Saturday, 10 March 2018

Sanz: Maricapalos (Marizápalos)

María Inés Calderón, known as 'La Calderona' and 'Marizápalos' (1611 – 1646).
She was a mistress of Philip IV of Spain, and later forced into becoming a nun.
Gaspar Sanz, who was tutor to her son, wrote a saucy romanca (ballad) called Marizapalos,
about a priest's niece, who falls for a young man.
They may not be the same person, but it's reason enough to show her image here.
Taken from Wikipedia.


Here is a nice jaunty little tune, and not too difficult to play if you (temporarily) ignore the ornaments. I chose it because Clive Titmuss in this article identified it as one of Sanz' better pieces. The spelling with a "c" is that on Sanz' original plate, but that with a "z" seems to be the more modern version.

There are seven sections, each divided into two sub-sections of 8 and 10 bars. The piece is mostly in 3/4 time, but each sub-section begins with a bar in 2/4 time, so it is easily spotted.

The whole piece approaches the "lute-style" or, I suppose, "vihuela-style" of writing. Unlike other Sanz pieces, there are no obviously campanella or strummed passages, and no slurs are specified. Even the abecedario N9 chord (Amaj on the uke) in bar 80 is not shown with a strum indicator.

After the statement of the melody in §A, §§B, F and G are composed of (almost Renaissance?) divisions (diferencias) in the form of scale segments.

In the transcription I have probably been optimistic in specifying the lengths of some of the fingered notes: I just hold them down for as long as I can (tenuto). This gives a hint of the campanella sound.

The graces have been interpreted following James Tyler's recommendations in A guide to playing the Baroque guitar, summarised here. Incidentally, the trills are generally played as inverted mordents, but if occurring at the end of a section should be prolonged: I have indicated this by an additional "tr" after the mordent. Vibratos, indicated by “vib”, were apparently at this time used as an ornament, and not used throughout a piece as we might nowadays.

You can find the transcriptions here:


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I hope you enjoy these arrangements. I would welcome your views, and comments on possible errors or improvements.