Pantaléon Enrique Costanzo Granados y Campiña was an eminent neo-romantic Spanish composer. As a brilliant composer and pianist of classical music, he is often hailed as one of the most influential representatives of musical nationalism. He was also a talented painter in the style of Goya. He modeled much of his music on his country's folk-idiom during his short but glittering career. Following the footsteps of Chopin, Granados remained dedicated almost exclusively to the piano throughout his life. Often referred to as "the Spanish Chopin", his music truly exudes a Chopinesque passion and tenderness. Granados' crowning achievement was his suite "Goyescas", which he composed around 1914 in which the influence of the paintings of Francisco Goya is quite evident. Francisco Goya was a great painter for whose work Granados bore lifelong love. Quite regrettably, this gifted composer could create very little in his lifetime as he passed way in an unfortunate accident.
Enrique Granados’ Childhood And Early Life
Born in Lleida, Spain, on July 27, 1867, Enrique Granados was the son of Calixto Granados, a Cube born Spanish army captain, and Enriqueta Campiña. During his childhood, his family moved to Barcelona where he studied piano. In Barcelona, he learned music from prominent artists like Francisco Jurnet and Joan Baptista Pujol. In 1887, he left for Paris to study. Though his aspirations of becoming a student at the Paris Conservatoire was thwarted, yet he managed to take private lessons with one of the professor’s at the conservatoire, Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot, whose mother, the famed soprano Maria Malibran, was also of Spanish ancestry. Bériot insistence on the refinement in tone production had an immense influence on Granados’s own teaching of pedal technique. Under the tutelage Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot, Granados's talents in improvisation were greatly fostered. His studies with Felip Pedrell also played a key role in polishing Granados’s musical talents. In the year 1889, he returned to Barcelona to pursue a career as a performing composer.
After arriving in Barcelona, he performed many chamber music concerts with close friends such as, Pau Casals, Jacques Thibaud, Mathieu Crickboom, Emil von Sauer and Camille Saint-Saens. During 1895-98, several of his stage works including Miel de Alcarria were premiered. Though Enrique gave his first Spanish performance of the Grieg piano concerto in 1892, he tasted successes for the first time by the end of 1890s, with the zarzuela Maria Del Carmen, which even attracted the attention of King Alfonso XIII. Granados founded and directed concert society in Barcelona in 1900, called the Sociedad de Conciertos Clásicos, which didn’t last very long. Together with Pedrell, Granados founded the Granados Academy, a school for teaching the art of piano playing in 1901 and directed the academy until his death. However, later, the academy was taken over, and was renamed after his most famous pupil and friend Frank Marshall, who was a teacher of Alicia de Larrocha. Enrique Granados premiered his suite for piano ‘Goyescas’ in the year 1911, and this work much acclaimed and became one of his masterpieces. It is a set of six pieces based on paintings of Goya. Overwhelmed by the grand success of this work he decided to expand it. In 1914, he in fact, wrote an opera based on the subject. Regrettably in the wake of the outbreak of World War I, the European premiere had to be canceled. Around a couple of years later, it was performed for the first time in New York City on January 28, 1916, which earned him many admirers. He was invited to perform a piano recital for President Woodrow Wilson shortly afterwards. Just before leaving New York, Granados made live-recorded player piano music rolls for the New-York-based Aeolian Company's "Duo-Art" system, all of which survive and can be found there in the archives even today. It turned out be his very last recordings.
Very little is known about Enrique Granados’s personal life. The name of his wife was Amparo. They had six children namely Eduard who was a musician, Solita, Enric who became a swimming champion, Víctor, Natàlia, and Francesc.
Due to the recital invitation for the President Woodrow Wilson, Enrique missed his boat back to Spain. Consequently he had to take a ship to England, where he boarded the passenger ferry Sussex for Dieppe, France. On their way across the English Channel, the Sussex was torpedoed by a German U-boat, as part of the German policy of unrestricted submarine warfare during the First World War. When Granados saw his wife Amparo, foundering there in the sea at some distance, he jumped out of his lifeboat, and was drowned. Throughout his entire life, Granados harbored a morbid fear of water. It was his first-ever series of ocean voyages. In fact, later, the ship broke in two parts and only one of it sank with all the 80 passengers. The other part of the ship, where his cabin lied, however, did not sink and was finally towed to port. Most of its passengers were there alive on board.
- 12 danzas españolas,1890
- María del Carmen,1898
- Allegro de concierto, 1903
- Dante, symphonic poem, 1908
- Goyescas, 1911
- Bocetos, 1912