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GRANADOS: Escenas Romanticas / Allegro de concierto / Capricho espanol


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Enrique Granados(1867-1916)



Preludio en re mayor Danza lenta Escenas romanticas Barcarola


Capricho espanol Libro de horas Paisaje Allegro appassionato



Allegro de concierto



Enrique Granados was born 27th July 1867 in Lerida, near Barcelona. Sonof an army captain, he began piano study in 1879 and the following year hecontinued with Joan Baptista Pujol (1835-1898) at the Academia Pujol. Threeyears later he performed Schumann's Sonata, Op. 22, in anacademy-sponsored competition, for which one of the jury members was the notedcomposer Felipe Pedrell (1841-1922). The sixteen-year-old Granados won thecompetition and obviously impressed Pedrell, who began giving Granados classesin harmony and composition in 1884.



In 1887 Granados went to Paris, where he studied with Charles de Beriot(1833-1914). He was highly influenced by Beriot's insistence on tone-productionand pedal technique. In addition, Beriot emphasized improvisation in histeaching, reinforcing Granados' natural ability in the skill. After returningto Barcelona in 1889, he published his Danzas espanolas, which broughthim international recognition.



In his lifetime Granados performed concerts in Spain, France and NewYork, collaborating with musicians such as Isaac Albeniz and Pablo Casals,violinists Eug?¿ne Ysaye and Jacques Thibaud, pianists Mieczyslaw Horszowski andCamille Saint-Sa?½ns. In addition to his numerous piano works he composedchamber music, vocal music, operas, and symphonic poems. Granados was also afine teacher and in 1901 he founded the Academia Granados, which produced suchnoted musicians as Paquita Madrigueta, Conchita Badia, and Frank Marshall.



In 1912 Granados met American pianist Ernest Schelling, who was thefirst pianist to perform Granados' music outside Spain. Schelling arranged forGranados' works to be published in New York and encouraged him in his plans toconvert the piano suite Goyescas into an opera, later arranging for itspremi?¿re at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.



Terrified of the ocean, Granados nevertheless sailed to New York for thepremi?¿re of the opera on 28th January 1916. While in the United States heperformed numerous concerts, made piano-roll recordings, and also performed atthe White House in Washington. Granados and his wife set sail to Europe viaLondon but while crossing the English Channel on the British ship Sussex, theirboat was torpedoed by a German submarine and they both perished.



In around 1912 Granados wrote: "My motto has always been torenounce an easy success in order to achieve one that is true andlasting." Today, Granados is universally recognised as one of Spain's mostimportant composers. His music is multi-faceted, although it is essentiallyRomantic with some Nationalist characteristics. He has been variously describedas "the Spanish Chopin", "the last Romantic", and by hiscompatriots as "our Schubert". No single characterisation adequatelydescribes his personality. Granados had a distinctive voice that is instantlyrecognisable and entirely his own.



Granados was primarily influenced by mid-nineteenth century EuropeanRomanticism, especially the music of Schumann and Chopin. The introvertedluxuriance of his luminous harmonies, his rich palette of pianistic colour,loose formal structures and his vivid imagination, always tinged withnostalgia, place him firmly within the Romantic School. It has frequently beencommented that large forms such as sonatas and concertos did not attract Granados. His artistic personality was bettersuited to shorter, rhapsodic forms, especially those based on variations.



The manuscript of Preludioen re mayor ('Prelude in D major') is undated. In a letter written inAugust, 1913, Granados mentions that he was preparing several works forpublication, among them Preludio en re mayor. Nevertheless, thiscomposition was not published. This is the first recording of Preludio en remayor.



Danza lenta (Slow Dance), published in 1914, is an inspiredand intimate work, dedicated to the memory of Vicente Esteve, one of thecomposer's students.



One of Granados'sfinest works is the lyric and emotionally charged suite Escenas romanticas ('RomanticScenes'), premi?¿red in 1904. Escenas romanticas, with its combination ofelegance and passion, reveals the extent to which Granados was influenced bySchumann and Chopin. The curious title of the fourth movement, derived fromSchumann's Album for the Young, Op. 68, represents an emotion so intenseit cannot be named. Epilago-Andante spianato, which uses a tempoindication copied after Chopin's Op. 22, Andante spianato et GrandePolonaise Brilliante, is one of Granados's most emotional works, pouringforth poetic exaltation.



Barcarola('Barcarole'), which is almost as brooding andsensitive as it is compelling, was dedicated to the eminent French composerJules Massenet (1842-1912).



Capricha espanol ('Spanish Caprice'), written about 1890, wasdedicated to Eduardo Conde, whose generosity enabled Granados to study inParis. The opus numbers given to some of Granados's works are completelyunreliable. For example, Capricho espanol was published as Op. 37, thesame opus number later assigned to Danza lenta and Sardana.



Libra de horas ('Book of Hours') represents Granados's closestassociation with the cultural movement in Barcelona known as Modernismo, parallelto Art Nouveau. The modernismo concept of beauty, which wasinspired by Nature and filled with longing for the past, was expressed bycurving lines joining together in gradual undulations, akin to the sinuousmelodic curves of En el jardin ('In the Garden'). Throughout his lifeGranados was captivated by the song of the nightingale and incorporated anevocation of the bird's song in El invierno-La muerte del ruisenor ('Winter-Deathof the Nightingale') as well as in his masterpiece Quejas o la maja y elruisenor from Goyescas (Naxos 8.554403). Al suplicio ('Praying'),full of fervent devotion, contains a melody virtually identical to one fromanother of the Goyescas-EI amar y la muerte.



Paisaje ('Landscape') is an Impressionist-style tonepainting, written in about 1912 and dedicated to Ernest Schelling.



The undated manuscriptof Allegro appassionato was found in the Granados Archive. For thisperformance, which is the first recording of Allegro appassionato, thefinal chord was added.



Allegro deconcierto ('Concert Allegro'),is one of Granados's most popular compositions. In 1903 Tomas Breton, thenDirector of the Madrid Conservatory announced a competition for composers towrite an Allegro de concierto to be used as an examination work for graduatingpiano students. There were twenty-four entries. Granados was declared thewinner and Manuel de Falla was recognized with an honorable mention. Allegrode concierto is one of Granados's most brilliant and virtuosiccompositions.



Douglas Riva

Facts
Item number 8554628
Barcode 636943462829
Release date 06/01/2000
Category Romantic
Label Naxos Classics
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Performers
Artists Riva, Douglas
Riva, Douglas
Composers Granados, Enrique
Granados, Enrique
Disc: 1
Allegro de concierto
1 Preludio en re mayor
2 Danza lenta
3 Mazurka
4 Recitativo
5 Berceuse
6 Lento con extasis
7 Allegretto
8 Allegro appassionato
9 Epilogo
10 Barcarola
11 Capricho espanol
12 En el jardin
13 El invierno - La muerte del ruisenor
14 Al suplicio
15 Paisaje
16 Allegro appassionato
17 Allegro de concierto
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