Rogelio Groba's music


Rogelio Groba has become one of the most prolific Spanish composers. Among his more than 600 catalogued works, we find 10 cantatas, 14 symphonies, 5 operas, a “Galician mass”, 1 requiem, 19 concerts(three for orchestra, four for the violin, two for the piano, two for the cello, one for the viola, one for the flute and one for the clarinet, apart from eight microconcerts for the violin, cello and for stringed instruments) And, a great many of orchestral music, chamber music, suites, sonatas, songs, music for the piano, for duos, trios, quartets, quintets, choral, bands... All this production can be classified into four different stages:

The first stage can be called “stage of youth” that comprehends his initial compositions, from his first registered work until the cycle “Cantigas do Miño” (1985) or the Quartet number 1 “Galaico” (1961)

The confidence that this creative stage provides, lead him to initiate a new turn that went on during the 70's, in which Groba continues creating in the same line but in greater depth, increasing his range of works with other ones of great magnitude and of great orchestral complexity. The turning point is the composition of the cantata “Nova Galicia” in 1972 that means a challenge since the implicit search for a language with deep ethnic roots but of a universal value became innovative in the Galician Music World. This will be one of the principal characteristics of all the Groba's work: the composition of works with folk roots and provided with universal characteristics that make them accessible to different types of audience.

This stage does not imply the abandon of works for the band or for the choir that he will go on composing throughout his all life, but the search for new roads, new turns. After the cantata, new symphonic compositions will take place such as the diptico “Cruñesas” (1973); the cuartets “Lla-Fa” (1974), “Diabolus in musica”(1975) and “Tensiones” (1980); the concerts for the piano “Malleus animatus” (1974) and “Coexistencias” (1979), for the flute “Concierto gulansés” (1979) and for the violin “Nemet” (1981); the sonata “Mímesis” (1981), the baroque suite “Intres boleses” (1978), the cantatas “In memorial Manuel de Falla” (1977) and “Cantigas de Mar” (1981), and his first works for the piano: “Pandeirada” (1974), “soatiña” (1974), “Iniciación al piano” (1976), “Galecia” (1980) or “Tipoloxías” (1982).

The beginnings of the 80's offer a new perspective, a new stage of full creative maturity that had been announced with his work “Nova Galicia”. It is as if Groba had found himself and he started to work in compositions of great importance.

During the 80's and 90's a creative and productive stage is initiated in which works of great relevance are composed. It is the case of his five symphonies: “Lúdica”(1983), “Bucólica” (1984), “Épica” (1988), “Christmas Symphony”(1989), “Mágica” (1990) and “Sinfonía para cuerdas”(1996); or his five operas: “Divinas Palabras” (1987), “María Pita, la fuerza de la libertad”(1991), “Caminos de Rosalía” (1994), “Floralba”(1998) and “Pedro Madruga, o noso Rei” (2001); and some other compositions of great acceptance such as the ballets “Metaphoras” (1985) and “Galicia. Danzas meigas” (1997); the concerts for the violin “Confidencia), for the cello “Fauno” (1992) and “Añoranzas” (2002), for the orchestra “Ophiusa” (1996) and “Ostinato” (2001), and for the clarinet “Koncerto Klásico” (1998); the cantatas “Mandatum” (1986), “Anxos de Compostela” (1989), “Cantata de mayo” (1989), “Gran Cantata Xacobea” (1992) and “Corpus en Ponteareas” (1995); the sonatas “Diálogos”(1987) and “Laxeiriana” (1991), the suites “San Xián” (2003), “Suite celta” (2003) and “Grovios” (2004), the Galician Mass “Corpus Christi” (1991), the collection “Danzas antiguas” (2003) or the requiem “Samaín. Réquiem gallego” (2003).

This orchestral work can be complemented with a deep study of the Galician folk music that has its place in many of his works, especially those composed for the choir such as the collections “Galicia cantada” (50 Galician songs, 1983), “Veinticuatro alalás” (1984), “Tres cantos de arriero” (1985), “Ocho canciones antiguas” (1997) and his “Ocho microconciertos” (for the chamber orchestra, 1997), “Coplas campesinas” (2000) or “Sete cantigas sen verbas” (for the piano, 2003) and a great amount of individual works inspired by the Galician musical heritage.

This third productive stage runs parallel, from the middle of the 90's, to the fourth stage in which, after more than 40 years dedicated to compose and without leaving his career as a creator, he takes a look to the past to review some of his most interesting works.

Some of these revisions have become new versions for the different orchestral formations (a constant throughout his career). However  some others have been carried to the original studio to be polished  up, as it is the case of the concert “Nemet”, the cantata “Nova Galicia”, the “Concierto gulansés” or his first work “Añoranzas de juventud” among others.

Joaquín Turina said in 1929 that Galicia, in opposition to the rest of the Autonomous Communities in Spain, Galicia has not found “its musician, an outstanding musician who feels as an authentic native the poetry of the green mountains. The music critic Leopoldo Hontañón assures that 64 years later, that “here and now, Galicia would accept Rogelio Groba as that musician worthy of holding the emptiness it was denouncing”. But, the absolute truth is that his sentence is full of certainty.

We can find all the Galician's faces in Groba's works from a pure artistic perspective. Topics of ethnic and historic origins, the religious and superstitious Galicia, the rural evocation of its landscape, the future scope and projection of its land, the irony, the sea, its people, rivers, its popular mythology and a long list of topics are the raw material Groba use for his compositions.

When Groba speaks about his own works, he rules out the possibility of identify himself with a unique aesthetic style in his compositions. He insists on the fact that it is each specific topic what determines the approach in his works. Even so, he normally distinguishes between two different styles. On the one hand a classic, traditional style that he names “in modo antico” (which is also the subtitle of some of his compositions). This style is more accessible and direct. On the other hand we can mention the pure “grobiano” style in which the interval of diminished fifth is predominant, a kind of sound line similar to the one Van Gogh uses in his paintings. It is in this style where we can see the pure “valleinclanesco”, expressionist, sentimental and romantic Groba.