Leo Brouwer’s Elogio de la danza (1964): Im prints of Dance, Stravinsky, & the Unison of Contraries

Clive W. Kronenberg


An in-depth academic scrutiny of  Elogio de la danza, Leo Brouwer‘s advanced solo guitar work composed close on fifty years ago, has remained relevant for a number  of reasons. As a start, the Cuban artist is widely considered as arguably the most significant living twentieth -century  composer  for  the  guitar. Linked  to  this,  scholars  of  the  guitar  have praised the work  for varying, weighty reasons:

- Elogio de la danza must be acknowledged as a one of the pieces – if not the piece-by which
a soloist‘s playing of Brouwer is judged.
- This is one of the most played of contemporary guitar pieces, and this fact makes this an
important historical document.

Notwithstanding  Elogio de la danza‘s enduring prominence, musicological journals in the English-speaking  world  have  yet  to  subject  it  to  stringent,  scholarly  assessment.  This, likewise,  is  reflective  of  the  fact  that  such  publications  have  rarely  ventured  into  the general affairs of the instrument.  Elogio de la Danza   quite surprisingly  was composed in a matter of one or two days only.
This factor, naturally, may give rise to speculation about its artistic ‗worth‘. As such, an analytical scrutiny should, to some degree,  be able to delve into its underlying musical value, given its acclaimed standing in guitar literature. In view of these factors, and others, the analytical inspection presented here is thus long overdue. It is, however, largely guided by the creator‘s own  thoughts on his masterpiece.

Leo Brouwer’s Elogio de la danza (1964): Im prints of Dance, Stravinsky, & the Unison of Contraries

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