Although overshadowed on the international scene by Manuel de Falla, there were a handful of remarkable Spanish composers during the late Romantic period. In the case of Enrique Granados, sheer circumstance may have affected his reputation as much as his actual talent. Embraced by the public in the early years of the century for his Goyescas, a series of musical sketches of Goya’s paintings, Granados’ growing fame resulted in a commission by the Paris Opéra for a small opera of the same name. However, the first World War intervened, and the originally scheduled premiere never occurred; instead, the first performance took place in New York.
As Granados was in the United States supervising his new production, fate seemed again to work to his benefit – but then turn against him. President Woodrow Wilson asked him to play at the White House shortly before his scheduled departure, and so the composer booked passage home on a different ship. Unfortunately, his journey aboard the SS Sussex ended in disaster when a torpedo struck the ship in the English Channel. Granados died while trying to pull his wife from the water. Ironically, the composer seemed to be headed for better circumstances at the time of his death. His methods were changing, and his sources broadening: shortly before he died, he noted, “I have a world of ideas… I am filled with enthusiasm to work more and more.”
For this program, Mme. de Larrocha has chosen to play "Quejas, o la maya y el ruiseñor" and "El pelele."