Fernando Buide awarded the Foundation for Iberian Music’s Composers’ Commision 2023

Composer Fernando Buide has been awarded the Foundation for Iberian Music’s Composers’ Commision 2023. Antoni Pizà, the Foundation Director, remarked the originality of Cantos de Sofía Novoa, the piano work that received the award. The composer has written the following statement about this composition:

Cantos de Sofía Novoa

In 1941 Sofía Novoa, a Spanish pianist and pedagogue, presented a concert at the MOMA, NY, featuring Spanish folk and traditional music. The program, entitled Review Ibérica, included songs from her native Galicia, were Novoa was born and raised. Many of the songs programmed were sung by herself accompanied by traditional instruments such as bagpipes or percussions. Probably, this was the first time where this kind of repertoire had been heard in the United States

Novoa had left Spain during the Spanish Civil War; she had gone into exile in the US in 1937.

Throughout different concerts, at times also accompanying herself at the piano, Novoa kept introducing to American audiences these previously unknown musical traditions.

When listening to Novoa in the preserved recordings of these years, one discovers a voice which captures all the nuances and complexities of a repertoire orally transmitted throughout different generations. One would be surprise to realize that this woman was the same one who years before had been student of Nadia Boulanger in Paris; or one of the women who pioneered the introduction of the Dalcroze Eurythmics in Spain.

My piece for piano Cantos de Sofía Novoa is based on several songs presented by Novoa in America:

Teño un amor na montaña, Na beira do mar, Ai Pepiño adiós, Palmeira (I Have a Love in the Mountains, On the Seashore, Goodbye Pepiño, Palmeira). These songs are still very well known and popular nowadays in Galicia and offer a wide range of different tropes of the folk music.

The melodies recollected are freely transcribed and transformed into a seamless piece of music. The reflective atmosphere of the composition, and in a way, also ruminative, constitutes an imaginary evocation of Novoa´s concerts. It strives to be an homage and tribute to the work developed by this extraordinary and, to the date, scarcely known woman.

The work was completed in New York in November 2023.

Yu may listen to an excerpt of the work here: