Spain mourns a major composer

Spain mourns a major composer


norman lebrecht

May 24, 2021

The death has been announced of the internationally known composer Cristóbal Halffter, at the age of 91.

The son of Civil War refugees who returned in 1939, Hallfter studied mostly in Paris and won attention with a Stravinskian piano concerto in 1953. His major works include an opera on Don Quixote, several string quartets and concertos for cello and violin.


  • Ricardo says:

    Rest in peace. A fine composer and pleasant man, in my recollection.
    I played under him in Bergen in the spring of 1988 with Pergamenschikow as soloist in his 2nd cello concerto. In September 1994 I was the soloist at the Alicante Festival with Halffter again conducting. He also once answered my questions about his solo violin sonata by telephone. In 1981 I had also attended the dress rehearsal of his 1st violin concerto in Madrid. My late teacher, Francisco Comesaña, was a good friend of his. Brief as our acquaintance was, I’m glad I got to meet him and work with him. Safe travels, maestro!

  • John Borstlap says:

    The video gives the 2nd piano concerto of 1988.

    And what an awful piece it is.

  • Larry says:

    Part of the distinguished Halffter musical clan which included Ernesto and Rodolfo.

    • Anon says:

      And of course, Pedro Halffter, Cristobal’s conductor son, controversial heir to the great Halffter legacy,

  • Rodrigo says:

    Sharing a thoughtful and interesting obituary for Cristobal Halffter published today by Universal Edition. It explains more about Halffter’s role in Spain’s musical history.

  • Matthew DeNero says:

    Cristóbal Halffter’s “Elegies for the Deaths of Three Spanish Poets” contains some of the most disturbing music ever composed. I’m not sure it fits the subject – it’s too apocalyptic – but is very effective. The Christopher Nupen documentary on Halffter is worth seeing.