Saturday, March 15, 2008


One of the other books of music I got when I went to the recent Regent non-book sale was Granados Masterpieces: 12 Spanish Dances.
Having been playing the piano now for around 55 years, you get to the point where you think there won’t be any more music coming along that can really make you sit up and do some real work. I’ve become very stale about a lot of music, particularly the piano music I’ve got, (which is perhaps why I’ve had to write some more of my own!), and it’s great to find something that triggers of the musical responses again.
At first I thought the pieces were sight-readable. They are, up to a degree, but they’re also full of little tricks that you don’t expect, and consequently sight-reading them doesn’t really cut the mustard.
The most well known of the dozen is Andaluza, but it’s by no means the only one worth playing in the set. I suspect I’ll get my teeth/fingers into all of them in due course; meanwhile it’s great to have something to play that requires a bit of work, but not so much that you want to give up frequently.
The other thing about them is that most of them have very little in the way of melody or development. Granados takes a phrase or two and works away at it like someone chewing their cud (but rather more artistically). Things don’t actually go anywhere, which is part of his charm and his style, I guess. Curiously enough it reminds me of John Adams, or Reich or some of these other minimalists. I wouldn’t have thought of Granados as a minimalist, but perhaps he’s the forerunner of some of them?
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