Pablo Sorozábal

Pablo Sorozábal Mariezcurrena (18 September 1897 – 26 December 1988) was a Spanish composer of zarzuelas, operas, symphonic works, and the popular romanza, "No puede ser".

He was born in San Sebastián, in a working-class family. Trained in San Sebastián, Madrid and Leipzig; then in Berlin, where he preferred Friedrich Koch as composition teacher to Arnold Schönberg, whose theories he disliked. It was in Germany that he made his conducting debut, and the rostrum remained at the centre of his working life. His Leipzig concert works include the choral Suite vasca (1923); Dos apuntes Vascos (1925) and Symphonic Variations on a Basque Theme (1927); of later works the funeral march Gernika for chorus and orchestra (1966) is outstanding. The Siete Lieder, 1929 settings of Heinrich Heine for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, are perhaps the finest works he produced in Germany. Two short but powerful compositions for chorus and orchestra, Maite (‘Our Lady’, from the 1946 film Jai-Alai) and ¡Ay, tierra vasca! (1956) retain their place in the hearts of his Basque countrymen.

Katiuska (1931) was his stage debut, and the twenty or so zarzuelas which followed combine lyric fire and inimitable orchestration with an unfailing sense of theatre. Best-loved are his classic madrileño comedy La del manojo de rosas (1934) and the “nautical romance” set on the Atlantic Coast La tabernera del puerto of 1936. The latter includes the romanza "No puede ser", made internationally popular when sung in the Three Tenors concerts by Plácido Domingo. His one-act verismo opera Adiós a la bohemia (from a short story by Pío Baroja) also retains its popularity in Spain.

Sorozábal's liberal sympathies left him somewhat isolated after the Spanish Civil War, and many of his later zarzuelas were first seen outside the capital or in less prestigious Madrid theatres. They include the ambitious, allegorical romance Black, el payaso (1942) and the ski-sports musical Don Manolito (1943), both of which starred popular Basque soprano Pepita Embil.

Sorozábal also wrote scores for non-musical films, notably the classic Spanish film Marcelino Pan y Vino (1955).

His tenure as director of the Madrid Symphony Orchestra ended abruptly in 1952 when he was refused permission to conduct Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony; and though his musical comedy Las de Caín was premiered at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in 1958, the opera Juan José had to wait for its belated (and highly successful) concert premiere until February 2009, after a full production was suspended during rehearsals in Madrid during 1979. With his death in Madrid on 26 December 1988 the last chapter in the creative history of the romantic zarzuela came to an end. Sorozábal's theatrical vitality, musical wit and dramatic force are second to none in the history of zarzuela and rival the best of his German and Italian music theatre contemporaries, such as Kurt Weill.

Birth and Death Data: Born September 18, 1897 (Donostia / San Sebastián), Died December 28, 1988 (Madrid)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1931 - 1941

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer, director

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor MBS-054309 10-in. before 1/10/1941 La del manojo de rosas Agrupación Musical Española "Madrid" ; Rafael Oropesa Clausin Band composer  
Columbia (U.K.) WK2481 10-in. approximately 1931 Rusa divina Banda "Viva-Tonal" ; Pablo Sorozábal Jazz/dance band composer, director  
Columbia (U.K.) WK2484 10-in. approximately 1931 Canta saxofön Banda "Viva-Tonal" ; Pablo Sorozábal Jazz/dance band director, composer  
Columbia (U.K.) WK2518 10-in. approximately 1931 Rusa divina José Acuaviva ; Amparo Albiach ; Angel de León ; Pablo Sorozábal Male vocal trio, with orchestra director, composer  
Columbia (U.K.) WK2519 10-in. approximately 1931 Los Cosacos de Kazan José Acuaviva ; Amparo Albiach ; Angel de León ; Pablo Sorozábal Male vocal trio, with orchestra composer, director  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Sorozábal, Pablo," accessed July 17, 2024,

Sorozábal, Pablo. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 17, 2024, from

"Sorozábal, Pablo." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 17 July 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier


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