The Music of Miguel Roig-Francoli


Apocryphal is given a basic definition in my Spanish-English dictionary as something of doubtful authenticity. But I remain intrigued by Miguel Roig-Francoli’s choice of the title Apocryphal Suite for his very authentic second composition, written while he still was a student in Madrid’s Royal Conservatory of Music.

A suite of seven musical episodes, some as brief as a couple of minutes or less, with subtitles the likes of mysteriously… colorfully… with a French flavor… Francoli’s student work evidences a young mind of 25 already brimming with original compositional ideas:


It would not be long before the Spanish composer blossomed into a mature writer of instrumental and vocal music for every conceivable ensemble and instrument combination. By the time Roig-Francoli embarked on a career as composer and pedagogue in the mid 1980’s his music had become 100% his, shunning a slavish obeisance to tonality while fully embracing impassioned melody, as in his 1984 Sonata for violoncello and piano:


If roots must be found in the music of Miguel Roig-Francoli one need not dig deep to expose them. He earned his academic stripes by doing extensive research into the music of Spanish Renaissance masters Antonio de Cabezón and Tomás Luis de Victoria, and their mastery of polyphonic complexity and their quintessentially Spanish mysticism surfaces as strong influences in many of Roig-Francoli’s works, as in his hauntingly bold Dona eis requiem, in memory of the innocent victims of war and terror – a brief Requiem based on the Dies Irae plainchant:


On a first hearing of one of Roig-Francoli’s most recent compositions, the Symphony De Profundis I responded on the spur of the moment with this reaction: “Powerful music anchored in classical principles but able to employ modes and polytonality as needed. The De Profundis movement is deeply moving and full of elegant melody. The entire work balances sardonic passages with spirituality.” I added that as a comment to the You Tube performance by the Symphony Orchestra of the Balearic Islands, Álvaro Albiach, conductor:


Now well into the fourth decade of his artistic journey, Miguel Roig-Francoli’s catalogue of compositions numbers well over fifty works, many of which have been published, several of which have received awards, and all of which have been performed. In a future post I plan to share more about Roig-Francoli’s music, with links to You Tube performances.

My most fervent wish is for an enterprising record company to record a sampling of this composer’s work, largely unknown in this country and immensely deserving of recognition.

Rafael de Acha