Yesterday Francisco Escudero, the most renowned of Basque living composers,
died in San Sebastian. He was 89. His death comes only 48 hours after
Carmelo Bernaola´s, another Basque great musician and artist.
He was devoted to teaching, becoming Professor in 1948. He also enjoyed recognition
during his life, and was given the National Prize for the Arts ( 3 times) and only
in 1997 the King awarded him the Gold Medal for the Arts
Unlike Bernaola, Maestro Escudero wrote a couple of tonal operas and oratorios.
"Gernika" and "Zigor!" are the ones that come to mind. The latter is going
to be staged next season at Bilbao ABAO opera season. There is a LP on
Philips which was released in the 70´s (and which I haven´t got). Basque
epics and above all, a religious sense of life, are in the heart of this piece,
and of his entire opus.
There is a recent CD on the label Claves which serves as a mere token
of his output. It is beautifully recorded, and includes the Concierto Vasco
for piano and orchestra, and the oratorio Joan Bautista.
I hope for a rerelease or a new recording of Zigor!