As professor of a class titled “Performing Ethnicity in Spain: Flamenco, Gypsies, and the Construction of National Culture,” which focuses on the influence and role of music and dance in Spanish culture, Professor of Romance Languages and Literature Bernardo Antonio Gonzalez was an obvious choice for a Professor’s Playlist. He is both a passionate lover of music and expert of modern Spanish literature and theater who often spontaneously belts a tune or two during class.
He explained in an email to The Argus, “As you might imagine, I feel deeply about my music.”
This deepness is clear in his unique, worldly playlist, which includes songs representative of various cultures. Professor Gonzalez provided brief descriptions of each track.
1. “Ulysses’ Theme,” by Eleni Karaindrou from the soundtrack to the movie “Ulysses’ Gaze”
“Karaindrou composed this piece for a movie about a filmmaker’s quest for truth against a foggy, tormented backdrop. The music brought me solace in a time of personal quest. Its impact remains alive for me each time I hear it.”
2. “Tales from the Ney,” by Kudsi Erguner from Sufi Music of Turkey
“I am very fond of the ney [a flute from the Middle East] and of the culture of this country [Turkey], where I spent a formative period as a teenager. Erguner’s music becomes my bridge to those distant realities and awakenings, when I feel the need to transport.”
3. “Coral para Mi Pequeño y Lejano Pueblo,” by Dino Saluzzi from Cité de la Musique
“Saluzzi, an Italo-Argentine musician, has written evocative music for the [traditional Argentinian] bandoneón, music that has been played by Italian fisarmónica musicians as well. This song speaks deeply to the viewer from the soundtrack of Pedro Almodóvar’s ‘Todo sobre mi madre,’ as Manuela and Esteban reunite in Barcelona’s Montjuic cemetery.”
4. “Mi niña Lola,” by Concha Buika from Mi Niña Lola
“This visceral rendition of Spain’s traditional copla, by the Spanish jazz singer of Equatoguinean descent, is my stand in for the wide variety of Spanish popular music that I listen to.”
5. “Rumores de la caleta,” by Isaac Albéniz, from his piece Recuerdos de viaje, played by Esteban Sánchez
“Esteban Sánchez’s versions of the great Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz are woefully overlooked in the United States.”
6. “Fantasía Bética,” by Manuel de Falla, played by Josep Colom on the album Falla: La obra para piano
“The experience of seeing Pedro Carboné play this piece a few years ago at Wesleyan [Crowell Concert Hall] brought all the drama of Falla’s composition to life for me. A prime lesson as to the lasting and powerful influence of a direct experience—of live performance over recordings—on our musical sensibilities.”
7. “Send in the Clowns,” by Stephen Sondheim, from his 1973 musical “A Little Night Music,” which is in turn an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s “Smiles of a Summer Night”
“Theater is one of my passions, and I am especially fond of the image and meaning of clowns: of the irony of the smile that, upon scrutiny, in fact shrouds deep-rooted suspicions and a healthy or cautious mistrust. In that regard, ‘La Strada’ is my favorite movie, ‘Vesti la giubba (Ridi pagliaccio)’ [from Ruggero Leoncavallo’s ‘Pagliacci’] one of my favorite arias.
“As to ‘Send in the Clowns,’ I am moved most by a voice, Judy Collins’, that, like so many others from the folk movement, evokes memories of my college years at Berkeley in the 1960s-70s, when I was learning so much about smiles that disguise and about what cautions to take.”
8. “De querer a no querer” (Martinete), by Miguel Poveda, from his album Suena Flamenco
“Miguel Poveda is for me the most outstanding voice within an emerging new generation of young flamenco artists in Spain, artists who are breathing new life into age-old musical forms: with jondura, who sing from the guts y con sabor.”
9. “Entre dos aguas,” by Paco de Lucía, from his album Fuente y Caudal
“This lively spirited rumba was eye-opening for my generation when it came out in 1976: eye-opening in terms of the new possibilities opening up in the world of Spanish guitar music and flamenco, and eye-opening with regard to the then young Paco de Lucía who has since taken the world by storm.”
10. “El canto de la Sibila,” by Jordi Savall
“I offer this as an example of my love for music that is both ancient and timeless, for austere and solemn music linked to ritual, with roots and depth, and for the remarkable contribution that the musician-composer Jordi Savall and his soprano and wife Montserrat Figueras (1942-2011) have made to our understanding of music history.”