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Biography of Juan Morel Campos (1857-1896)


Puerto Rican composer, born in Ponce on May 16, 1857 and died in the same city on May 12, 1896. It was, without doubt, the greatest exponent of the Puerto Rican Danza. It is the most prolific composer of Danzas and who took this form to its maximum expression. "Happy days", "Vain effort", "Maldito Amor", "Don't touch me", "Torment", "Mis Penas", "Sublime soul", and many others are just a sample of successful and extensive repertoire calculated at more than 550 works, of which more than half were dances.

He began his musical studies at the tender age of eight years under the baton of Professor Antonio Egipciaco. During his youth he learned to play almost all the metal of the Orchestra instruments and for some time led the band of Ponce and was the organist of the Church.

It was the most exploited of Manuel Gregorio Tavárez (considered "the father of the dance"), whose influence can be seen in some of his early compositions. But Morel was a genius, and he continued to create dances that embody all the rhythms and styles of his time, as well as its own innovations. It brought this genre what it is today.

Many of the dances of Morel were not written originally for piano. The primary function of the dance in its origins was the dance and Morel had his own Orchestra, La Lira Ponceña, for which he wrote most of his compositions. He later transcribed them for piano, because, otherwise, they risked not become popular.

Morel was inspired by various themes for his compositions, but most of her dances were devoted to women and love. It is said that the composer intended loves to Doña Mercedes Arias who, despite correspond, not had the courage to fight against the opposition of his family to this romance with ponceno musician. The dance "Sublime soul" was born as a tribute of resignation to this love.

On April 26, 1896, during a concert in Ponce as he headed the work "Lucerne clock", suffered a heart attack which killed him on May 12, 1896, just four days before the age of 39.


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