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Manuel de Falla

Nights in the Gardens of Spain (Noches en los Jardines de España) is a piece of music by the Andalusian composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946).

Falla began this work as a set of nocturnes for solo piano in 1909 but on the suggestion of the pianist Ricardo Viñes turned the nocturnes into a piece for piano with orchestra. Falla completed it in 1915 and dedicated it to Ricardo Viñes. The first performance was given on April 9, 1916, at the Teatro Real in Madrid with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid conducted by Enrique Fernández Arbós. The piano part was played by José Cubiles.

The work depicts three gardens:

  • En el Generalife (In the Generalife): The first gardens are in the Generalife, the jasmine-scented gardens surrounding the summer palace of the king’s harem at the Alhambra.
  • Danza lejana (Distant Dance): The second garden is an unidentified distant one in which there is an exotic dance.
  • En los jardines de la Sierra de Córdoba (In the Gardens of the Sierra de Córdoba): The third gardens are in the Sierra de Córdoba in Spain and feature lively gypsy dancing and singing for the feast of Corpus Christi.

Falla referred to Nights in the Gardens of Spain as "symphonic impressions." The piano part is elaborate, brilliant, and eloquent but rarely dominant. The orchestral writing is lush. It is Falla’s most "impressionistic" score.

The score calls for piano, three flutes and piccolo, two oboes and English horn, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones and tuba, timpani, cymbals, triangle, celesta, harp, and strings. Performance time usually runs in the range of 22 to 26 minutes.


It is also the name of a book by Witi Ihimaera.

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