Ritual Fire Dance – Manuel Falla

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Jordan Resnick 5 days, 10 hours ago.

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    I would like to share one classical music piece that inspires me very much due to its nice expression of the nature of fire, its waves, how it becomes stronger here and weaker there, its power and fierce nature. I was not sure what section of the forums it would fit in, as there isn’t any special section for the classical music, but since it was composed on the beginning of 20-th century, I figured it could be classified as “modern”. 🙂

    This particular music piece is tied with an interesting experience I had with it some years ago. At that time, I was travelling in a car with a friend and the car radio was tuned to a classical radio station (I think it was KDFC). Suddenly, this music started playing. Immediately, I was struck with its power. We listened to it for a bit, and then my friend started making some joking remarks about what the music reminded him of. But I felt like that was not what it was for me. I felt the music was expressing something in a strong way, but was not sure what it was and wanted to find out right there and then… So I just seated myself more comfortably, closed my eyes and let myself to be submerged into the music. After some time of this concentrated listening, the images started arising on my “mental screen” of fiery beings joyfully dancing inside of the fire. Their long hair were sparkling and flowing with the flames, and they were ecstatic within this blazing power. I felt very elated from the experience and eagerly waited for the name of this piece when it finished, so I could find it again in the future. Now how big was my surprise, when the radio speaker said that we had just listened to the “Ritual Fire Dance”. I didn’t know the name of the piece before, and was very surprised how its name exactly reflected what I have felt/seen during my concentrated listening practice.

    Now searching for more information on it, I learned that this piece was influenced by the traditional religious ceremony of a fire dance, which was worshipping the fire-god. The piece is otherwise a part of a ballet called El Amor Brujo, which is based on flamenco. Manuel Falla himself is said to be a big admirer of this traditional form of dance based in Andalusia. In researching some of the Andalusian music, I also found a lot of it having this fiery nature. This music uses a lot of trills and “wavy” gradations so typical for the nature of fire.


    Anne Linn

    It’s amazing that you tapped into the music and saw those dancing, fiery beings in your mind’s eye. I can imagine what they might have looked like, and the joy of dancing in the fire. Beautiful.



    I really love this piece Lucia, thanks for reminding me of it. Very theatrical!


    Jordan Resnick

    That’s a very interesting story you shared Lucia, thanks for that. I’ve always liked this piece too, although I first found it as a piano piece on YouTube (played by Arthur Rubinstein). Maybe because I heard it like that first, I’ve always preferred it like that, but it was really interesting hearing it orchestrated too.

    In any case, it certainly does invoke feelings of a fire festival or fire doesn’t it, albeit a very energetic one 🙂

    Thanks for sharing.



    Thank you very much for sharing that piano version Jordan, it has an interesting magical atmosphere to it. A. Rubinstein not only plays it precisely technically, but was able to bring the spirit of the music into it very well.

    I have found there are different versions of this piece on Youtube, played on different instruments. I find it sometimes interesting to compare the sound and how different instruments influence the music. One nice version is for example played just by 2 guitars, then there is an energetic cello version, or a gentler flute version.

    Also for the lovers of Andalusian-style dances, here is the dance from the movie El Amor Brujo:




    Actually, regarding the movie video, I think this one is of a better quality, and also contains a subsequent short flamenco dance where the two main protagonists are finding their way together (with the help of fire).

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