Granados: Danzas españolas: Escénas poeticas, Bk.1 (Beata Jankowska/ Norbert Kraft/ Peter Breiner/ Razumovsky Sinfonia) (Naxos: 8.553037)
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Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Twelve Spanish Dances (arr. for guitar and orchestra by Peter Breiner)
No.1 Allegro - Andante
No.2 Orientale: Andante
No.4 Villanesca: Allegretto, alla pastorale
No.5 Andantino quasi allegretto
No.6 Rondella aragonesa: Allegretto, poco a poco accelerando
No.7 Allegro airoso
No.8 Assai moderato
No.9 Molto allegro brillante
No.11 Largo a piacere - Andante con moto
Escenas poeticas, Book 1
(arr. for guitar and orchestra by Peter Breiner)
Eva y Walter
Danza de la rosa
Enrique Granados y Campiña was born in 1867 in Lerida, the son of an army officer. He studied music in Barcelona with Francisco Jurnet and Joan Baptista Pujol and later took private piano lessons with Charles de Bériot of the Paris Conservatoire, to which, as a foreigner, he was not admitted. He returned to Spain in 1889 and made his career there, taking lessons with the founding father of Spanish musical nationalism, Pedrell, and drawing inspiration from Goya. The work of the latter suggested to him the piano pieces, Goyescas, based on paintings by Goya, and these were later to form the basis of his opera of the same title. Granados won a firm position for himself in Spain, contributing to the popular zarzuela and writing a series of pieces of clear Spanish character. He was drowned in the English Channel in 1916, on his way back from America, where he had travelled for the performance in New York of his opera Goyescas. His return to Europe had been delayed by a recital for the American President, and he found himself obliged to take a ship to England and thence to the continent for the last lap of his journey. The ship was torpedoed and Granados and his wife were drowned, the former, according to later rumour, weighed down by his money-belt.
The Danzas españolas, written for piano, have appeared in various subsequent arrangements. The dances are well suited to the guitar, making use as they do, of idiomatic material most natural to that instrument. They are otherwise varied in character, from the opening Minuet and the Orientale, with its ostinato accompaniment, to a Zarabanda, a Villanesca with a minor central section entitled Canción y estribillo, a fifth Andaluza, followed by a jota from Aragon, a Valenciana, an Asturiana, a dance from Mallorca, a tenth Danza triste, a Zambra and a final Arabesca.
The Escenas poeticas were also written for piano, the first a gentle lullaby, the second here transcribed of ultimate Wagnerian provenance, based on elements from Wagner's Die Meistersinger, and the third a brief Dance of the Rose.
The guitarist Norbert Kraft won early distinction in 1975, when he was awarded the Grand Prize in the Canadian CBC Radio Competition, following this in 1985 with first prize in the Segovia International Competition in Mallorca. He enjoys a substantial career as a concerto soloist and appears regularly with important orchestras, particularly in Canada and in the United States of America, as well as in Europe and the Far East. He was chosen to represent Canada at World Expo '90 in Osaka and again in Seville in 1992. Norbert Kraft is a faculty member of the Manhattan School of Music in New York and professor of guitar and chamber music at the University of Toronto and the Royal Conservatory of Music. He is founder and director of the Toronto Guitarfest.
Peter Breiner was born in 1957 at Humenne in Eastern Slovakia where he started piano lessons at the age of four. He went on to study at the Bratislava Conservatory and then at the Prague College of Music and Drama, concentrating at the latter in composition. On completing his studies he began work as musical supervisor of the Czechoslovak Radio in Bratislava and for OPUS Records and Publishing House. He has had a varied career which has involved the conductorship of the Czechoslovak Radio Children's Choir, regular piano performances at jazz concerts and working as an orchestral conductor and arranger.