Manuel de Falla Biography – Life Wiki, Age, Work, Death

You are currently viewing Manuel de Falla Biography – Life Wiki, Age, Work, Death

Manuel de Falla, also called Manuel Maria de Los Dolores Falla y Matheu is a famous Spanish composer who has received international recognition. The Spanish composer composed his music with distinctive lyrics from traditional folk songs and dances to produce his music on nationalist lines. The fusion of poetry simple and fervor embodied an essence that embodied Spain in its pure shape. Like Isaac Albeniz, Enrique Granados and Joaquin Turina, Falla is recognized as one of the country’s most influential musicians who contributed significantly to classic music that was popular in the early second half in the second half of the 20th century. Manuel composed a variety of music including pieces for opera, ballet chamber music Spanish song, classical music, and Zarzuelas. One of the more well-known people in Spanish music Manuel de Falla has composed numerous pieces that are considered to be masterpieces in their own right. Noches en los jardines de Espana” (“Nights in the Spanish Gardens”) is among his greatest pieces of art. Also, he is known by his dance “El Amor Brujo” (Love The Magician) as well as his opera “La Vida Breve” (The short life), Manuel de Falla is a renowned composer.

Manuel de Falla’s Childhood and Early Life

Manuel Maria de los Dolores Falla y Matheu was born on November 23, 1876 in the family residence (3, Plaza de Mina) to Jose Maria Falla y Franco and Maria Jesus Matheu y Zabala. His first music teachers were his grandfather and mother. When he was nine, he started taking his piano classes in the company of Eloisa Galluzo. His friendship with Eloisa Galluzo was cut short when she decided to become an nun at the conventknown as the Sisters of Charity. In 1889, Manuel was able to study piano under Alejandro Odero, and harmony and counterpoint with Enrique Broca. He was interested in journalism and music and, along with his fellow students they created the literary magazine “El Burlon”. At the age of 14 Manuel showed a talent for literature, theatre as well as painting. He set out creating a second journal, “El Cascabel”, where he served as”the “contributor” and later as”editor” “editor”. At the age of 17 Manuel was able to channel his artistic talents toward music. He frequently traveled for Madrid in 1896 to study piano alongside Jose Trago at the Escuela Nacional de Musica y Declamacion.

Beginning Of A Musical Career

In 1897, Falla composed “melodia” for cello and piano. The work has been dedicate to Salvador Viniegra, in whose home Falla took part in concerts in chamber music. As an external student at the Escuela Nacional de Musika and Declamacion, in 1898 Falla was able to pass with distinction through the initial three years of theory in music as well as the first five years of piano program. It was a composition by him, his Scherzo to C minor. With the unanimous consent of his peers that he was awarded the first prize for piano at his institution “Escuela Nacional de Musica and Declamacion” and completed his formal training in the year. That same year he premiered his first works “Romanza para violonchelo y piano”, “Nocturno para piano, Melodia para violonchelo y piano”, “Serenata andaluza para violin y piano”, and “Cuarteto en Sol y Mireya”. In the year 1900, he composed Cancion for piano, as well as several other works for piano and voice. He also composed “Serenata andaluza” and “Vals-Capricho” for piano. Also, due to his family’s uncertain financial situation, he decided giving piano lessons. Fallas the first of his attempts at zarzuela that comprise “La Juana y La Petra or La casa de tocame Roque” originate from this time. In 1901, the composer was introduced to Felipe Pedrell and composed “Cortejo of Gnomes” along with “Serenata” both for piano. While he was at it his work was on the Zarzuelas “Los amores de Ines” and “Limosna de amor”. He also met musician Joaquin Turina and saw his works “Vals-Capricho” along with “Serenata andaluza” being published by the Society of Authors.

The composition of “Allegro of concierto” was first conceived in 1903 and entered into a competition run by Madrid Conservatoire. Enrique Granados eventually won the first prize, however it was the Society of Authors published “Tus negros ojillos” as well as “Nocturno”. Falla worked alongside Amadeo Vives on three of his zarzuelas, of which only fragments remain. In 1904 the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando declared the possibility of a novel “Spanish Opera in one Act”. Falla was enticed to participate in the contest and began work on “La Vida Breve”. He was awarded his first award for his composition. Then, in the month of April 1905, he was the winner of another competition for pianos that was organized through the Ortiz y Cusso Company. The piece he composed “Allegro of Concierto” was performed on the Ateneo in Madrid. Manuel was inspired by music director Joaquin Turina to move to Paris and show his talents.

Musical Stint in Paris

Manuel de Falla travelled around Europe, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany as an orchestra pianist with the touring company of a theatre company that performed andre Wormser’s L’Enfant prodigue. He had the opportunity to meet a range compositional masters that had an impact upon his musical style such as those who were impressionists, such as Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy and Paul Dukas. The year 1908 was the time he received an allowance from Spanish King Alfonso XIII to remain in Paris and compose “Pieces spanishes”. He performed in the north of Spain with the other musician of a trio featuring cellist Antonio Fernandez Bordas and cellist Victor Mirecki and completed “Con Afectos de Jubilo and Gozo”. Dramatist Paul Milliet translated the libretto of “La vida breve” into French in order to have the piece performed throughout France. It was in 1910 that Falla was the first to have an meeting to Igor Stravinsky and he met Georges Jean-Aubry, Ignacio Zuloaga, Joaquin Nin and Wanda Landowska. In his first trip to London during 1911, the composer performed an concert in the month of March. In 1912, he traveled across Switzerland in addition to Italy and, in Milan, Tito Ricordi negotiated with him to publish La vida breve. The year 1913 was the year La Vida Breve first performed in the Municipal Casino in Nice and then later his work was performed in “repetition generale” in front of the public and the press at the Théâtre National de l’Opera-Comique , in Paris. Max Eschig published the score and was later Falla’s publisher. Following the start of World War I in 1914, Falla returned to Spain and was settled in Madrid. It was during this time that Falla was entering his mature creative phase.

Return to Madrid

Manuel de Falla returned to Madrid during the onset of World War 1. Manuel de Falla returned to Madrid at the outbreak of World War 1. Ateneo de Madrid, a private cultural organization that paid tribute to Joaquin Turina and Manuel de Falla in 1915. The same year, the singer joined Maria Lejarraga (wife of Gregorio Martinez Sierra) for an excursion across Granada Ronda, Algeciras and Cadiz. While on a brief visit to Cau Ferrat in Sitges the composer worked tirelessly with his well-known, nocturne composed for orchestra and piano “Noches in the Gardens of Espana”. In 1916, The Revista Musical Hispano-Americana published Falla’s article “Enrique Granados: Evocacion de su obra”, and the newspaper La Tribuna published his “El gran musico de nuestro tiempo: Igor Stravinsky”. In the summer and spring of 1916 the composer performed concerts at Seville, Cadiz and Granada. The Revista Musical Hispano-Americana published a further article by Falla in its December issue: “Introduccion al estudio de la musica nueva”. Fallas premiere performance in a rendition of “El amor brujo” for a small orchestra took place in 1917. In the same year, he wrote the prologue for J.T. Turina’s “Enciclopedia abreviada of Musica” and then the magazine “Nuesta musica” in the June issue. He also was working in the comic operetta, Fuego fatuo, based on the libretto of Maria Lejarraga. In April of 1918 the composer made a speech for an event held in the Ateneo de Madrid to pay tribute to the late French composer. His princess de Polignac commissioned him to compose a piece that she could use for her evening in Paris and Falla was the one who came up with the idea for El Retablo of maese Pedro. The year 1919 was the time that Manuel’s parents were killed. The loss really shocked Manuel. In the same year, his performance adaptation of El sombrero de tres piscos the ballet presented at London and choreographed by Leonide Massine, and costumes and sets created by Pablo Picasso. It was one of his most famous works. In 1919, Manuel visited Granada with his sisters Maria del Carmen and Vazquez Diaz, along with his wife, to be a part of a tribute presented to him through the Centro Artistico.

Stay at Granada

From 1921 until 1939, Manuel lived from 1921 to 1939 in Granada. Falla became deeply involved in the cultural activities of Granada as well as interacting with notables like Miguel Ceron, Fernando de los Rios, Hermenegildo Lanz, Manuel Angeles Ortiz and most importantly, Federico Garcia Lorca. In Granada, he organized the “Concurso of Cante Jondo” in 1922. He composed the puppet show “El Retable de Maese Pedro” as well as a concerto called Harpsichord Concerto. Both of these pieces were composed in the spirit of Wanda Landowska in mind. The year was Granada, Falla began work on the massive orchestral cantata “Atlantida”. He believed Atlantida as the single most significant of his compositions. It was 1924 when Falla as well as Angel Barrios was elected a as a permanent member of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de Granada. He also wrote “Psyche,” an adaptation of a poem written by Georges Jean-Aubry. The same year, he was made as an official member of Real Academia Hispano-Americana de Ciencias y Artes de Cadiz. In the spirit of Falla’s that year, his Orquesta Betica de Camara was established in Seville as well. In 1927 the year of Fallas birthday, tributes to his 50th anniversary continued, and it was announced that the Orquesta Betica de Camara hosted concerts at the Coliseo Olympic in Granada. In Granada, Falla received a large amount of attention due to his efforts. But, in 1937 due to his deterioration in health, Falla was consigned to his home. The year 1939 saw him retreated away from Granada into Barcelona together with his younger sister. following that after that, from Barcelona was off on a journey to Argentina for a set of four performances at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.

His Last Years

Falla was working on Atlantida following his move into Argentina after 1939. He initially settled with his family in Villa Carlos Paz, then later located in Villa del Lago. He conducted an orchestra concert, the Orquesta Sinfonica of Cordoba to help the flood victims in the capital. He also received the Gran Cruz of the Orden Civil of Alfonso the Sabio. In 1940, he led two shows on the radio station “El Mundo”. Manuel’s health was seriously declining and, at the start in 1942, he retreated in his lodge “Los Espinillos” close to Alta Gracia in the province of Cordoba. It was his last home. He refused an offer from his Spanish Government to return Spain. Despite his health issues He continued to work on Atlantida and in 1945, he was beginning to translate the final versions of certain parts in the project.

Personal Life

Manuel de Falla never married and did not have children. His relationships with women didn’t last for long, and there were allegations of misogyny and homosexual tendencies. The image he portrayed in public was one of ascetic and saintly.


On November 14, 1946, just nine days prior to his 70th birthday, Falla had an heart attack and died in his sleeping on the beach at “Los Espinillos”. The funeral was held at Cordoba Cathedral and in December the following year, her sister Maria del Carmen embarked for Spain and his remains. The body was finally placed within the cathedral’s graveyard in his home city.



  • El Amor Brajo: Recit du pecheur and Pantomime (orch and mezzo)
  • El Amor brujo: Ritual Fire Dance
  • El Corregidor y la Molinera
  • Fuego fatuo (1919)
  • Homenajes (orchestra)
  • The Three-Cornered Hat (El Sombrero de Tres Picos)
  • La Vida Breve (Life is Short)

Soloist(s) and Orchestra

  • El Amor brujo (Second Version) (1925)
  • El Amor brujo: Chanson du feu follet
  • El Amor brujo: Ritual Fire Dance
  • Nights in the Gardens of Spain
  • Evenings at the Gardens of Spain (chamber orchestra)
  • Seven Popular Spanish Songs 12 minute(s)

Works for Band/Wind/Brass Ensemble

  • The Three-Cornered Hat: Miller’s Dance
  • Soloist(s) as well as Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
  • El Amor brujo (First Version)

Works for 2-6 Players

  • El Amor brujo: Dance of Terror & Ritual Fire Dance
  • El Amor Brjo: Pantomime along with Ritual Fire Dance (piano and string quintet)
  • El Amor brujo: Ritual Fire Dance (violin/piano version)
  • Concerto for Harpsichord
  • Dance Of The Miller
  • Jota
  • Pantomima
  • Pantomina as well as Cancion of “El Amor”” (cello as well as piano)
  • Suite of Spanish Folksongs
  • Two pieces from “El Amor Brujo” (clarinet as well as piano)

Solo Works (excluding keyboard)

  • Homenaje: Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy (guitar)
  • Recit du Pecheur & Chanson du Feu Follet (from El Amor brujo) (guitar)
  • Three Pieces For Harp , from “The Three Cornered Hat”
  • Two Dances from “The Three Cornered Hat” (arr. solo gtr)

Solo Keyboard(s)

  • Allegro de Concierto
  • El Amor Brujo: Ritual Fire Dance (piano version)
  • Dance Of The Neighbours (from the Three Cornered Hat)
  • Fantasia Baetica
  • Homenaje: Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy (piano)
  • Jota in “Three Cornered Hats”
  • Serenata
  • Spanish Dance No 1 from “La Vida Breve”
  • Spanish Dance No 2 from “La Vida Breve”
  • Spanish Dance No. 1, from “La Vida Breve”
  • Three Dances from “The Three Cornered Hat”
  • “The Three-Cornered Hat: Three Dances from Part II

Solo Voice(s) and up to 6 players

  • Cancion del Fuego Fatuo / Chanson de Feu Follet
  • Final Scene from “El Retablo de Maese Pedro”
  • Jota from “Siete Canciones Popular Espanolas”
  • Popular Spanish Songs
  • Psyche (1924)
  • Seguidilla Murciana (7 Canciones Populares Espanolas)
  • Soneto a Cordoba
  • The Three Cornered Hat

Opera and Music Theatre

  • El Retablo de Maese Pedro
  • La Vida Breve