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Enrique GRANADOS [y Campiña] (1867 - 1916)
Escenas Románticas, DLR V:7 (1904) [24.33]
Valses Poéticos, DLR VII:8 (1894) [14.23]
Allegro de Concierto, DLR V:8 (1903) [8.15]
Domenico SCARLATTI (1685 - 1759)

26 Keyboard Sonatas (transcribed by Granados as DLR VI:1); "VI" K540 [2.21]; "IX" K190 [4.54]; "XVIII" K547 [2.40]
Uta Weyand, piano
Recorded at Schlossbergsaal des SWR Studios, Freiberg, Germany. 10 January 2003
Notes in Castellano, English, and Deutsch. Small portrait of the artist.
HÄNSSLER CD 98.414 [48.51]

Comparison Recordings:
Granados: Escenas Romanticas, Alicia De Larrocha RCA BMG 82876 53351 2
Granados: Allegro de Concierto, Alicia De Larrocha Decca 410 288-2
Scarlatti: Keyboard Sonatas. Clara Haskil Philips "GPOC" 464 018-2

This disk could be subtitled "Granados meets Liszt in 1884." Pianist Weyand makes the music small, emphasises its introspection, its "salon" character and romantic sentiment, dare we say religious sentimentality (track 1). One might not have imagined that this was possible, but here it is. And the music responds to this treatment by revealing delicious and previously hidden resources, as great music would be expected to do. Granados was in his teens when Liszt was writing his late music and it is not inconceivable that at one time in his life he felt an identification with the older composer. Musicologists have been systematically underestimating Liszt and his influence of for 130 years. But in his later years, Granados consciously tried to imitate Schumann whom he had always admired greatly.

In this comparison, De Larrocha (who has catalogued and published Granados’ complete works with her own "DLR" numbers) makes Granados bright, extroverted, colourful, propulsive, more reminiscent of Schumann, whom he admired and consciously imitated. De Larrocha plays with deep poetry but always keeps the music moving forward and is never far from the feeling of dancing; all this playing the same notes. This must be more what Granados — at least the older Granados — had in mind as De Larrocha was his pupil. And all of this all the better the longer she plays it, her more recent recordings being in general better than her earlier versions.

Pianist Weyand is from Freiburg, Germany, but has studied in, and currently teaches in, Madrid. De Larrocha is from Barcelona and studied with Granados there. Those of us who have been sensitised by the growing Catalonian nationality movement (Pablo Casals speaking before the United Nations declared that "Catalonia is the greatest nation in the world!") know there is no love between Madrid and Barcelona, and Iberian musicians can be counted on to divide themselves into the De Larrocha and Weyand schools with the space between uninhabited and uninhabitable.

In Granados’s publication Ventiseis Sonatas Inéditas, supposedly based on an old manuscript, now "lost(?)," of keyboard sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, only two, numbers ten and thirteen, are not known from other sources. Hence Ralph Kirkpatrick does not consider those two to be authenticated and did not assign them numbers in his catalogue. They may not be by Scarlatti, may even be by Granados himself, since a number of composers of that period tended to pass off their own works as "discoveries" of works by older composers. Pianist Weyand avoids controversy by playing three of the authenticated works in Granados’s free transcriptions, but I wish she’d played the unauthenticated ones for curiosity’s sake.

And, as with the Granados, Weyand plays the Scarlatti the way Liszt would have played it, certainly immune from late 20th century attempts at authentic eighteenth century style, as brilliantly accomplished by, among others, Clara Haskil. Yet Weyand’s piano tone is clear and bell-like (track 10), never slurred or smeared out like, for instance, Pletnev.

Weyand plays the Allegro de Concierto with a great deal more pedal and rubato than De Larrocha and manages to make it resemble a hypothetical finale to Liszt’s Années de Pélèrinage.

Granados is a generally unknown composer. While his piano works are now becoming familiar (especially the Valse Poético #2, track 12), mostly due to Alicia De Larrocha, his many orchestral and operatic works are much less often heard, his tone poem Dante having just been recorded for the first time.

Paul Shoemaker

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