El amor brujo  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

El amor brujo (Love, the Magician) is a piece of music composed by Manuel de Falla. It was initially commissioned in 1914-15 as a gitanería (gypsy piece) by Pastora Imperio, a renowned gypsy dancer, and was scored for voice, actors, and chamber orchestra. Unfortunately, it was barely successful.

In 1925, de Falla transformed it into a ballet scored for a full symphony orchestra with three short songs for mezzo-soprano. In this form, El amor brujo succeeded.

El Amor brujo tells the story of Candela, a gypsy girl, whose love for Carmelo is tormented by the ghost of her faithless former lover.

The work is distinctively Andalusian in character with the songs in the Andalusian dialect of the Gypsies. The music contains moments of remarkable beauty and originality and includes the celebrated Ritual Fire Dance and the Dance of Terror.


In 1967 Francisco Rovira Beleta directed a film version. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but lost to Jiří Menzel's Closely Observed Trains. However it won the "National Syndicate of Spectacle, Spain" award.

In 1986, Spanish director Carlos Saura directed El Amor brujo based on the ballet, starring, and choreographed by, Antonio Gades. It was the third in his trilogy of dance films, following Bodas de sangre (Blood Wedding) and Carmen. Unfortunately, it was overlooked in that year's Oscar nominations. The film fleshed out the story with spoken dialogue, but nevertheless used the entire score of the ballet, along with additional songs and dances performed by characters in the film. The Orquesta Nacional de España was conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos, and the cante jondo singer heard on the soundtrack was the late Rocio Jurado. A soundtrack album, now out of print, was issued by EMI.

The song fuego fatuo ("Will O' The Wisp") was included in the celebrated Miles Davis-Gil Evans collaboration Sketches Of Spain

See Also

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