Enric Granados was one of the most important musicians in Spain at the turn of the century. The word ‘music’ in his case embraces the three areas in which he excelled and which made him such an outstanding all-round artist: playing, composition and teaching.
As a player he won Europe-wide admiration; as a composer he was christened with the name ‘the Spanish Grieg’ and his Goyescas piano suites travelled the world; and as a teacher he left an indelible imprint on piano teaching in Catalonia with the creation of the Granados Academy and the publication of piano-playing exercises that were pioneers in Spain.
Granados was born in Lleida in 1867 and studied piano in Barcelona as a young man. At the age of 20 he moved to Paris where he worked with musicians such as Fauré, Debussy, Ravel and Saint-Saëns. Back home, he established himself as the greatest pianist of his era. He composed a considerable number of pieces for the piano, the theatre, symphony orchestras, lieder and chamber music, and as a teacher he founded the Granados Academy (after Marshall) in 1901 from which dozens of students have gone on to become acclaimed performers.
After his studies in Paris (1887-89), Granados settled definitively in Barcelona where he embarked on his professional career, combining performance, composition and teaching. He would soon travel to Madrid in search of greater fortune, but without ever abandoning his roots in Barcelona. During this period he composed two chamber music pieces (the Quintet with Piano Op. 49 and the Trio Op. 50), not with the intention of making himself known at this point but to find a niche among the composers of that time and start winning paid commissions, which very shortly materialized in the form of commissions from musical theatre. The piano score of these two works does not have a particularly Spanish feel but is imbued with passionate romanticism rather than references to popular music or traditions.
Granados and his wife died in 1916 when the ship on which they were coming back from New York sunk, following the premiere of his opera Goyescas and a private recital for US President Woodrow Wilson.
Extract from the book “Notes de Concert” (Concert Notes)
This series of Poetic Waltzes how us music of a clearly romantic inspiration, alternating between melancholic and passionate, and humorous and tender moments, framed between two brilliant and virtuous pieces: the introduction and the conclusion that takes us again to the first waltz, in the manner of an emotional recapitulation of the work.