Salazar Castro, Adolfo

adolfo-salazar

Composer, musicologist, critic, historian, journalist and promoter of the composers and intellectuals who were part of the Silver Age of Spanish music. Although self-taught, he maintains a very close relationship with the main composers of the beginning of the century, such as Manuel de Falla and Felipe Pedrell. He is part of almost all the circles of creators of the time, and is the soul and guide of the two generations of composers who introduce European music into Spain: the Madrid Group, formed by Salvador Bacarisse and the brothers Ernesto and Rodolfo Halffter, and the 6 Catalans, formed by Frederic Mompou and Eduardo Toldrá, among others.

Salazar reviewed in the newspaper El Sol ‘Book of Poems’ with the title ‘A New Poet’: “The appearance of a poet on our horizon is a phenomenon of greater importance than the sudden glow of a new star”. In 2017, six other unpublished letters from Lorca to Salazar appeared that highlight the trust the poet placed in the critic.

The friendship with Federico García Lorca starts in 1919 when the poet arrives in Madrid with the intention of living in the Students’ Residence. In the Café Gijón Lorca met up with Salazar, Pedro Salinas, Gerardo Diego and Ángel del Río. In 1921, he presents his second collection of poems in Madrid, Book of Poems, which Salazar reviewed in the newspaper El Sol under the title A New Poet: “The appearance of a poet on our horizon is a phenomenon of greater importance than the sudden glow of a new star,” writes Salazar. Lorca, who thanks him for his criticism, seeing it as “the height of praise and good taste,” soon makes him a confidant to whom, in a letter in the summer of 1921, he confesses his family’s displeasure at not having “passed his subjects” and reveals that he is learning to play the guitar. “As for your tantrums I hear them with great pleasure, because on some occasions you are quite right”. In that letter Lorca shares with him his interest in puppet theater, an inclination that would culminate in the writing of The Billy-Club Puppets (1922) and with the 1923 Three Kings Day performance at the Lorca’s house on the Acera del Casino in Granada, in which Falla and Hermenegildo Lanz, among others, took part.

Cover of Adolfo Salazar's book 'Cuba and the Black Music', in whose photo Federico García Lorca appears on the left,  and, on the right, Salazar himself.
Cover of Adolfo Salazar’s book ‘Cuba ad the Black Music’, in whose photo Federico García Lorca appears on the left, and, on the right, Salazar himself.
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In 2017, six other unpublished letters from Lorca to Salazar from the same period appeared that highlight the trust the poet placed in the critic. In one of them, from 1922, the poet asks Salazar for his mediation so that Alberto Jiménez Fraud renews his stay at the Students’ Residence: “They write to me from the Residence telling me that they don’t have a room – that’s terrible, how can I go anywhere else? I’m scared of the Baroja and Galdós environments, the landlady, the vicious student… […]. If you can use your influence to get Jiménez (he’s a fool!) to make room for me… even if it’s all full up! And I need to get out, do you hear? I’m suffocating. This provincial, terrible and empty atmosphere fills my heart with cobwebs“.

In 1938, after the Civil War, he was appointed cultural attaché of the Republican Government in Washington. Like other Spanish exiles, he accepted the invitation of the president of Mexico, Lázaro Cárdenas, and in 1939 he settled in the country where he continued his musical research and teaching.

He died in Mexico on September 27, 1958 after suffering from a paralyzing illness for four years.

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