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Monday, February 20, 2017

Enrique Granados - Orchestral Works Vol. 1 (Pablo González)


Composer: Enrique Granados
  1. Marcha de los vencidos (March of the Defeated)
  2. Torrijos, incidental music: I. Scene I: Prelude and Chorus
  3. Torrijos, incidental music: II. Scene II: Introduction and Chorus
  4. Torrijos, incidental music: III. Scene III: March
  5. Torrijos, incidental music: IV. Scene IV: Molto allegro
  6. Torrijos, incidental music: V. Finale
  7. Suite sobre cantos gallegos: I. Canto de la mañana (Morning Song)
  8. Suite sobre cantos gallegos: II. Allegro moderato
  9. Suite sobre cantos gallegos: III. Morriña (Homesickness)
  10. Suite sobre cantos gallegos: IV. Finale: La fiesta (The Party)

Cor Madrigal (2, 3 & 5)
Barcelona Symphony Orchestra
Pablo González, conductor

Date: 2016
Label: Naxos



Enrique Granados was a victim of the Great War: drowned with his wife in March 1916 after his ferry was torpedoed by a U boat. There’s a sense about his music of promise unfulfilled – not helped by the fact that his piano masterpiece Goyescas has understandably overshadowed his orchestral works. This new Naxos recording is apparently the first in a new series of Granados orchestral discs that should help redress the balance.

Don’t expect castanets and cante jondo, though. The three works on this rather short disc are Romantic nationalism with the emphasis on the Romantic rather than the national. The opening Marcha de los vencidos sets the tone, a sombre ‘March of the Defeated’ whose chromaticism and atmospheric orchestral language hint as much at Bayreuth as at Barcelona.

The incidental music for Fernando Periquet’s historical drama Torrijos makes effective use of a chorus amid its piquant harmonies and martial fanfares, but the Suite sobre cantos gallegos of 1899 is the real discovery: four movements on an expansive scale, treating folk material in a rich, expressive idiom, imaginatively orchestrated. It’s like an Iberian equivalent of Grieg’s Symphonic Dances, and, like all the works on this disc, it’s recorded here for the first time.

Under Pablo González, the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra play with style and evident affection – listen to how freely the oboist phrases the melody at the opening of tr 7. The recording sounds natural, with a wide dynamic range that slightly favours the orchestra over the chorus. Hispanophiles should certainly hear this, though it’ll appeal to anyone who enjoys neglected late Romantic music of the Karłowicz, Alfven or Fibich variety.

-- Richard Bratby, Gramophone

More reviews:
BBC Music Magazine  PERFORMANCE: **** / RECORDING: ****


Enrique Granados (27 July 1867 – 24 March 1916) was a Spanish pianist and composer of classical music. His music is in a uniquely Spanish style and, as such, is representative of musical nationalism. Granados is best known for his compositions for piano such as 12 Spanish Dances and Goyesca, a suite based on Franciso Goya's painting. Granados was an important influence on at least two other important Spanish composers and musicians, Manuel de Falla and Pablo Casals.


Pablo González (born 1975 in Oviedo) is a Spanish conductor. He studied at the Conservatoire in his hometown and in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. González has served as assistant conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, the Spanish National Youth Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Sinfonietta and as principal guest conductor of the Cadaqués Orchestra. He was principal conductor of the Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra from 2010 to 2015.


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