Composer of the Month: Enrique Granados

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In our last blog featuring Igor Stravinsky, we learned about this brilliant Russian composer and we spent some time appreciating his life, his works, and his legacy. In this month’s edition of “The Composer of the Month,” we’re going to take a deeper look at the life and musical genius of Spanish composer Enrique Granados. This musician, composer, and artist is known around the world for his tributes to Spanish nationalism and his incorporation of Spanish culture. Continue reading to learn more about this talented composer and musician.

Early Life

Enrique Granados Campina was born in Lleida, Spain to Calixto Granados and Enriqueta Campina. When he was younger, Enrique studied piano in Barcelona under Francisco Jurnet and Joan Baptiste Pujol. When he was 20, he went to Paris to study further and continued to gain more and more skill and ability as a pianist and composer. Upon his return to Spain, Enrique gained the attention of King Alfonso XIII with some of his first successful pieces including the opera Maria del Carmen.

Works and Influence

In 1911, Granados premiered Goyescas, a suite for piano which would end up becoming his most famous work and was based on six paintings done by Francisco Goya. This work was so successful that he was encouraged to expand it and eventually wrote an opera on the subject. Granados wrote piano music, chamber music, operas, zarzuelas, poems, and more. Many of his works have been transcribed for the classical guitar and are some of the most well-known Spanish classical compositions.
 

Untimely Death

Due to all of his commercial success, Granados was also invited to perform a piano recital for American President Woodrow Wilson. It was actually this trip to The States that was partially to blame for his untimely death in 1916. Due to the fact that he missed his boat back to Spain, he took a ship to England and was able to then board a boat to France. However, the boat was torpedoed by a German U-boat and Granados and his wife did not survive.

Though Enrique Granados’ life was cut short, his works and legacy will live on forever. His classical and romantic-style pieces and his works based on Goya’s paintings have inspired many young musicians and composers and we forever have him to thank for the mark he’s left on Classical Spanish music.

If you’re ready to start your own musical journey and you’d love to learn from some of the best musicians and music teachers in the Bay Area, contact The California Conservatory of Music to start your music lessons now!