Enrique Granados: CDs & DVDs: Best CDs & DVDs of Enrique Granados

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Enrique Granados: Overview


Enrique Granados: Enrique Granados (b.Lerida, 27 July 1867; d. at sea, 24 March 1916).



Enrique Granados belongs by heritage to a different Spain from either Albeniz or Falla. His father was from Cuba, an officer serving in the Spanish army, and his mother was a Montafiesan from Santander in the north, lying remote beyond Castile. A delicate child, he showed musical aptitude very early and undertook piano studies when his family moved to Barcelona, where he won a competition at sixteen and studied with Felipe Pedrell, supporting himself as a cafe pianist. Private patronage enabled him to go to Paris in 1887, but illness kept him from the Conservatoire's entry examinations and he studied the piano privately for two years before returning to Barcelona, where he settled and married. Here he acquired a fine reputation as a pianist, shared concerts with Casals, Crickboom, Thibaud and other leading artists of their time, and founded his own piano school, the Academia Granados, in 1901.



By this time Enrique Granados had begun to compose some of the early Danzas espaholas for piano, which still retain their popular appeal, and of which he also made some orchestral versions. He was attracted to the theatre, and scored a popular success in 1898 with his first opera, Maria del Carmen, a zarzuela grande which owed much of its appeal to the distinctive Murcian regional flavour of its music. In five subsequent operas, his lyric gift was led astray by unsuitable libretti, and his feeling for the voice found its best expression in collections of songs, many of which were composed after the style of the 18th-century tonadillas. His love for this period of Spanish history was combined with a serious study of Domenico Scarlatti in his two books of Goyescas - in which the art of Goya provides subject-matter for piano pieces of outstanding poetic imagination and vivid yet elegant pictorial character.



Except in the operas, and in an overblown Lisztian symphonic poem on Dante's Divina commedia, Enrique Granados sought modesty and simplicity of form, but indulged a supple melodic line and a tendency to overornamentation - traits characteristic of the music of Montanesa. These qualities are given a deeper expressive character in his later Canciones amatorias, settings of the best classic Spanish poets, which have been justly compared to Schumann's Dichterliebe in beauty of style and poetic sensibility. His talent also extended to exuberant improvisation, much enjoyed by his friends and reflected for us in the Allegro de Concierto for piano, which became a permanent set piece for the Madrid Conservatory diploma. He made a version of Goyescas as a short opera, with a narrative libretto by Fernando Periquet fitted to existing music, but the outbreak of war in 1914 prevented its intended production at the Paris Opera. It was given instead at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1916 with some success, and with a newly-composed Intermezzo which became widely popular on its own account. Enrique Granados and his wife attended the premiere, but on the return journey their ship, the Sussex, was torpedoed by a German submarine while crossing from Folkestone to Dieppe. According to the master, who brought his crippled ship into port, Enrique Granados drowned in going to the aid of his wife, who perished with him.



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