Enrique Granados (1867 – 1916)

July 27, 1867 - Léeida (in Castillian Lérida), Catalonia, Spain
Died: March 24, 1916, at sea

Enrique Granados is a Spanish pianist and composer of classical music.  As a young man Granados studied piano in Barcelona, He went to Paris in 1887 to study with De Beriot and, most importantly, Felipe Pedrell, a composer, musicologist, and passionate champion of Spanish folk music, who introduced Granados to the principles of musical nationalism.

Granados returned to Barcelona in 1889. His first successes were at the end of the 1890's, with the zarzuela Maria del Carmen, which earned the attention of King Alfonso XIII.

In 1911 Enrique Granados premiered his suite for piano Goyescas, which became his most famous work. It is a set of six pieces of highly virtuoso studies based on paintings of Goya. He was later encouraged to expand it by writing an opera of the same title in 1914. The outbreak of World War I had unfortunately interrupted his European premiere to be cancelled. It was performed for the first time in New York City on January 28, 1916, and was very well received.

Granados died of a dramatic death. On his return journey, a delay had caused him to miss his boat back to Spain. Instead, he took a ship to England. On the way across teh English Channel, the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat, as part of the German unrestricted submarine warfare policy during World War I. In a failed attempt to save his wife, whom he saw flailing in the water some distance away, Granados jumped out of his lifeboat, and drowned.

Enrique Granados wrote piano music, chamber music (a piano quintet, music for violin and piano), songs, zarzuelas, and an orchestral tone poem based on Dante's Divine Comedy. Many of his piano compositions have been transcribed for the classical guitar and are generally considered as some of the most beautiful music in the guitar repertoire: examples include Dedicatoria, Danza No. 5, Goyescas.

Enrique Granados is commonly considered to be a representative of musical Nationalism. That is mainly because his music is of a uniquely Spanish style and flavour. Many of his piano compositions have been transcribed for the classical guitar and he was also a talented painter in the style of Goya.

Granados was an important influence on two other important Spanish composers and musicians, Manuel de Falla and Pablo Casals.

~ Written by Boon Sin Ler

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