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Kenneth Keaton
American Record Guide, September 2010

Enrique Granados was, with Albeniz, the outstanding exponent of Spanish nationalism in the late romantic period. Unlike Albeniz, a significant body of his work is not nationalist and sounds more German than Spanish. These two works are part of that group.

That is not a criticism—these are perfectly lovely works, but don’t expect Goyescas. Don’t even expect the Poetic Waltzes, which are more of a meeting of Vienna and Barcelona. These are solidly in the central European tradition; if I heard them blind, I’d have suspected they were late Schumann or possibly early Fauré.

Both works were written in 1894 and published together—the quintet is Op. 49, the trio Op. 50. Both favor the piano over the strings, though not to an annoying degree. That’s not unusual from a virtuoso pianist, and the same could be said of Schumann’s chamber music with piano. There is plenty of contrast among the movements, and each work has a satisfying emotional balance...they are enjoyable.

The playing is superb. The LOM trio (Ligorio, Orpella, and Mor) is a fine group. They are based in Spain and have won an impressive set of awards. They specialize in Spanish music, but not exclusively, and they don’t try to insert a Hispanic accent here where it’s not intended.

The recording closes with the famous Intermezzo (originally from the opera Goyescas) in an arrangement for trio by Cassado. This is the nationalist Granados, though the effect is oddly startling...after two Germanic works.



James Miller
Fanfare, September 2010

Like that of many other composers, Granados’s career can, if one insists, be divided into three periods—in his case, Romantic, nationalist, and Goya-esque (?). These two pieces, among his few works for chamber ensemble, would fall into the Romantic (or “neo-Romantic,” as the annotator prefers) category. They do not sound particularly Spanish and establish Granados’s ability to write mainstream European music. The rhapsodic trio is an elegant piece, full of beautiful melodies and clever, imaginative touches. I am happy to have made its acquaintance. The quintet takes a more “serious,” conventional tack and has a nice, showy piano part, reflecting Granados’s skills at the instrument. I don’t expect to hear any better performances in the near future since neither of these pieces is a standard-repertoire item.

The opera Goyescas is based on the earlier piano suite of the same name. The librettist had to fit the words to existing music. It was supposed to receive its premiere in Paris but World War I intervened. Eventually, the Metropolitan Opera stepped in and in 1915 Granados sailed to New York for the first performance (January 1916). Because the Met had trouble making a fast scene change, he dashed off an Intermezzo to fill the necessary time. Ironically, it turned out to be one of his most popular pieces. As a good will gesture, Woodrow Wilson invited him to a reception at the White House, so Granados canceled his ship reservations and took a later sailing. He and his wife arrived safely in Liverpool but then took another ship to the continent. It was torpedoed in the English Channel and the composer and his wife were both drowned. Pablo Casals was a good friend of Granados and Gaspar Cassadó, who arranged the Intermezzo for piano trio, was one of his more successful pupils.



Giv Cornfield
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, May 2010

Here is a fine collection of chamber music that American concertgoers are not very likely to hear (unless they travel to the Old Country). This is quintessentially Spanish music, no mistaking the particular Iberian flavour that Granados and his fellow countrymen Albeniz and Turina, for example, manage to impart to this music. The artists—local boys all—play it to the hilt, and are captured in full-bodied audio in a good acoustical setting. The adaptation of the famous Intermezzo from “Goyescas” by the great cellist Gaspar Cassado is especially enjoyable.



David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2010

Having completed the invaluable recording of the piano works by Enrique Granados, Naxos now turn its attention to his seldom heard chamber music. Tragically his life was cut short in the First World War, but he had already taken his place among the three leading Spanish musicians in the 20th century. His chamber music output was modest, both works on this release coming just five years after he had completed his studies in Paris, the piano part pointing to the fact that he was also a virtuoso concert pianist. Neither contained any significant Spanish influence, nor did they push forward musical boundaries, and could well have come from the French school of Fauré or Saint-Saëns. Of the two scores the Quintet is the most immediately gripping with its strong opening Allegro, and with five instruments at his disposal he most effectively colours the music. The lightweight central movement is a pure delight, while the final is a vivacious romp. The Trio is also most pleasing, but its thematic content does not have the same quota of memorable moments. Gaspar Cassado’s arrangement for piano trio of the Intermezzo from the opera, Goyescas, makes a pleasing final track. The Spanish-based LOM Piano Trio, who have a long list of competition successes, are very persuasive advocates, the string intonation impeccable, with balance always well considered. The two additional players, Manuel Gallego and Joaquin Garcia gel very well into the trio for the performance of the Quintet.






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7:36:12 AM, 2 September 2014
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