Basque composer, RIP

Basque composer, RIP


norman lebrecht

February 20, 2022

The widely respected Basque musician Tomás Aragüés Bernad died on Thursday in Madrid at the age of 88.

He is best known for Euskal Requiem (1991).


  • PianistW says:

    Not “Basque composer” but “Spanish composer”. Or you say “piamontese composer”, “Bavarian composer” or just “Italian composer” or “German composer”?

    • Basque says:


    • Franz1975 says:

      He had a Spanish passport, not a Basque passport, hence Spanish.

    • Rodrigo says:

      Basque. It’s a unique region of Spain with its own language, its own cuisine and its own culture. Basque music has a style & influences which are not necessarily the same as the rest of Spain.

      The same can be said about Catalan music and culture. Andalucia is another region of Spain which has its own musical identity.

      Any self respecting Basque chef would be rightfully outraged if you called Basque cuisine “Spanish”. Apply that to music and you get the idea.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Every European country – except Andorra and Monaco – include different regions which all have their own specific history, culture, cuisine, sometimes folklore dress. Big countries like Spain, France and Germany were united mostly through force. There is nothing against giving your region priority over a forced unity. There is even an idea to reorganise the EU according to its regions and not nations (Ulrike Guérot), but it seems unlikely that this will happen very soon.

    • HugoPreuß says:

      That is a question of identity, not of passports. If he considered himself a Basque composer, why not address him as such? Pau Casals never considered himself Spanish, and he did not like being called “Pablo”. What is wrong with respecting these choices?

    • Paul Carlile says:

      Basque! In the musical and cultural context here, the regional difference is important; language…(both musical, speech, vocal qualities)….also cuisine and history play their part. Catalan or Andalusian are also well defined cultural identities; i’m interested to kno these, not just to be all lumped together as “Spanish” -marvellous nation tho that be. All these regions may certainly be under a Spanish Passport, but that’s not the interest here. “British” composers are certainly proud to be “Welsh” or “Scottish” – as and when relevant and no harm in keeping their regional identity while travelling on a “UK” passport!

    • Rodrigo says:

      If you ask anyone from Barcelona, they will tell you they are Catalan, not Spanish. Basques deserve the same distinction.

      Regional pride is cherished in Spain. Franco nearly destroyed it. He tried to make everyone just “Spanish”. Beautiful regional languages, cultures and traditions were nearly lost forever.

      The Basques fought Franco fiercely. He allied with Hitler to punish them, dropping a bomb on the Basque city of Guernica which murdered 1600 civilians. Picasso depicted this event in his masterpiece by the same name. The Basques have paid dearly for their regional identity. The least we can do is respect it.