The Gilmore Blog
Published October 24, 2012
One of the most significant pieces of music in Spanish history, Enrique Granados’ Goyescas, will be performed by world-renowned pianist Garrick Ohlsson on November 3.
An incredibly difficult piece to master, Goyescas was composed in 1911 as a tribute to the great Spanish artist Francisco Goya and the enduring charm and culture of Madrid and Castile. It is considered Granados’ crowning achievement and is uniquely suited to Ohlsson’s superb technical skills and execution.
Following the enthusiastic reception of his piano suite in 1911, Granados was encouraged to write an opera of the same name. It premiered in January 1916 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York having been moved there from Paris due to the outbreak of World War I. Granados, along with his wife, sailed to New York for the premiere and was hosted there by numerous artists including Pablo Casals.
Although the opera closed after just five performances, Granados attracted the attention of President Woodrow Wilson who invited the Spanish composer to stay on in the U.S. and perform at the White House. Granados gladly accepted; however extending his stay also necessitated re-booking his return trip to Spain. While sailing aboard the Sussex from England to France, a German U-Boat torpedoed the ship. Both Granados and his wife drowned leaving behind six children and a bright career.
Goyescas lives on as proof of Granados’ musical genius and as one of the greatest expressions of Spanish nationalism in keyboard literature.
Since his triumph as winner of the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition, pianist Garrick Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretative and technical prowess. And, at 6-foot-4, he is a commanding presence at the piano, known for his remarkable keyboard stretch (12 keys in his left hand and 11 in his right).
A native of White Plains, N.Y., Ohlsson began his piano studies at the age of eight attending the Westchester Conservatory of Music. At thirteen he enrolled at The Juilliard School in New York City where his musical development was influenced in completely different ways by a succession of distinguished teachers. It was his 1970 triumph in Warsaw that brought him worldwide recognition as one of the finest pianists of his generation.
Ohlsson was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize in 1994 and received the 1998 University Musical Society Distinguished Artist Award in Ann Arbor.
Ohlsson’s November 3 program also includes works by Brahms and Liszt.