Pedro Sáenz – 1915

Pedro (Alejo) Sáenz (Amadeo)

Born in Buenos Aires May 4th, 1915.  He was an Argentine and (after 1985) Spanish composer.   He studied in Buenos Aires with Alberto Williams and Celestino Piaggio at the Williams Conservatory (1924–9, 1931–5) and with José André (composition), Athos Palma (theory) and Jorge de Lalewicz (piano) at the National Conservatory (1936–9). He undertook postgraduate studies in Paris with Honegger, Milhaud and Rivier (1948–50). He was professor of counterpoint at the National Conservatory in Buenos Aires (1944–63), director of the Municipal Conservatory (1955–63) and professor of counterpoint and morphology at the faculty of arts and musical sciences of the Catholic University of Argentina (1963–5; dean, 1964–5). In 1973, for both artistic and political reasons, he settled in Madrid. There, in about 1975, he began to prepare a performing version of the earliest preserved Spanish opera, Juan Hidalgo’s Celos aun del aire matan (1660), which was produced by the WDR in Cologne on 9 October 1981.

Sáenz’s music employs a wide diversity of styles, and shows a preference for short form and variation technique. It ranges from tonal works, some referring to the 18th century (Preludio en fa), to those inspired by folk music (Aquel Buenos Aires), 12-note and non-tonal music (Policromías) and music based on a nine-note chord and its subsets (G –B–D–E–G–B –C–E –F ; Sonata sobre un acorde). Other pieces, such as Variaciones y fuga sobre un tema de Beethoven, occupy a position midway between tonality and atonality. In the last decade of his life he also employed what he termed a ‘neo-baroque’ style, based on parallel minor chords a 3rd apart (Dos elegías y epílogo).


Armonía: método teórico-práctico (Madrid, 1976; enlarged 2/1992 as Armonía: el sistema tonal clásico


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