Centenary of the Death of Enrique Granados (1916-2016)

Centenary of the Death of Enrique Granados (1916-2016)

Commemorations
01 January - 31 December 2016
Enrique Granados (1867–1916) died in on his way back from the United States following the performance of Goyescas at the Metropolitan Opera on 28 January 1916. The passenger ferry in which he was travelling to England, the Sussex, was torpedoed and damaged by a German U-boat. Granados and his wife were drowned. 

To mark the centenary of his death, AC/E is organising an extensive music programme in conjunction with leading music festivals and other cultural organisations in order to disseminate the oeuvre of the brilliant Spanish composer more effectively and in a unified manner. 

 Enrique Granados y Campiña had a Cuban father and a Galician mother. His musical talent became evident during his childhood. He studied elementary theory and practice in his city of birth with José Junceda. When still a boy he moved to Barcelona and enrolled at the school of La Mercé directed by  Francisco Jurnet; he was later taught by Juan Pujol (piano) and Felipe Pedrell (harmony).
He began to give public concerts at the age of ten. In 1887 he moved to Paris, where he studied with Bériot and lived with his pianist friend Ricardo Vinyes. In 1889 he returned to Barcelona, where he performed a memorable concert at the Teatre Liric. In 1892 he secured further success as a concert performer and as a composer with his first three Danzas.
As a pianist he excelled at accompanying great violinists such as Manén, Isaye, Crikboom and Thibaud. He also performed publicly pieces written for two pianos alongside Risler, Saint-Sáens and Malats. He won first prize in one of the first Festes de la Música Catalana; his Allegro de Concierto likewise won an award in a national contest.
 
In 1910 he sent his compositions for piano, entitled Goyescas, to pianist Montoriol Tarrés, who lived in Paris. Tarrés studied the work and was delighted with it. He showed it to others and soon, enlisting the support of Viullermoz, he persuaded the Société Musicale Independante to organise a concert fully devoted to Enrique Granados on 4 April 1914. As a result of this concert, Granados was awarded the Legion of Honour and was commissioned by Rouché, director of the Paris opera, to convert the Goyescas into an opera to be performed in Paris.
 
Enrique Granados set to work and finished the score based on a libretto by F. Periquet; however, the world war broke out and the project could not be feasibly continued. Given this state of affairs, the New York publisher Schirmer, learning of the difficulty, rapidly made a proposal to Granados: he was willing to publish the work and have it performed in New York. Granados accepted and travelled to America with his wife.
The performance of Goyescas at the Metropolitan Opera on 28 January 1916 was a success and Granados was invited by the US president to play at the White House. As a result the composer missed the liner on which he was due to return to Spain. After honouring his commitments, he preferred to travel to England rather than wait for another Spanish boat to depart. At Folkestone he boarded the Sussex, which shortly after setting off was torpedoed and badly damaged by a German submarine. Granados and his wife drowned. The news caused a sensation and posthumous tributes were organised in Barcelona, Lérida, Paris and New York.
As well as the abovementioned works, Granados also composed the following, among others: Bocetos, 12 Danzas españolas, Piezas sobre cantos populares, Valses poéticos, Madrigal, the opera María del Carmen (1898), Follet, Picarol, Liliana (based on texts by Apel·les Mestres), a new series of Danzas españolas, SardanaRapsodia aragonesa, El Pelele and El canto de las estrellas (for piano, choir and organ).
Enrique Granados was also a remarkable teacher: many of the finest Catalan pianists of the day studied at the music academy in Barcelona that bore his name. He was an outstanding performer of Spanish folk music, which he imbued with his keen poetic sense and sharp intuition.  

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