Manuel Alejandro, concert at the Real at the age of 90, between a whisper and a sore hand at the piano

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Manuel Alejandroconsidered the best Spanish composer of light music in recent times, proposed concert at the Royal Theater in Madrid in front of an audience that almost filled the Colosseum and which was attended by, among others, the relief painters Victor Manuel, David Bisbal, Miguel Poveda, Pastora Soler… The event can be considered unusual, because instead of interpreting his best known pieces for pianoforte, preferred to accompany them with a succession of whispers and words in the form of a recitation, somewhat monotonous, against the background, yes, of his music. Although their vocal expressions overlapped to the point where the virtuosic notes of their beautiful melodies were a bit washed out. The man from Jerez preferred it this way, and his words always sounded with the same intonation, but without humming, so that the respectable person would immediately remember what it was. In spite of this, this hour and fifteen minute concert was emotional and the public always applauded this sensational author every time he culminated in one of his successes.

appeared on stage on the arm of one of his daughtersand then he slowly made his way to the stool in front of the piano. He justified himself: “This car, which is already in its fourth youth … Let’s see if my nerves leave me, because I have no practice.” He meant that in all his long musical life he had never given a concert. He continued: “The audacity to call them up to explain how each song was born.. Songs that make you vibrate.” It all started with “Te voy a narrar mi vida”, which was premiered by Raphael, like many others. He said that at the age of fourteen he composed his first song while thinking about Conchita, a teenager with whom he fell in love. in love, but he did not pay much attention to her and the countrywoman was looking for a boyfriend.

called this verse by Pablo Neruda: “I was born to be born”, which inspired him to create This Is How We Were Born for Julio Iglesias, knowing that his father was a gynecologist. His cracked, cracked voice betrayed him with an unbidden clearing of his throat. then came “I am a rebel”, the premiere here of the unknown Mexican Sola, who subsequently popularized Jeanette. And looking at the Mexican blanket, the serape, he said that since 1967 he always laid it on top of the piano. As he continued to half read “Our love was shattered”, the audience, remembering the amazing voice of Rocio Jurado, burst into applause. And later “I’m the only one”, Raphael’s victory at Eurovision. He did not disclose to whom he dedicated it. It was when parting with his first wife Helena Gomez Estrada with whom he had three children when he fell in love with Home Cleaning and she avoided him, he insisted, until he made her his partner. Then there was no divorce. They will have four daughters. This was his true love. A year ago, he died from the coronavirus. Before her death, it was she who urged him to perform this concert at Real Madrid.

“Sorry My Love”. And in the midst of her whispers, her memory betrayed her until she restored the words that the unforgettable artist Chipionera had so well interpreted. The end was near. And it all started with the next success of Rocio, “I love you so much”. Thunderous applause brought Manuel Alejandro to tears. Then two representatives of the Society of Writers of Mexico entered the stage, one of them Roberto Cantoral, the happy composer of “El reloj” and “La barca”, two extraordinary boleros that gave the Jerez-born artist the maximum recognition of this face. , Grand Master’s Award. When he was about to leave the stage, someone suggested that he play an encore to the noise of the royal theater. And then he said goodbye to “Tell me about the sea, sailor”great theme that Marisol introduced.

It was a magical night. And Manuel Alejandro surpassed his aching right handwhich he complained about at various times of the gala because the penetration they practiced before the function didn’t work on him. The misfortune that entailed when he was sixteen years old after an accident and had to give up his dream of becoming a classical music soloist in order to earn a living as a light genre composer. He moved from his native Jerez to Madrid, spent several years in hardship, had to work in temporary jobs, he played the piano in a brothel behind Gran Via, on a run-down Ballesta street full of whores, and even spent several seasons in Portugal, when he lived in poverty with what would later become his wife, Purification. Success will come from his meeting with Raphael, in the second half of the 1960s, and then the best voices of Spain and Latin America performed their songs. This is a genius, a man of great talent, whom to be awarded the Princess of Asturias Awardas requested by the Jerez City Council last year without being satisfied.

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