Barrios Fernández, Ángel

G20_Portrait of Angel Barrios, by Manuel Angeles Ortiz
Portrait of Angel Barrios, by Manuel Angeles Ortiz.

Spanish composer and guitarist, friend of Federico García Lorca and companion of tertulias in El Rinconcillo and El Polinario tavern.

His father, Antonio Barrios Tamayo, nicknamed El Polinario, was also a famous flamenco guitarist and singer, a great friend of Manuel de Falla and of the El Rinconcillo fellow members who frequently went to his tavern located on Real de la Alhambra street. In 1918, in the garden adjacent to the Alhambra, García Lorca improvised the four scenes of The Story of the Treasure, a very short story with his own verbal script in which Lorca himself, Ángel Barrios, Manuel Ángeles Ortiz and Miguel Pizarro took part as actors.

The Iberia Trio, founded by him in 1900, spread Spanish music throughout Europe. Albéniz became his friend and protector, as did Manuel de Falla.

Ángel Barrios studied harmony, violin and guitar in Granada (a student, like Federico and his brothers, of the composer Antonio Segura Mesa) and perfected his studies in Madrid. The Trio Iberia, founded by him in 1900, spread Spanish music throughout Europe. Albéniz became his friend and protector, as did Manuel de Falla, whose friendship will remain despite the distance and the life circumstances of each one. He is the author of some opera, zarzuelas such as Luck or My Granada. Member of the tertulia of El Rinconcillo in the Café Alameda in Granada, he knew all the artists and Granada de Plata intellectuals. He was appointed academic of the Academy of Fine Arts of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias in 1924 and director of the Victoria Eugenia Conservatory in Granada between 1928 and 1939. He also held a chair of music at the University. In the nineteen twenties, as a councilman of the City Council of Granada, he promoted the recovery of the ‘autos sacramentales’ representations (religious theather in some respects similar in character to the old Morality plays of England) in the Palace of Carlos V.

Ángel Barrios. Photo: Board of the Alhambra and the Generalife.

He composed some symphonic works such as A Couplet in the Avellano Fountain and other compositions for guitar. His work for piano Guajiras won the Centro Artístico of Granada Prize in 1910.

The Civil War took him to Madrid, where he died on November 26, 1964. His daughter donated the enormous legacy to the Board of the Alhambra, which displays it in a small museum.


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