Miguel Hernández. Diseño: Jennifer Ancízar / Magazine AM:PM.
Miguel Hernández. Diseño: Jennifer Ancízar / Magazine AM:PM.

The scratched record: Miguel Hernández

6 minutes / Carlos M. Mérida

13.08.2020 / Worn-out record,  Reviews

This wonderful album is the pretext for today. I mess up early: Serrat is the greatest singer in Spanish. Forget Sabina, Silvio, and the whole troop. This is the man. I already said it, and I already sharpened my Paraguayan, in case someone wants to fight.

If the previous statement slips you, you can skip this part and go directly to the sixth paragraph. On the other hand, if it seems hasty and lacking in scientific rigor, if it causes you some kind of sting that an ordinary shithead says such atrociousness without any shame, then, please, stay here, you may be interested in the platitude that I am about to say.

When we talk about music, or any artistic manifestation, the use of expressions such as best, worst, bad, good, most, least, are exclusively resources of style. If X says: "Chucho Valdés is the best pianist in the world," that does not affect Quivicán's, or the rest of the pianists, or the world in any way. Chucho will be exactly the same type of pianist before and after the phrase. What X is saying is that Chucho is a fucking virtuoso, and he does not find in language another tool at the level of the kind of pianist he is, other than to say that he is the best.

The objective evaluation of the artistic fact is in reality a lie as big as that God exists (God himself, the older man with a beard, not the idea of Him, which is inherent in the human being). I've done it, we all do it. Good, bad, better and worse, they are just a pact, a rest that we have invented because we have to talk, right? We have to continue living; But this does not mean that they exist, that they have an effect on reality, that Chucho is really the best. No aesthetic event is better than another. There are spaces where these concepts do work, they do reflect a more or less real state of affairs (graphite is a better thermal conductor than copper, light is the fastest), but not in the language of art. Not understanding this constitutes the first step on the road to censorship, which occurs because someone, from a position of power, believes that this is bad or that it is good; that is why censorship is essentially an act of denial of reality.

If I take X's statement to be true, then, in a way, I am believing that X has listened to all the pianists in the world and, furthermore, has a kind of "best pianist" mold that he has put them into to check that Chucho is the one that best fits. If, instead, I consider such a statement as an error, then I am also saying that X does not have the mold, but is in my possession. That is to say, the only way for better, worse, good and bad to modify reality is if we accept the existence of the mold, the existence of an aesthetic rung superior to any artist, an entity located above the individual, which establishes when one is. better than or worse than. This is neither more nor less, God. So if you believe in Him, you can forget everything I have said, because there is no fix there; pretend this didn't happen. Now, if you are one of those who (like me) believes that the human being is alone with him, do not come to me with that what I said above Serrat is very daring, or that it is not true.

What is true is that Serrat likes the local manicurist and the radical joint-smoking teenager from the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. I have seen his songs the same in varied romantics together with José Luis Perales, Rafael and these people, sharing virtual space with the most avant-garde of cool author songs. Nobody in this language does that (Pablo Milanés sits back in his chair while reading).

What Serrat did in 1972 with the poems of Miguel Hernández is not fair. It's a record that you have to listen to sitting down, or lying down if you like, but never standing up, because no matter how hard you get, at some point gravity will beat your knees. It happened to me in the pre, the first, or perhaps the second time that I listened to Elegía, for not stopping the music right there when the Nano said: “In Orihuela, his town and mine, Ramón has died like lightning Sijé, whom I loved so much ”; then on a bench in the Plaza Cadenas, with borrowed hearing aids, when the end of Umbrío por la pena came: “My person will not be able to cope with grief, / surrounded by sorrows and thistles. / How much pain to die one! ”; also in the last seat of the Movistar Arena in Villa Crespo, Buenos Aires, watching him sing the Nanas de la cebolla; and a while ago, scrubbing, as soon as the first bars of El niño yuntero were played, which is the one that works the most for my spinal cord.

El hijo de Ángeles y de Josep lee los poemas de Miguel Hernández de una manera que constituye un verdadero ensayo de interpretación. Ningún estudioso de la generación del ’36 lo ha hecho mejor que él. Entre Serrat musicalizando a su compatriota, y Pablo haciendo lo mismo con Martí, les van a quitar el trabajo a los críticos y profesores de literatura. La palabra y la música ajustan con una perfección que asombra (pocas veces me he sentido yo tan cómodo al usar el vocablo perfección). Cada una encuentra en la otra su hueco, su nicho en el orden universal, donde quedarse a vivir para siempre. Tanto en la canción como en el verso, la emoción es la misma, como si no mediase tiempo entre ellas, como si el autor de Perito en lunas hubiera escrito esos poemas sentado en el suelo, en una esquina del estudio de grabación, y se los hubiera entregado al del Poble-Sec, según los iba terminando, en un papelito estrujado, justo antes de que este los comenzara a cantar.

Aquí en Cuba tú tocas un piano y ya te dicen maestro, pero olvidémonos de eso por un segundo. A Joan Manuel Serrat medio mundo le dice así, y no creo que a él le guste, pero es que hay palabras que les quedan mejor a algunos.

¡Ah! Lo que decía al principio no es del todo exacto. Lo siento. El Nano no es el más grande cantor en español. Es el más grande en español y en catalán

Carlos M. Mérida

Oidor. Coleccionista sin espacio. Leguleyo. Temeroso de las abejas y de los vientos huracanados.

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