About this Recording
8.555325 - GRANADOS, E.: Piano Music, Vol. 5 (Riva) - Escenas Poeticas / Azulejos / Oriental
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On 11th March 1910 Enrique Granados presented one of the most significant concerts of his life at Barcelona’s Palau de la Música Catalana. The programme included the first performances of Goyescas (Naxos 8.554403), the now lost Cant de las estrelles and Azulejos, DLR VI:3, the latter performed as a tribute to Isaac Albéniz. Albéniz began composing Azulejos around the time of his final illness. The work was left incomplete at the time of his death in 1909. Granados said that the widow of Albéniz, Rosina, asked him to complete the work. Although Azulejos is frequently attributed to Albéniz, in reality, the work was written by both composers. The title refers to decorative tiles, frequently arranged in mosaic patterns, which are typical in certain regions of Spain. Granados’ manuscript begins with measure 63 of the completed composition. The 89 measures added by Granados continue Azulejos in the style begun by Albéniz, capturing the warmth and mystery alluded to in the title.

Valse de concert, DLR VII:9, was first published in 1914. No manuscript of the work is known to exist. Although its date of composition is not known, it is probable that it was composed about the years 1909 and 1910. Valse de concert is the most dramatic and longest of Granados’ waltzes.

The manuscript of A la pradera (To the Meadow), DLR III:24, is undated. From the style of calligraphy it would appear that Granados wrote the work about 1900. It is virtually mono-thematic, although the theme is varied by numerous harmonic variations, surprising in such a brief composition.

Escenas poéticas (Poetic Scenes), DLR V:10, was originally published in two separate collections. The first four pieces appeared in 1912 along with Libro de horas, DLR V:12, (Naxos 8.554628) and the remainder were published shortly after the composer’s death. It is probable that the individual works of Escenas poéticas were written at different times owing to the considerable stylistic differences between the pieces. Berceuse, dedicated to the composer’s oldest daughter, Soledad, was written in 1912, according to the dated manuscript. Granados could only have written the dense texture and wandering chromatic harmonies found in the middle section of Berceuse after he had completed Goyescas. Eva y Walter was obviously inspired by Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.. The opera was first performed in Barcelona in 1905, leading to speculation that Eva y Walter was composed around that time. The fragile Canción de Margarita appears to have been inspired by Goethe’s Faust. The indefinite conclusion, although not unique in Granados’ works, is distinctive. Recuerdo de países lejanos might have been inspired by Schumann. In El ángel de los claustros the imaginary flight of the angel is interrupted several times by a chorale. The inspiration for the post—Romantic ruminations Granados wrote in Sueños del poeta are revealed in an unsigned poem included in the published score:

En el jardín de los cipreses y las rosas,

Apoyado en el pedestal de mármol blanco, esperando su hora,

se durmió el poeta. . .

A su lado, y acariciando su frente

vela la Musa.

(In the garden filled with roses and cypresses,

leaning on the white marble pedestal, waiting for the moment,

the poet slept . . .

At his side, stroking his forehead

presided the Muse.)

One of the melodies found in Sueños del poeta was taken from Coloquio en la reja, the second piece of the suite Goyescas (Naxos.8.554403). In Sueños del poeta, however, Granados treated the melody in an entirely different way than in Goyescas, so as to highlight the post—Romantic emotions of the poem.

Granados composed a number of works inspired by "oriental" themes, in which the "orient" refers to countries where Arabic is the spoken language. "Oriental" inspiration was a strong influence on nineteenth-century tastes in art, music and design. Most of Granados’ "oriental" works have been here recorded together.

The autograph manuscript of Fantasia—Cheherazada, DLR V:11, is dated "Barcelona, 28 Diciembre, 1912" (Barcelona, 28th December 1912). The manuscript contains two movements, of which, however, only the first movement was completed. This is the first recording of Fantasia—Cheherazada.

Arabesca (Arabesque), DLR III:16, and Canción morisca (Moorish Song), DLR III:15, were published in the popular magazine La Ilustración Moderna (The Modern Enlightenment), about 1890. They were probably intended for the amateur pianist of the day. This is the first recording of both works.

Canción árabe (Arab Song), DLR III:14, and Moresque, DLR III:13, were also published about 1890 and were dedicated to the composer’s mother.

Oriental—Canción variada, Intermedio, Final (Oriental--Theme with variations, Intermezzo, Finale), DLR I:5, is the culmination of Granados’ "oriental" works and is certainly the most ambitious of this group of compositions. Granados gave an unusual tempo indication for the Intermezzo—"Lento, espressivo molto—tempo de danza árabe" (tempo of an Arab dance), confident that this indication would convey the proper atmosphere. Granados did not perform the work often, if at all, and it has been overshadowed by his other compositions. Oriental was composed about 1900—1901 and is dedicated to the composer’s student Juan Marqués.

Douglas Riva

The Complete Piano Works of Enrique Granados is published 2001 by Editorial Boileau, S.A., Barcelona, Spain, in an edition directed by Alicia de Larrocha and compiled by Douglas Riva.

Enrique Granados (1867-1916)

Piano Music, Vol.5

Douglas Riva, piano

[1] Azulejos (Mosaic Tiles), DLR VI:3 (Isaac Albéniz, completed by Enrique Granados)

[2] Valse de Concert (Concert Waltz), DLR VII:9

[3] A la pradera (To the Meadow), DLR III:24

Escenas poéticas (Poetic Scenes), DLR V:10

[4] Berceuse (Lullaby), DLR V:10.1

[5] Eva y Walter (Eva and Walter), DLR V:10.2

[6] Danza de la rosa (Dance of the Rose), DLR V:10.3

[7] Recuerdo de países soñados (Memories of Distant Lands), DLR V:10.4

[8] El ángel de los claustros (The Angel in the Cloister), DLR V:10.5

[9] Canción de Margarita (Margarita’s Song), DLR V:10.6

[10] Sueños del poeta (The Poet’s Dream), DLR V:10.7

[11] Fantasia—Cheherezada (Fantasy—Sheherezade), DLR V:11 (first recording)

[12] Arabesca (Arabesque), DLR III:16 (first recording)

[13] Canción árabe (Arab Song), DLR III:14

[14] Moresque, DLR III:13

[15] Canción morisca (Moorish Song), DLR III:15 (first recording)

[16] Oriental—Canción variada, Intermedio, Final

(Oriental--Theme with variations, Intermezzo, Finale), DLR I:5


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