Genre: Instrumental


Forces: Piano four hands

Length: 3 Minutes


A habanera with a samba in the middle, for piano four hands.

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Sheet Music

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Programme notes


Habasambañera? What on earth is that?

A habañera is a Cuban dance a bit like a tango; the most famous example is in Bizet's Carmen (though Bizet borrowed it from a song by the Spanish composer, Yradier). A samba is a Brazilian dance with lots of syncopation, characterised by layers of percussion each playing a different rhythmic pattern.

So a habasambañera is a sandwich of Latin dances: a habañera with a samba in the middle...

In this samba there is a different rhythmic pattern in each of the four hands: a rolling bass, syncopations in the middle and a repeated figure in the highest part which would not be out of place played on a tambourine. You should be able to smell Mardi Gras.

The habañera part speaks of hot and lazy days in the deep South. It luxuriates in melodrama, and migrates from key to key embellished in a different way with each repetition.

Habasambañera was written for the Cann sisters with their performing style very much in mind - full of verve and excitement. The piece lasts about four minutes.


First performance:
The Cann Duo.

Additional performances by The Cann Duo, at various venues including Benenden School.