Manuel Esperón: su piano, su música, su tiempo

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Manuel Esperón: su piano, su música, su tiempo

(Manuel Esperón: his piano, music and times)

Released june 1st, 2000


The spring of the year 2000 marked a unique, historical moment in a rather discreet way, as usually happens with events of this nature: Manuel Esperón, leaving treasure of Mexican music, sat at a magnificent Steinway piano, and in only two sessions, he interpreted some of his most important and renowned works.

At the age of 88, with a prodigious memory and hands, Esperón, who worked with the most outstanding singers of the golden era of Mexican cinema, and adopted the studio as his second home, turned the microphone around and interpreted for the first time his own creations. Only celebrities of the artistic level of Esperón can overwhelm time and turn it into an understanding and agreeable enemy.

Alejandro Duprat (2000, Mexico City)

Milestone of the Mexican film music

In September 1995, when the pianist, composer and arranger, Manual Esperón (Born in Mexico City, on August 3rd, 1911) was homaged by the Querétaro Philharmonic Orchestra, Sergio Cárdenas -its conductor- said these precise sentences about mexicans, wholly identifying themselves with his music “We feel they are more our songs than his.”

These songs have really become part of the life of men and women with various generations. Who does not feel nostalgic when listening, for instance, Traigo un amor (I feel a love), with words of Ernesto Cortázar (1897-1953, who wrote for Esperón many of the lyrics of his songs. One has surely heard one’s parents or grandparents: Traigo un amor, / y lo traigo tan adentro, / Que hay momentos que no siento / dónde tengo el corazón. (I feel a love, / and I carry it so deeply, / there are moments / when I can’t feel where my heart is…)

¿And who, no matter how young, doesn’t know by heart -because it has made it his own- the song ¡Ay, Jalisco, no te rajes! which begins with the words that have been sung for 60 years? Ay Jalisco, Jalisco, Jalisco, / tú tienes tu novia que es Guadalajara. Muchacha bonita, la perla más rara…

If someone has enriched the Mexican cinema with unforgettable sound tracks, this is Manuel Esperón. He has created the music for more than 500 films, the first of them, entitled La mujer del puerto with Andrea Palma, when he was only at 23 years old, he went on to develop an early discovered musical vocation that led him to work as a pianist in the movie houses, the same kind of job Carlos Chavez hold early in his career.

Among the hundreds of songs composed by Manuel Esperón for the screen some are outstanding for the success they had at the time, and for their lasting charm: Cocula, Flor de azalea, Esos altos de Jalisco, Amor con amor se paga, El día que me quieras, Amorcito corazón, No volveré…

To have a remarkable place in the peak of Mexican music it would be more than enough for Esperón with these films: Allá en el rancho grande, Historia de un gran amor, El peñón de las ánimas, Nosotros los pobres, Ustedes los ricos, Los tres García y Vuelven los García.

As arranger, Manuel Esperón is outstanding for his numerous scores. We have, for instance, the symphonic suite México 1910, from works of several composers: Son de la Negra, Peregrina and Caminante del Mayab, from Guty Cárdenas, as well as the score Valses del México romántico. 

In his arrangement of the famous Adiós of Alfredo Carrasco, there is a moment in which the trumpet plays the melody in such a touching manner, that it recalls the Mahler’s Blumine movement, eliminated from the Titan symphony, and performed separately. 

In this brief portrait of Esperón began with the orchestra conductor’s words, let him also close: “Without doubt, maestro Manuel Esperón is one of the most important milestones on which Mexican folk music of the twentieth Century rests”.

José Alfredo Páramo

Producer, Alejandro Duprat Esperón (Mexico City, 1963), has been active more than 35 years as a French Horn player, with experience in Mexico City's symphonic and operatic scenes. He is currently an active member of the french horn section of the Orquesta del Teatro de Bellas Artes, Mexico’s most important opera company.