Five Senses Tastings is thrilled to be partnering once again with our friends over at V Wine Room for a special event celebrating the music and wine of Spain. "La pasión de España" will take place on Wednesday September 26th at 6:30 pm at the wine bar, located at 903 Westbourne Drive, West Hollywood, CA 90069. Tickets can be purchased here, and Five Senses Tastings fans can save 10% by applying the coupon code: 5SENSES
I fell in love with Spain while living in Barcelona during my junior year of high school. Rough, I know. See, I was born and raised in Europe (Germany and England, mostly), so when I moved to the U.S. (and it wasn't really moving back because I'd never lived there before), I definitely had a hard time adjusting. I'd been wearing school uniforms for the past several years and so had no idea how to dress. I spelled honor and color with a "u," and I talked a bit funny as well. Oh, and it didn't help that I was a geek musician who played the piano, bassoon, and sang as opposed to being cool and playing lacrosse.
When the opportunity to spend my junior year abroad presented itself, I couldn't say no. I was desperate to return to the continent where I'd grown up... something a bit more familiar. And it just so happened that the program I could attend was based in stunningly beautiful Barcelona.
One of the things I remember the most about my time there was how joyful people seemed to be. Maybe that sounds trite, but it's what I remember. I recall my host family making a distinction for me early on, from the Spanish point of view, of course. "Los americanos viven para trabajar pero los españoles trabajan para vivir," they said. Translation: "Americans live to work but Spaniards work to live."
Living there and returning many times since, I think they were pretty spot on. Living in Los Angeles, I feel that this is a little less obvious but overall, I think there's something to that sentiment. I also believe that the music, wine, and food of Spain highlight this passion for living, and a passion in general. The musical style most traditionally associated with the country of Spain is flamenco, of course, which originated many centuries ago (between the 7th and 15th or so) and incorporates many elements of Arabic influence in the rhythms and instruments used. Over the years, influences from Christians and Jews infiltrated it as well as that of gypsy music. And, it's only in about the last 200 years that any sort of flamenco music has been documented!
Those who have attended some of our other events will recognize Andres Vadin, our magnetic guitarist. Joining him is Briseyda Zárate, a flamenco singer/dancer based in Los Angeles.
Along with flamenco, Zarzuela is another musical art form that defines the country of Spain. It alternates sung and spoken scenes and also often incorporates dance. Like many things that travel during periods of colonization, Zarzuela traveled also, landing in places such as Cuba and the Philippines when Spain colonized those parts of the world. After the Glorious Revolution of 1868, Spain fell into hard economic times, and its citizens could not afford to pay large entrance fees for the theater. As a result, Zarzuela began to be presented in one-act form known as genero chico, while the longer versions, lasting up to four hours, were known as genero grande.
The last type of music that we'll be presenting at this special event in Los Angeles is Spanish art song of the romantic period. Here we'll see the true lyricism of the piano, played by Dr. Vernon Snyder. To me, this is some of the most beautiful music ever written. The music is lush, even when just scored for piano accompaniment, the lyrics are beautiful, often highly suggestive, and incredibly sensuous, and the harmonies and melodies simply envelop you in their warmth.
We are so excited to present the music of Spain accompanied by five delectable wines from V Wine Room's extensive collection. Three wines are from California (Spanish grapes, of course), and two are from Spain itself.