María de la Concepción Lebrero Baena (*Toro, Zamora, 24-VII-1937) received First Prize in Piano at the Conservatory of Salamanca at the age of 10. At the age of 13 she graduated in Piano, in Madrid, with another first prize. She continued her musical studies in Madrid, studying piano virtuosity with José Cubiles, harmony with Jesus Arámbarri, counterpoint and fugue with Francisco Calés, accompaniment and piano transposition with Gerardo Gombau, organ with Jesus Guridi and composition with Cristóbal Halffter, obtaining at the end of all these matters the respective First Prizes and various other awards.
Her compositions include music for children, several song cycles for voice and piano, choral works, piano and organ works, cantatas and oratorios.
Narciso Yepes wrote the following about Lebrero and her only composition for guitar:
“Concepción Lebrero is an outstanding Spanish composer, pianist and teacher. She has taken over the musical education of my children during my absence. Many times, over many years, I asked her to compose something for me, but she never agreed, with the excuse of not knowing the resources of the guitar. She composed cantatas, oratorios, works for orchestra and piano, voice and piano, but never anything for guitar.
“A few days after the death of our son, Juan de la Cruz, whom she had taught music and cherished from an early age, Concepción gave me this work Remembranza de Juan de la Cruz and said tersely: ‘I’ve written it thinking of Juan, as if he had dictated it to me. Do what you want with it; I do not even know if it is playable on the guitar.’ From the first note I felt overwhelmed. Movements: Dreaming, Awakening, Singing, Playing guitar, Risking, Thinking and Ascending, are an interior glimpse of the eighteen years of our son on this earth, from his first steps in life and music through teenage risks to the fullness of true life. I put my guitar and my love in the service of this work, because it is not just art, it is also a message of timeless beauty.” (Narciso Yepes)
‘We can say that the lute is to the guitar as the harpsichord is to the piano. And if this is true, how can we take the music written for these eight, nine, or 10-course instruments – even [eleven,] thirteen and fourteen courses, in the case of the baroque lute – and transcribe it for a guitar, which has only six strings? [...] I want to be able to make “legitimate” transcriptions in which the music loses nothing, but rather improves in quality.’ (Narciso Yepes. 1978. “The Ten-String Guitar: Overcoming the Limitations of Six Strings”. Interviewed by L. Snitzler. Guitar Player 12, p. 26.)
Sonata no. 2 by Adam Falckenhagen (live in Buenos Aires):
Sonata no. 1 by Rudolf Straube:
Sonata no. 2 by Silvius Leopold Weiss:
“With the ten-string guitar I have many possibilities, and I do not need the baroque [lute] tuning exactly.” (Narciso Yepes. 1983. “Conversation with Narciso Yepes”. Interviewed by J. Schneider. Soundboard , Spring: p. 66.)
for 10-string guitar by Pascal Jugy, performed by Andreas Hiller
“Sometimes very freely, if you wish these birds to be free…”
“This invitation to freedom is a paradoxical one, in the sense that it is immediately tempered by the rigour of the notation, the precision of the tempi and the complexity of the metric. But is it really a paradox? What if all these elements were merely a cage where the Musical Bird safely dwells? Then, it is up to the interpreter to open the cage and let the Bird spread his wings and soar. However, freedom does not go without danger, and the interpreter may want to hold the Bird captive to preserve its life. Modern in its writing, this piece keeps a tonal foundation, more or less obvious according to the different parts. This ten-string guitar version was written at the guitarist Andreas Hiller’s request.”
Adios Latinos for 10-string guitar by Pascal Jugy, performed by Andreas Hiller
(Header art: Detail from ‘A boy with a birdcage’ by Abraham Bloemaert, 1566)