Spanish Paintings Explored through Music

On WCRB's CD of the Week, pianist Xiayin Wang finds a deep connection with the colorful music of Granados, whose "Goyescas" are the result of a passionate obsession with the paintings of Goya.

There are some famous pictures of composers working in their self-made cabins set in the midst of breathtaking landscapes: Mahler in his hut in the mountains of Austria; Grieg in his cabin, perched on a lake in Norway; and Enrique Granados, who worked in a little shed in a Spanish field, windows open to the perfumed air, taking in the intoxicating scent of fruit and flowers.

Granados at his composing cabin "La Tartanita" at Vilassar de Mar
Credit Archive of the Museum of Music of Barcelona

From 1911 to 1913, Granados created a suite of piano pieces that combined his passions for the sensuality of the Spanish landscape with the luminous paintings of Francisco Goya. He'd become so possessed with Goya's work that he'd taken up painting himself – in the very style of Goya. When he finished the suite, he said he'd written "great flights of imagination and difficulty."

Pianist Xiayin Wang has made several recordings that show her affinity for kaleidoscopically rich and colorful music – music of Scriabin, Ginastera, and Danielpour all stand out. Now, she handles Goyescas with mastery and love, capturing the glistening effects and layered voices that are such a challenge in this music. The result is magical. 

The two books of Goyescas are here, along with the stamping dance Zapateado, Eight Poetic Waltzes, and an Allegro de Concierto from 1903.

Watch a trailer for the album:

For more information and to purchase this recording, visit ArkivMusic.

Track listing:
1-6. Goyescas
7. Zapateado
8-17. Ochos Valses Poéticos
18. Allegro de Concierto