Music Enrique Granados
Teresa Cascudo, Jaume Carbonell-Guberna
  • LAST REVIEWED: 26 May 2022
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 May 2022
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199757824-0314


Enrique (Enric in Catalan) Granados Campiña (b. 1867–d. 1916), recognized as one of the leading Spanish composers of the Belle Époque, best known for his piano suite Los majos enamorados (The majos in love) or Goyescas (1909–1910). The pianist Juan Bautista Pujol (b. 1835–d. 1898) was Granados’s teacher in Barcelona. He also had Felipe Pedrell (b. 1841–d. 1922) as a harmony and composition private tutor. Granados’s studies took him in 1887 to Paris, where he became a private pupil of Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot (b. 1833–d. 1914), who had a significant influence on his piano style. Granados returned to Barcelona in 1889, where he built his family home and achieved professional stability as a pianist, composer, and teacher. His first artistic successes were due to his activity as a composer-pianist. In the late 1890s, he also achieved relative success on the theatrical stage with María del Carmen, a rural drama that premiered at the Teatro Parish in Madrid in 1898. Cultural Spanish nationalism remained a constant reference point throughout his career. Nevertheless, his music should not come down to this aspect. A curious personality and a keen reader, he was open to many influences. He embraced Wagnerism, the principle of correspondence between the arts and a romantic conception of poetic music that underwent a renewal at the end of the 19th century, hence his fruitful relationship with Catalan modernism. His tragic and unexpected death, when a German torpedo sank the ship on which he was traveling back from New York, prematurely broke the international launch of his career. On the one hand, research into the life and music of Granados has been shaped for decades by the weight of personal impressions recollected in early assessments and by his lack of concern for his posterity, understandable given his premature death. On the other hand, his compositions have sometimes been appraised in conformity with formalist, aesthetic, or ideological assumptions that were alien to his artistic world. Publications on Granados prior to the scholarly research by Douglas Riva and Carol A. Hess should be used with caution. The main characteristics of the more recent publications on his life and musical work are the discovery and systematic use of newly available documentary sources and the growth of performance studies and artistic research applied to the analysis of his piano music.

General Overviews

The general overviews of Spanish music include monographs by English-speaking Hispanists, such as the authors of Chase 1959 and Livermore 1972. They introduced Granados’s figure in a favorable light, reinforced in individual papers such as Livermore 1946. Aviñoa 1985 provided in Catalan an outstanding contribution to the understanding of the Barcelona musical context in which Granados developed most of his career, connecting the active musical life of the city with the modernist movement. Aviñoa 2000 offers an even broader perspective of Catalan musical life. Other sources such as Lamaña 1927 can complement Aviñoa’s synthesis. More recently, Cascudo 2018 continues the path opened by Aviñoa, placing Granados in the context of the Spanish fin-de-siècle and cultural nationalism. Alonso, et al. 2010 is the best introduction to this topic from the point of view of musical composition. Given that Granados was first and foremost a pianist, his musical work and his facet as an instrumentalist and teacher should be contextualized in the light of Bergadá 1997 and Marín Cos 2017.

  • Alonso, Celsa, Julio Arce, Teresa Fraile, et al., eds. Creación musical, cultura popular y construcción nacional en la España contemporánea. Madrid: Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales, 2010.

    Alonso’s extended essay, which constitutes Part 1 of this volume, surveys Spanish musical nationalism, focusing on the period that spans Granados’s lifetime. The author makes an in-depth synthesis. She explores the articulation between music and the social circumstances that conditioned the construction of the liberal state in 19th-century Spain, extending her analysis to the 20th century and Franco’s regime.

  • Aviñoa, Xosé. La Música i el Modernisme. Barcelona: Curial, 1985.

    A reference book that studies musical Catalan modernism in all its manifestations. Thus, it is fundamental for understanding the environment in which Granados developed musically and the context of his piano school. Pays particular attention to the foundations and transformations of Catalan lyric theater, in which the composer played a significant role together with Apel·les Mestres.

  • Aviñoa, Xosé. Historia de la Música Catalana, Valenciana i Balear. 10 vols. Barcelona: Edicions 62, 2000.

    This ten-volume work rethinks Catalan musical history. The author often refers to Granados as a protagonist of Barcelona’s musical life, a composer (Vol. 3, Del Romanticisme al Nacionalisme. Segle XIX), and a pianist and pedagogue (Vol. 4, Del Noucentisme a la Guerra Civil). It considers Granados as one of the most important names in the Catalan piano school in all these facets.

  • Bergadá, Montserrat. “Les pianistes catalans à Paris entre 1875 et 1925.” PhD diss., Université de Tours, 1997.

    The author describes how Catalan pianists eventually found their way into the French musical life and professional networks. The case of Granados, who studied in Paris between 1887 and 1889, is analyzed in the context of this migratory phenomenon.

  • Cascudo, Teresa. “Perspectivas modernistas del fin de siglo.” In Historia de la Música en España: El siglo XIX. Edited by Juan José Carreras, 664–719. Madrid: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2018.

    Overview of fin-de-siècle art music in Spain in the context of global cultural modernism. The updating of romantic poetics, the autonomy of art, nostalgia, or the distinction from mass culture are connected to this movement and, particularly, to Granados’s music. This chapter surveys his career and musical life in Barcelona at the time.

  • Chase, Gilbert. “Albéniz and Granados.” In The Music of Spain. By Gilbert Chase, 150–165. New York: Dover, 1959.

    Synthesis of the image of Granados as a “romantic” composer associated with a single work of true importance and projection: Goyescas. Follows closely the theses of, respectively, Subirá 1926 and Newman 1917, both cited under Early Critical Assessments.

  • Lamaña, Luis. Barcelona filarmónica: La evolución musical de 1875 a 1925. Barcelona: Imprenta Elzeviriana, Librería Camí, 1927.

    First approach to the musical life in Barcelona in the period that spans Granados’s lifetime. The author reviews opera venues, symphonic music, musical organizations and institutions, choral, piano and chamber music, and festivals.

  • Livermore, Ann. “Granados and the Nineteenth Century in Spain.” Musical Review 7 (1946): 80–88.

    The author highlights the historical difficulties faced by the musicians of Granados’s generation and places a very positive value on compositional elements often considered secondary. Furthermore, it reproduces the idea of linking Granados’s unique artistic personality and lyricism with his family’s Northern and Atlantic roots and emphasizes the originality of rhythm and melody in his music

  • Livermore, Ann. A Short History of Spanish Music. London: Duckworth, 1972.

    Overview of Spanish music from the Middle Ages. Granados is included in a chapter entitled “Spanish Music with Vistas Towards Europe,” although there are remarks on him and on some of his works in other sections of the book. The author avoids subjective comments contained in Livermore 1946. She underlines the “schumannesque” character of Granados’s vocal and chamber works. Brief remarks on María del Carmen, on his Catalan theatrical works, and Goyescas.

  • Marín Cos, Estel. “L’ensenyament del piano a Barcelona, 1850–1901.” PhD diss., Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 2017.

    Analyzes the curricula, methods, and repertoires used in the city’s leading piano schools. Suggests the foundation of the Granados Academy in 1901 was a turning point in piano teaching in Barcelona. Outlines the formative path of musicians such as Granados himself, Viñes, and Malats.

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