Juan Hidalgo (b. 1927)

De Juan Hidalgo (1957-1997)

  1. Ukanga 11:04
  2. Caurga 8:17
  3. Ja-U-La 8:02
  4. Palpiti (Latidos) 9:54
  5. Kuutamo 7:11
  6. Roma Dos Pianos 8:12
  7. Zajrit 11:05
  8. Letrilla 5:59
  9. Aulaga 2 6:40

Enclosed in a 395 pages book, ISBN: 84-89152-12-8, including essays, texts, illustrations, photographs, biographical information; and a booklet (48 pages). Texts in Spanish and English.

Ukanga (1957) for five instrumental groups: A (violin, trombone and bassoon), B (flute/piccolo, viola and tuba), C (tumpet, clarinet and double bass), D (Glockenspiel, celesta and vibraphone) and E (grand piano and prepared piano)
Caurga (1958) for flute/piccolo, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, piano, violin, violoncello
Ja-U-La (1964) for two violins, two violas, violoncello, flute, clarinet and large conga drum
Palpiti (Latidos) (1984) for clarinet, piano, vibraphone, violin and violoncello
Kuutamo (1961) for E flat clarinet, horn, violoncello and doublebass
Roma Dos Pianos (1963) for two grand pianos and one or two pianists
Zajrit (1983) for one percussionist
Letrilla (1949) for soprano and piano
Aulaga 2 (1964) for clarinet and piano

El Grupo Círculo included the following people at the time of this recording: Salvador Espasa, Flute; Carmen Guillem, Oboe; Salvador Vidal, Clarinet; Dominique Deguines, Bassoon; Pedro Estevan, Percussion; Adela González Campa, Piano; Rubén Fernández, Violin; María Teresa Gómez, Viola; Angel González Quiñones, Cello; Rosa María Molleda, Management; José Luis Temes, Conductor.

The following musicians have worked with El Grupo Círculo in this recording: Peregrín Caldés, Horn; Enrique Rioja, Trumpet; Stephane Loyer, Trombone; Walter Stormont, Tuba; Gonzalo Manzanares, Celesta; Conchi San Gregorio, Prepared Piano; José Alberto Aguilar, Percussion; Francisco Sard, Violin; Julia Jiménez, Viola; Tomás Garrido, Cello; Pablo Múzquiz, Double Bass.

Rrose Sélavy (1977)

  1. Rrose Sélavy (Solo) 6:24
  2. Belle Haleine (Duo) 6:24
  3. Rrose Sélavy (Trio) 6:24
  4. Eau De Voilette (Quartetto) 6:26
  5. Rrose Sélavy (Quintetto) 6:26
  6. L.H.O.O.Q. (Sestetto) 6:42

Rrose Selavy is a simple yet brilliant piece of progressive minimalism in which a new repetitive rhythm is brought in by a new instrument every track - essentially, you're hearing the same piece over and over, just more complex each time until it reaches its cacophonous conclusion after six tracks. It's incredibly simplistic in idea but it's actually a surprisingly original listen. This is obviously dedicated to Duchamp and is littered with references to him; it's not totally unlikely that this was inspired by Erratum Musicale or similar pieces. -- Direct Waves (

Una Voz

1. Side A
2. Side B

"""Una Voz", written by Spanish conceptual artist Juan Hidalgo, read by Javier Martinez Cuadrado and recorded by Walter Marchetti (who also added some extra sounds by opening the windows during the reading during an evening in Madrid on September 1967). As Juan Hidalgo wrote for the liner notes: "I spent about 10 years reading, hearing and meditating, outside, around and inside Zen Buddhism. Una Voz, this repetitive vocal music, couldn't have been conceived without these circumstances. This 'metaphysic' work developed in the years I was living in Italy; first in Milan and then in Rome. Walter Marchetti and John Cage supported all this with their knowledge and friendship. The final result is a reflection on life, non-life, pain and pleasure". The text read by Cuadardo is entirely in Spanish and this vinyl-only edition also includes a booklet with the complete Spanish text and an English translation. Edition of 323 copies.

AVANT #11. Juan Hidalgo

Part I.
Interviews with Juan Hidalgo, Esther Ferrer, Rubén Figaredo and Hénar Rivière. (In Spanish)

Part II.
Music selection

The first instalment of the monographic dedicated to Juan Hidalgo features interviews with Esther Ferrer, Rubén Figaredo and Henar Rivière.

The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy defines "Ockam’s Razor" as a philosophical principle according to which simple theories are preferable to more complex ones—also known as the principle of economy or the principle of parsimony. This concept, attributed to the Franciscan Friar William of Ockham, is a perfect fit for much of the work and activities of Juan Hidalgo (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1927). In the course of a complex career that resists easy classification, this multidisciplinary artist has skilfully used this imaginary razor to gradually refine a visual, poetic, sound and, above all, conceptual discourse that combines elements like everyday life, the apparently superfluous, irony, sexuality, and many more His work involves a constant exaltation of the senses, which goes back to the play of lights, colours, tastes and smells of his childhood, and which, with some distance, can be mapped onto almost all of his output. Hidalgo’s work offers a new, distinctive take on the legacy of Duchamp (whom he calls "my grandfather"), intertwined with the influence of Zen Buddhism and Eastern philosophy.

Zaj, the collective he founded with Walter Marchetti in 1964 (and which also involved the collaboration of artists like Ramón Barce, Esther Ferrer, José Luis Castillejo and Tomás Marco), which blurred the lines between poetry, music, action, theatre and the visual arts and merged them into what Zaj called "etceteras", still represents one of the major turning points in the arts scene in Spain during the second half of the 20th Century. In his work with Zaj and outside of it, Hidalgo has undeniably influenced not one but several generations of Spanish sound artists, who not only acknowledge his historic precedent (he was the first Spanish artist to present works at Darmstadt and the first to compose an electroacoustic piece), but also see his promiscuity of languages and his radical approach to the artistic act as a change of paradigm, synonymous with a renewal that was absolutely essential in periods of cultural and political obscurantism.

A transgressor by nature, an almost involuntary provocateur, Hidalgo often says that Spanish musicians consider him a visual artist and visual artists consider him a musician. And that only the poets consider him a poet. The trick is obviously to see Juan Hidalgo as all of these at once. His work is like a Mandela, a symbol that represents totality and integrity, and can be understood as a model for the structure of life.

Produced and edited by Roc Jiménez de Cisneros for Radio Web MACBA
From AVANT: Music of The Spanish Avant-Garde
Presented in collaboration with Radio Web MACBA JUAN HIDALGO
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. 1927

Juan Hidalgo embodies the spirit of the avant-garde movement, with his constant striving to eliminate barriers and push back the boundaries of creation. He originally trained as a musician, but his open-mindedness to creativity turned him into a multimedia artist who feels equally at home with poetry and plastic arts as with music, and who expresses himself through books, texts, musical compositions, postal art, events and performances, objectual art and photography. His versatility as regards materials attests to the paramount importance he lends to the concept in his poetical creations, which are filled with humour, sex, irony and demystification. For Hidalgo genres are something permeable, with the attitude adopted to the creative fact being the important issue. When foregrounding conceptual aspects, any support is just as valid. One might even say he is a mannerist artist.

Juan Hidalgo's biography is full of firsts. He is the first Spanish composer to be invited to the mythical Darmstadt Festivals, the first to compose an electroacoustic work, the founder of ZAJ and the creator of etceteras . His itinerary is unique because he has always been a pioneer.

His work has not received as much attention as it deserves. He has always stood outside art circuits, but in recent times he has begun to be fully understood and appreciated. Pioneers seem fated to wait: letting time do its job, they continue working and thinking as it passes The ZAJ movement, the most groundbreaking and radically new avant-garde group of the last forty years, was founded in Madrid in 1964 and specialised in postcard art, books and concerts. Although it was from the beginning an open movement to which many artists contributed, the founding fathers were Juan Hidalgo, Walter Marchetti and, later, Esther Ferrer. The ZAJ concerts were meant to shock their audiences: they provided music for the eyes as well as for the ears, combining echoes of Dadaism and Futurism with a touch of Zen, and channelling silence as a means of expression. Music and theatre were conflated on the ZAJ stage.

Hidalgo has received a number of prizes and awards including the 1987 Canary Island Award for Fine Arts and Interpretation, the 1989 Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts, awarded by the Ministry of Culture and the Gold Medal from the Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid in 2001. He has also taken part in a number of major exhibitions, the most noteworthy being the ZAJ Retrospective at the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid in 1996, the De Juan Hidalgo anthology at the CAAM in Las Palmas and La Recova in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1997, and the retrospective "En Medio del volcán" touring Mexico and Peru in 2004.

Juan Hidalgo is pure creativity with no dressing: sometimes polished, sometimes fiercely head-on, yet always transgressive.


The Zaj Group, "A Zaj Sampler," Great Bear Pamphlets in UbuWeb Historical
Walter Marchetti in UbuWeb Historical
José Luis Castillejo in UbuWeb Sound