Granados: Piano Music

In this video

Enrique Granados, the son of an army officer, received his musical education from the town bandsman, Captain Jose Junceda, until the family moved to Barcelona. There he studied piano with Jurnet and later composition with Pedrell, the father of the nineteenth century nationalist movement in Spain. He earned his keep by playing in a café in the evenings.

Composer: Enrique Granados
Artist: Pablo Matías Becerra

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The many achievements of Enrique Granados (1867-1916) – a teacher, pianist, but more significantly a formative figure in the renaissance of Spanish music during the early years of the last century – are the more remarkable for springing from barren soil. As a teenager, Granados had a thorough schooling in piano from Joan Baptista Pujol; then a rather more partial one in harmony and composition from Felipe Pedrell, whose principal concern was a revival of native music comparable to other Nationalist movements across Europe in the late 19th century. Granados saw a broader horizon.

Valses poeticos, Escenas románticos: translate them into French or German, play them blind, and you may hear the cosmopolitan nature of Granados’ inspiration. Chopin is there, obviously, Grieg too; more influential was Schumann, not least in the ways that literary and poetic ideas shape informal musical structures. The Valses are a youthful work of great beauty; the Allegro de Concierto, by contrast, was crafted as an ebullient, taxing display of his own formidable technique.

Granados was ‘a born pianist’, claimed Pablo Casals: ‘music simply poured out of him’. While a performing tradition for this music has grown up around the recordings of Alicia de Larrocha, she herself remembered the improvisational quality of its invention. The composer’s foremost student was Frank Marshall, who told de Larrocha how he was page-turning for Granados at a recital. The piece was ‘El Pelele’ from Goyescas, and all went well until the third page, when Marshall saw with amazement that what Granados was playing had nothing to do with what was written. So he ceased turning pages, while the composer played ‘a totally new and brilliant ‘Pelele’.

Belgian pianist Pablo Matías Becerra grew up in a family of musicians with their roots in the culture of Argentina. A former student of the legendary pedagogue Rena Shereshevskaya at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, he has established a fast-moving career in solo and chamber music, including as the pianist of a tango trio. Shereshevskaya proclaims him as ‘An extremely talented pianist with the promise of a bright future.’

00:00:00 8 Valses poéticos: Preludio
00:01:07 8 Valses poéticos: I. Melodioso
00:02:41 8 Valses poéticos: II. Tempo di valse noble
00:03:59 8 Valses poéticos: III. Tempo di valse lente
00:06:05 8 Valses poéticos: IV. Allegro umoristico
00:06:49 8 Valses poéticos: V. Allegretto
00:08:07 8 Valses poéticos: VI. Quasi ad libitum
00:09:31 8 Valses poéticos: VII. Vivo
00:10:14 8 Valses poéticos: VIII. Presto – Tempo di valse
00:12:49 Danza Española, Op. 37: II. Oriental
00:18:03 El pelele
00:22:58 Danza Española, Op. 5: XII. Arabesca
00:28:26 Allegro de concierto, Op. 46
00:36:32 Escenas románticas: I. —
00:40:06 Escenas románticas: II. Recitativo
00:42:08 Escenas románticas: II. —
00:44:56 Escenas románticas: III. —
00:49:45 Escenas románticas: IV. —
00:50:38 Escenas románticas: V. —
00:58:17 Escenas románticas: VI. —

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