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JESUS MARIA SANROMA (1902-1984)
Puerto Rican pianist



Jesus Maria Sanroma was a stupendous pianist, a real national treasure on two fronts.  He was Puerto Rican and he was American.  Although his name has faded somewhat in recent years, he was a legend when I was in my teens, and with good reason.

As a result of his debut in San Juan, he received a grant to study at the New England Conservatory from which he graduated with honors.  He was given the position of official pianist with the Boston Symphony upon graduation, an unheard of honor back in the day when the position actually meant something significant and came with important for a concert pianist, which appointment lasted for 20 years.  He studied with the Polish pianist Antoinette Szumowska-Adamowska (who is said to have been the only female pianist to have studied with Paderewski) from 1920 to 1927, and in 1927, he studied briefly with Cortot in Paris, and with Schnabel in Berlin.

During Jesus Maria Sanroma's tenure at the Boston Symphony he worked with, and performed and recorded the works of, many of the most important composers of the 20th century, Sergie Prokofiev, Paul Hindemith, Walter Piston, Ernst Toch, Heitor Villa-Lobos, Vladimir Dukelsky, Edward Burlingame Hill, John Carpenter, Ernst Bloch, Carlos Chavez, Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Casals and Leonard Bernstein among them.

Where are all these recordings?  Why is this great and historically important pianist no longer universally revered?

One of the real treats on this page is Jesus Maria Sanroma's recording of the MacDowell second concerto, a fabulous work of great import which is almost never heard anymore.

The danza was, in the 19th century, Puerto Rico's equivalent of the mazurka in Poland, the national dance form.  Unlike the mazurka, it did not find its champion in the form of one of the greatest composers in history.  I write, of course, of Chopin.  Nonetheless, it is charming and, at the hands of the Puerto Rican composers whose danzas we hear below, developed into something beautifully unique, culminating in the works of Campos which elevated the genre of danza to its highest level.  Of course, Jesus Maria Sanroma plays this music with the authority of someone whose roots run deep in its soil.



Mendelssohn  Piano Concerto 1 in G minor, Op 25
i Molto allegro con fuoco
07:12 ➢ ii Andante
12:32
➢ iii PrestoMolto allegro e vivace
Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra




Liszt  Hungarian Rhapsody 2

recorded in 1941




Liszt  Totentanz Paraphrase on "Dies Irae" for Piano and Orchestra
Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra

recorded in 1937




Wagner  "Magic Fire Music" from Die Walkure




Grieg  Piano Concerto in A minor, Op 16
i Allegro molto moderato
Pierre Monteux conducting the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra




Sinding  "Rustle of Spring"
Grieg  "Le Papillon"




Chausson  Concerto for violin, piano & string quartet, Op 21
with Jascha Heifetz, violin and the Musical Art Quartet

recorded 1939-1946


i Décidé ; calme ; animé (beginning)



i Décidé ; calme ; animé (conclusion)



ii Sicilienne: Pas vite



iii Grave



iv Très animé




Paderewski  Piano Concerto in A minor, Op 17
Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra

recorded in 1940


i Allegro



ii Romanza



iii Allegro molto vivace




MacDowell  Piano Concerto 2 in D minor, Op 23
i Larghetto calmato
12:46ii Presto giocoso
17:22iii Largo
Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra

recorded in 1934




Debussy  Nocturne in D♭ major

recorded in 1939




Ferde Grofé (1892-1972)  Piano Concerto in D minor (1929-1931)
Ferde Grofé conducting the Rochester Symphony Orchestra




Gershwin  Rhapsody in Blue
William Steinberg (led by Samromá) conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra




Gershwin  Piano Concerto in F major
Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra

recorded in 1940


i Allegro



ii Andante con moto



iii Allegro con brio




  Danzas Puertorriqueñas


Félix Astol Artés (1813-1901)  "La Borinqueña"



Manuel Gregorio Tavárez (1843-1883)  "Margarita"



Olimpio Otero (1845-1911)  "La Cuñadita"



Ángel Mislan (1862-1911)  "Tú Y Yo"



Juan Morel Campos (1857-1896)  Danzas Puertorriqueñas


"No me Toques" from "Eight Puerto Rican Dances"
recorded in 1945



"Buen Humor" from "Eight Puerto Rican Dances"
recorded in 1945



"Maldito Amor" from "Eight Puerto Rican Dances"
recorded in 1945



"Si Me Quisieras"



"Vano Empeño"



"Vuelta A La Vida"



"Laura Y Georgina"



"Alma Sublime"



"Felices Dias"



"La Nene"



"Un Dialogo"










For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.



And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse



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