of a motorcycle, which is nevertheless a source of pleasure for the biker who drives it).

Q.- In what way do you think that music composed in the 21st century can feed/contribute/improve/change these films from the beginning of the last century?
A.- I don't think that the music composed today is going to change or improve them, although it can change the attitude and interest of the spectator who is interested in them. Everything will ultimately depend on the quality of the score, just as whether a silent film survives depends on its intrinsic quality or its originality. If both circumstances occur, then an excellent symbiosis can be produced between the film and the music composed for it, resulting in a global and somewhat inseparable artistic product. This is the case of the Eisenstein-Prokofiev pairings, or more closely, Fellini-Rota, to give a couple of well-known examples.

Q.- What is the value of silence in your music?
A.- Silence is to music what the canvas is to painting, and therefore the composer can play with it and work on it at will, integrating it into the sound context and making it appear and disappear at will. In the case of music, it is, of course, a relative silence, as it is the element that guarantees that the music circulates fluently and spontaneously. This is all the more important the greater the complexity of the piece is: a score in which no measures of silence alternate between the different parts, or a part in which there are hardly any waiting measures, have all the ballots to end up being a dense and indigestible product. Absolute silence can also have a great musical component: apart from serving as an obligatory framework that signals the beginning and end of a work, it is likely to have a dramatic charge, of greater or lesser expectation, which makes it particularly expressive.


Videos of the five short films by Segundo de Chomón that make up Tour de manivelle. Music recorded live by the Community of Madrid Orchestra conducted by José Ramón Encinar, at the premiere at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid on May 13, 2008.

I. Creación of the Serpentine

II. Puss on Boots

III. Tom Thumb

IV. Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp

V. Cosmopolite Dances in Transformation

YouTube link: Cosmopolite Dances in Transformation

Download pdfs

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

General score of Creation of Serpentine

General score of Puss on Boots

General score of Tom Thumb

General score of Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp

General score of Cosmopolite Dances in Transformation