Manuel Penella Moreno was a prolific Spanish composer. Much of his music is forgotten today, but this may be his best-known work. It is commonly performed in celebrations and nostalgic concerts in Spain and occasionally throughout the Spanish-speaking world. It is among the best known pasodobles (two-step marches).
In Penella's opera El Gato Montes which premiered in 1916, the tragic hero Rafael (tenor) is promoted from apprentice to full matador and thus emboldened publicly professes his love for the gypsy girl Solea (soprano). Shortly the murderer Juanillo called El Gato Montes (The Wildcat) (baritone) emerges from his wilderness seclusion and tells the gathered crowd that he is in fact Solea's true love, and that his crime was committed in defense of her honor.
In the climactic close of the of the second act, Matador Rafael triumphantly enters the bull ring of Seville to heroically face his burden of honor, to defeat six bulls and then face off against the villain-redeemed-by-love Juanillo to win the hand of Solea or die trying. The majestic and inspiring "Pasodoble" is heard as he enters the ring.
Traditionally Spanish audiences shout "Ole!" at the conclusion of the four ascending phrases of the chorus which musically depict the passes of the bull. With a little coaching the audience could follow the lead of the soprano/alto players who would be able to cue them at the pickups to measures 50, 54, 66 and 70. This adds a bit of fun to an already lively performance. The audience could also be coached to shout "Ole!" on the closing two chords of both passes through the piece.
This tragic opera depicts the brave and noble jilted matador Rafael gored to death by a bull shortly after entering the ring at the end of the second act, and Juanillo (El Gato Montes) killed at his request by one of his compadres as the police arrive to arrest him at the end of the third act. Solea is left weeping.
It is our hope that your performance of this piece ends on a more positive note.
This setting is for a sax quintet consisting of one soprano sax, two alto saxes, one tenor sax, and one baritone sax. Substitute parts include alto sax to cover the soprano sax part, and tenor sax to cover the second alto sax part.
EL GATO MONTES, pasodoble torero from the opera of the same name by Manuel Penello Moreno, arranged by Tom Kirkland for saxophone quintet comes in a pdf file of 548K, with an eight-page score, seven one-page parts, and a license page, fifteen pages in all. Performance time should be about three minutes.
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Last update: 4 March 2021