Granados’ Tonadillas: Perquet & Goya

Photo credit: Detail of (The White) Duchess of Alba, Goya, 1795

Dear Readers, you might think the YouTube at the bottom doesn’t have anything to do with Granados.  It does!  And it’s another good bit of advice first seen on Ms. DiDonato’s blog.

Fernando Periquet, librettist
Fernando Periquet was purported to be a so-so journalist, owner of the newspaper El liberal, and self-proclaimed Man Who Knew Everything About Goya.

Curiously, not much is known about Perquet. His intense involvement with the works of the painter Goya is the important thing to know because it affected Granados thusly: Without Periquet we wouldn’t have Granados’ opera, Goyescas, and possibly not these tonadillas.  Certainly not in their present form.  Why not?  Ah! Do your own homework, Possums!  😉

Perhaps one has to be Spanish to understand the tremendous, continuing effect of Goya on Spanish life.  Also to be considered are the politics of Goya’s time, and what was happening simultaneously in France (very close to Spain), and America.

Referring to the previous post on Granados, understand that majo and maja were used in Goya’s time.  Wonder why Granados used them… After all, they don’t appear in Bizet’s opera Carmen… Perhaps because Bizet was French and wrote his “Spanish” music after visiting a French music library to collect a few Spanish folk music themes?

Here’s a quote, purported to be by Granados to the press when he was in New York City for the Metropolitan Opera premier of his opera Goyescas. It should help pull things together:

For you, like so many other people… know nothing about the real musical contributions of Spain.  The musical interpretation of Spain is not found in tawdry boleros and habaneras, in Moszkowski, in Carmen, in anything that has sharp dance rhythms accompanied by tambourines or castanets.  The music of my country is far more complex, more poetic and subtle.”   Enrique Granados, 2006, by Walter A. Clark

Now watch that YouTube video, which perhaps explains why yours truly writes to encourage each Gentle Reader to do their own digging into a subject.    😉


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