ENRIQUE GRANADOS Dedicatoria
In this nostalgic, emotive piece the Spanish composer evokes memories from his childhood in a solo composed for piano and translated for classical guitar
Bridget Mermikides arranges and transcribes a nostalgic and emotive piece originally written for piano but perfectly pitched here for guitar.
In this latest instalment of our classical guitar series we are looking at a work by the Spanish composer and teacher Enrique Granados (1867-1916). Granados was an accomplished pianist who wrote many pieces for the instrument (solo and with a chamber ensemble) as well as orchestral and operatic works. He wrote in a romantic style often imbued with strong Spanish nationalistic characteristics. It’s surprising, then, that he never wrote for the guitar, but his music eventually (through the support of such influential guitarists as Tarrega and Llobet) found a very natural home with the instrument and his work has been an integral part of the classical guitarist’s repertoire for many years. Tragically, Granados lost his life during the First World War. After being invited to perform a piano recital for the then US president Woodrow Wilson, Granados and his wife had to take a ship to England. The ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat and Granados drowned attempting to rescue his wife. They left behind six children and a legacy of beautiful works, especially for the piano and indirectly the guitar.
Here we look at his beautiful solo piano piece Dedicatoria (‘dedication’), the first from his collection of piano works, Cuentos de la Juventud Op 1 (Stories Of Childhood). This contrasting set of piano pieces depicts various childhood memories and scenes and there is something devastatingly nostalgic, simple and expressive about Dedicatoria. This short piano piece has a simple lyrical melody and accompaniment and – originally in F major – translates beautifully to the key of D (drop D) on the guitar, as the Catalonian guitar virtuoso and arranger Miguel Llobet did in the early 20th century. The piece is slow and balladic and falls well on the guitar allowing expressive slides (in bars 2, 4 and 18), however, it involves some quite demanding stretches so do take your time to get familiar with the shapes and warm up before attacking the piece at tempo. There are also some challenges of position shifts and fingerings, which are addressed in the tab and captions. They are all worth the effort, as this short piece is a wonderfully bittersweet addition to any guitarist’s repertoire.
THERE IS SOMETHING DEVASTATINGLY NOSTALGIC, SIMPLE AND EXPRESSIVE ABOUT DEDICATORIA’S SHORT, LYRICAL MELODY
Granados: sadly drowned while trying to save his wife