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PONCE, Manuel María (1882-1948)


  • Álvaro Cendoya, piano

Manuel Ponce was one of Mexico’s most prolific and decorated composers and remains highly esteemed and popular today. Leaving Mexico midway through the Revolution, he lived in Cuba between 1915 and 1917 and soon absorbed the island’s seductive Caribbean sensuality and subtle dances, also expressing melancholic nostalgia for his homeland in the Elegía de la ausencia. While living in Paris from 1925 to 1933, Ponce explored new compositional techniques, resulting in his own modernist style, as heard in the Suite bitonal which is notable not only for its use of polytonality but its inspired lyricism.


Rapsodia cubana I (1915) (00:12:04)
Guateque (1916) (00:02:38)
Suite cubana (1916) (00:15:08 )
I. Serenata marina (00:03:09)
II. Plenilunio (00:04:26)
III. Paz de ocaso (00:05:37)
Preludio cubano (1916) (00:01:25)
Elegía de la ausencia (1916) (00:02:57)
Cubana (Danza de salón) () (00:01:41)
Moderato malinconico (1928) (00:02:19)
Scherzino (Homenaje a Debussy) (1912) (00:03:04)
Intermezzo No. 2 () (00:04:33)
Preludios encadenados (1927) (00:07:01)
4 Piezas, "Suite bitonal" () (00:11:58 )
I. Preludio scherzoso (00:03:12)
II. Arietta (00:02:25)
III. Sarabande (00:03:57)
IV. Gigue (00:02:43)
Total Time: 01:03:11

The Artist

Cendoya, Álvaro The son of a Basque father and an Iranian mother, Álvaro Cendoya was born in San Sebastián in 1960. He first studied at the local Conservatories and then in Madrid. Subsequently he moved to Buenos Aires, where he studied the piano for three years with Bruno Leonardo Gelber and later continued his piano studies in London with Noretta Conci and Peter Feuchtwanger.

The Composer

The Mexican pianist and composer Manuel Ponce studied in Italy and Germany, returning home finally to establish himself as a writer, teacher and composer and a leading figure in the musical life of the country.

Orchestral Music

Ponce’s characteristically Mexican music includes an important addition to guitar repertoire: his Concierto del sur (‘Concerto of the South’), written for the guitarist Segovia. Two years later, in 1943, he wrote an effective Violin Concerto, in which he makes use of the best known of his songs, the popular Estrellita.

Guitar Music

As Kreisler did for the violin, so Ponce wrote a series of pastiche pieces for the guitar, attributing them to various composers of the past (this at the request of Segovia, who needed a more extensive repertoire). His compositions for guitar include sonatas, preludes, and a set of variations with a fugue on the traditional melody La folia.

Piano Music

Ponce’s piano music, coloured by national elements, reflects his own interest in the instrument.


“The quality of Manuel Ponce’s piano music surprised me: both music and performance are lusty, voluptuous, colorful, dazzling, and soulful.” – American Record Guide

“Álvaro Cendoya is the perfect choice to tackle this challenging realm of Ponce’s repertoire” – LATINO Magazine