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Jaén's Hymn

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Jaén's hymn. Brief history of "Canto a Jaén"

 

 
 
Jaén’s Hymn was created by pure chance; two great artists met one another  coincidentally in our city. These great artists were Emilio Cebrián Ruíz and Federico de Mendizabal. The first was the leader of our municipal band and the second was a poet relocated as an official in the Treasury Department in 1926.
 
Close to the date of San Lucas’s fair, a great program of celebration events was announced; one of the key events was the “beauty party” a tribute to Jaén’s women. On Sunday, the 6th of October of 1932, after the Sunday’s concert of our Municipal Band in Saint Maria Square, our two friends got together in a stroll in the Maestra Street (that was the meeting point of Jaén’s society in those days). On this stroll, they both created a hymn about Jaén’s women, the beauty of the landscapes of the city….in the end, it was a homage to Jaén. They went to Emilio Cebrián house, in Martínez Molina Street, very close to Maestra Street. The musician sat down at the piano improvising a melody, while the poet created the lyrics of this anthem. This anthem is of inestimable importance to the people of the city. They worked very hard for several hours. They began at midday (after the concert) and finished at about 4:30 in the afternoon. They originally named the anthem “Canto a Jaén” (Ode to Jaén).
 
Several days later, on the 19th of October of 1932, the Municipal Music Band featured the premiere of this anthem during a concert in the old Cervantes Theatre. Due to the great acceptance by the public, the band repeated the anthem up to four times in the theatre and at the end of the concert the two artists were carried out on the shoulders of the audience, repeating the hymn one more time. 
 
Hymn
 
Eres harén, con luz de sol,
en que cautivo se deshoja el corazón.
Es tu mujer, radiante flor, 
gentil sultana favorita del amor.
En tu olivar, soñé de ti,
con luz de luna,
jaenera ser feliz.
Y al despertar con esa luz,
a mi pastira junto al monte de la cruz.
Bella ciudad de luz
que tienes cuando miras,
el corazón y el sol
rendido a tus pastiras.
Sultana, tú, mujer,
que al despertar un día,
se hizo clavel del amor,
al son de Andalucía.
 
Alcemos bajo el sol,
como una antorcha el corazón,
la tierra de Jaén,
abre sus brazos de mujer.
 
 
Bella ciudad de luz
que tienes cuando miras,
el corazón y el sol
rendido a tus pastiras.
Sultana, tú, mujer,
que al despertar un día,
se hizo clavel del amor,
al son de Andalucía. 
 
¡Viva Jaén! 
 
After three days, on the 22nd of October of 1932, the hymn was performed again during a musical performance in Jaén’s Bullring. This involved the participation of the chorus and “rondallas” of the Friends of the Art Society, the Municipal Music Band of Jaén and the “Tuccitana” Choir of Martos under the leadership of Manuel Escabias. With so many voices in the performance, it caused a great impact on the audience and had to be repeated one more time this same night in a concert in Santa María Square. As a result of the success of the Hymn, on the 24th of October of 1932, the city council accepted the hymn, and published the hymn sheet by Ordorika Company, from Bilbao and the hymn was also recorded by Madrid’s Choir. 
 
Due to a municipal corporate agreement on the 31st of May of 1935, it was declared the “Official Hymn” of Jaén. The original musical score is kept in a place of honour in the Municipal Palace. “Jaén’s Hymn” was heard at all of the important events of the city. A part of the song was added to the final part of the march of “Our Father Jesus”, first performed in 1935, making the Hymn even more popular. Unfortunately, due to a series of unlucky events the popularity of the hymn gradually decreased: Federico de Mendizabal moved to another city due to professional reasons in 1935 and Emilio Cebrián tragically died in 1943. 
 
In the 1940s and 1950s, the hymn could only be heard on the local radio station, which used it as its jingle, or in the background music of the Horse Competitions. But the acoustics were not good because they used the typical slate disc, in which the noises were annoying, resulting in a poor quality sound. Also, the choirs and dancers sometimes performed the hymn, but there was not a collective consciousness about its meaning. It experienced a resurgence of popularity thanks to the cultural promotion by the Lola Torres Association, a great choir’s version edited by the artist Jose Sapena Matarredonda (1908-1987) for the Choral Society “Santo Reino” and the constant Municipal Music Band’s performance of the hymn. 
 
The musician Emilio Cebrián Ruíz, illustrious conductor of the Municipal Music Band of Jaén, was born in Toledo on the 1st of October of 1900 and died, by accident, in Liria, Valencia, on the 3rd of October of 1943. He began his music studies in Jose Blanco’s School. When he was very young, he joined the Music Band of Toledo’s Infantry Academy. 
He successfully completed his studies in piano and harmony in Madrid’s Music Conservatory. In 1924, he obtained a post as the conductor of Talavera de la Reina Municipal Music Band through public competition. In 1932, he achieved the leadership of Jaén Municipal Music Band, a title he held until his death. He established a regulation for the organization and functions of the Municipal Music Band, approved on the 15th of March of 1935 by a plenary meeting. 
 
In 1932, together with the poet Federico de Mendizabal, he composed the music for “Canto a Jaén” premiered in the old Cervantes Theatre on the 19th of October of this year. It was accepted as Jaén’s Hymn in a meeting of the Municipal Corporation on the 31st of May of 1935. The same year, in Santa María Square, Emilio Cebrián premiered “Our Father Jesus March”. These two compositions are the most popular in congregations of Jaén. He also composed a great number of melodies, such as Churumbelas, Acuarelas Campesinas, Una Noche en Granada, El Zoco Toledano. They are all very common in the repertoire of Spain’s Music Bands. He also composed other musical scores about Jaén, such as Salve a la Virgen de la Capilla, Chirris y Pastiras, Juanito Tirado, Ragón Falez, Baeza’s Hymn, Ubeda’s Hymn, and Olimpica Jiennese. He has been honoured in the city with extraordinary concerts, the dedication of a street and with a sculpture by Constantino Unquetti, inaugurated in the Municipal Park La Victoria on the 26th of November of 1978.
 
On the 12th of September of 2000, the process to appoint him “Adoptive Son” of the city was started by the Municipal Corporation of the city. On the 6th of October of the same year, on the occasion of the I Autumn Festival, a meeting of music bands was held in the city, and it was dedicated to him by the City Council. Finally, on the 30th of November of 2001, Emilio Cebrián was effectively appointed the “Adopted Son” of Jaén posthumously.  
 
Unfortunately, we have less information about Federico de Mendizábal García-Lavín. He was born in 1901 in Madrid. At thirteen he entered the Military Academy, which he had to leave due to family reasons, although he obtained great grades. From then on, he devoted his life to his second vocation, literature. After the Spanish Civil War, after a public competition, he moved to Jaén in 1926 to work as an official in the Treasury Department. In Jaén he met Emilio Cebrián and Jaén is also the city where his sons were born. 
 
He created a great amount of literary compositions in our city. One example is “Los Piqueros de Bailen”, a historical play in three acts in verse, which premiered on the 19th of July in España Theatre of Bailén
We also have some great epic poems, which he wrote during the period of his frustrated military career. These include Canto a España, América, Numancia, Bailén, Dos de Mayo, La Victoria de los vencidos, Cantor de la Raza, and Ave Fénix en el Yermo. He was awarded the War Cross, a military service medal (frontline with Red Cross distinction). He was also named Captain of the Spanish Army due to his military merits. Finally, it is important to mention the great Elegy that Emilio Cebrián composed for him when he died. 
 
 
 
(Texts and photos source: Municipal Choir of Jaén)