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8.553037 - GRANADOS: Spanish Dances / Escenas Poeticas
Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Twelve Spanish Dances (arr. for guitar and orchestra by Peter Breiner)
Escenas poeticas, Book 1
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.
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