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San Juan Comalapa in Municipality of San Juan Comalapa, Chimaltenango, Guatemala
 

Rafael Álvarez Ovalle

 
 
Rafael Álvarez Ovalle Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, November 26, 2016
1. Rafael Álvarez Ovalle Marker
Inscription.
Municipalidad de San Juan Comalapa
Chimaltenango, Guatemala C.A.
¡Trabajemos juntos…!”

Rafael Álvarez Ovalle
(Comalapa, Chimaltenango, 1858 - Guatemala, 1946) Compositor guatemalteco, autor de la música del Himno Nacional de Guatemala.

Hijo de Ildefonso Ovalle y Rosendo Alvárez, director de la Escuela de Música de Comalapa, recibió de su progenitor su primera formación musical. En 1871 su padre pasó a hacerse cargo de la Escuela de Música de Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, localidad en la que fallecería en 1874. Con sólo dieciséis años, Rafael Álvarez le sucedió en su cargo en la Escuela de Música.

Para profundizar en sus estudios musicales, se trasladó a la capital en 1879, y al poco tiempo ingresó en la Banda Marcial, que en aquel entonces se encontraba en un excelente nivel gracias a la dirección del famoso maestro Emilio Dressner…Dressner apreció el talento Rafael y de otros jóvenes pertenecientes a la Banda, y resolvió darles desinteresadamente clase de armonía y lecciones prácticas de instrumentación, además de estimularlos para la composición. Dressner abandonó sin embargo la Banda Marcial en 1885, a causa de las intrigas para hacerse con su dirección, y regresó a Alemania, dejando a sus discípulos sin maestro.

Ya en 1879 la Sociedad Literaria El Porvenir había
Rafael Álvarez Ovalle Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton
2. Rafael Álvarez Ovalle Marker
The markers and bust of Álvarez Ovalle are on the corner of the central square of San Juan Comalapa.
realizado vanos intentos para dotar al país de un himno. En 1887, la jefatura del departamento de Guatemala convocó un concurso para elegir la música de la letra del Himno Popular que había compuesto el poeta Ramón P. Molina. Tomaron parte en el mismo diversos compositores y salió finalmente elegida la música del maestro Rafael Álvarez Ovalle, la cual acompañaría durante bastante tiempo la letra del poeta Molina.

Sin embargo, en 1896, el gobierno del entonces presidente José María Reina Barrios convocó un nuevo concurso para escoger la música y letra del Himno Nacional. Por acuerdo del 19 de febrero de 1897, fue declarado de nuevo ganador Rafael Álvarez como autor de la mejor música, mientras que unos versos de autor anónimo se llevaron el premio a la mejor letra. Hubo que esperar hasta 1911 para saber que el autor anónimo había sido el poeta cubano José Joaquín Palma, según declaró él mismo poco antes de morir.

A principios de la década de 1930 se produjo una fuerte polémica en torno a eventuales cambios en el texto del Himno Nacional. Fue entonces cuando el maestro guatemalteco José María Bonilla Ruano, educador y filólogo, realizó una revisión de cada uno de los versos del poema original. Además de encontrar alusiones agresivas contra España, también descubrió errores de forma y de fondo que debían corregirse. Así, por ejemplo, los colores de la bandera
Rafael Álvarez Ovalle Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton
3. Rafael Álvarez Ovalle Marker
Near the marker is this bust of Álvarez Ovalle with a plaque with the lyrics of the Guatemalan National Anthem.
estaban cambiados en blanco, azul y blanco, y había un error en un verso que decía así: “Es tu enseña pedazo de cielo/entre nubes de nítida albura”. Bonilla Ruano entonces las correcciones necesarias, las cuales fueron unánimemente elogiadas por los Académicos de Lengua Guatemalteca. La nueva y actual versión del Himno Nacional de Guatemala fue aprobado el 26 de julio de 1934 por el entonces Jorge Ubico.

CAT Comité de Autogestión Turística
Comalapa 2016

English translation:
Municipality of San Juan Comalapa
Chimaltenango, Guatemala, Central America

Rafael Álvarez Ovalle
(Comalapa, Chimaltenango, 1858 - Guatemala, 1946)
Guatemalan composer, author of the music of the National Anthem of Guatemala.

Son of Ildefonso Ovalle and Rosendo Álvarez, director of the School of Music of Comalapa, he received his first musical training from his father. In 1871 his father took charge of the School of Music of Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, where he would unfortunately pass away in 1874. At only sixteen, Rafael Álvarez succeeded his father in that position in the School of Music.

To deepen his musical studies, he moved to the capital in 1879, and soon entered the Martial Band, which at that time was at an excellent level thanks to the direction of the famous master Emilio Dressner ... Dressner appreciated the
Additional Rafael Álvarez Ovalle Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton
4. Additional Rafael Álvarez Ovalle Marker
This additional marker attached to the base of the bust is a memorial from the Guatemalan Army to Álvarez Ovalle from October 24, 1982, the 124th anniversary of the musician's birth in San Juan Comalapa.
talent of Rafael and other young people belonging to the band, and decided to selflessly give them harmony classes and practical lessons on instrumentation, as well as stimulate them in their composition studies. Dressner, however, abandoned the Martial Band in 1885, because of intrigues related to his position, and returned to Germany, leaving his disciples without a teacher.

In 1879 the Literary Society El Porvenir had made vain attempts to endow the country with a national anthem. Then, in 1887, the chief of the Department of Guatemalan convened a contest to choose music for the lyrics of the National Anthem that had been composed by the poet Ramon P. Molina. Various composers took part in the contest and the music of Rafael Álvarez Ovalle finally won out. His winning music would accompany the poet Molina’s lyrics for a long time.

However, in 1896, the government of then-President José Maria Reina Barrios called for a new competition to choose music and lyrics for the National Anthem. By the agreement of February 19, 1897, Rafael Álvarez was again declared the winner and author of the best music, whereas the verses of an anonymous author took the prize for the best lyrics of the National Anthem. It was not until 1911 that it would be known that the anonymous author had been the Cuban poet José Joaquín Palma, according to what he himself declared shortly before
San Juan Bautista Catholic Church, near the marker. image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, November 26, 2016
5. San Juan Bautista Catholic Church, near the marker.
Although the church is currently closed due to past earthquake damage, a Guatemalan wedding party poses here for photos in front of the Colonial-era church.
dying.

In the early 1930s there was a strong controversy over possible changes in the lyrics of the National Anthem. It was then that the Guatemalan teacher José María Bonilla Ruano, educator and philologist, made a revisionist study of each of the verses of the original poem. In addition to finding aggressive allusions against Spain, he also discovered errors of form and substance that had to be corrected. So, for example, the colors of the flag were changed to white, blue and white. Also, there was an error in a verse that read: "Es tu enseña pedazo de cielo/entre nubes de nítida albura." Bonilla Ruano then made the necessary corrections, which were unanimously praised by the members of the Academy of the Guatemalan Language. The new and current version of the National Anthem of Guatemala was finally approved on July 26, 1934 by the then President Jorge Ubico.

CAT, Committee on Community Tourism
Comalapa, 2016
 
Erected 2016 by Comité Autogestión Turismo de San Juan Comalapa.
 
Location. 14° 44.387′ N, 90° 53.237′ W. Marker is in San Juan Comalapa, Chimaltenango, in Municipality of San Juan Comalapa. Marker is on Calle Principal, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. The marker and bust are on the southwest corner
Bust of Rafael Álvarez Ovalle image. Click for full size.
By J. Makali Bruton, January 21, 2015
6. Bust of Rafael Álvarez Ovalle
This bust by Galeotti Torres was at an exposition at the Cerro Santo Domingo in Antigua Guatemala in December, 2014.
of the central plaza of San Juan Comalapa, Chimaltenango. Marker is in this post office area: San Juan Comalapa, Chimaltenango 04004, Guatemala.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 kilometers of this marker, measured as the crow flies. San Juan Comalapa Memorial to Genocide Victims (approx. 0.7 kilometers away); Chimaltenango Memorial to the Victims of Guatemala's Armed Conflict (approx. 11.4 kilometers away); José Simeon Cañas (approx. 11.4 kilometers away); The Founding of Tecpán Guatemala (approx. 11.4 kilometers away); General Justo Rufino Barrios (approx. 11.5 kilometers away); Plaza D at Iximché (approx. 11.6 kilometers away); Temple 5 at Iximche (approx. 11.6 kilometers away); Xajil Palace (approx. 11.6 kilometers away).
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicEducation
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 20, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 11, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. This page has been viewed 176 times since then and 91 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 11, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.   6. submitted on August 18, 2017, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.
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