The label of rare and unpublished repertoires...
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Lydia Jardon, piano



Los requiebros
Coloquio en la reja
Fandango de candil
Quejas o la Maja y el Ruiseñor
El Amor y la Muerte
Epilogo, Serenata del Espectro

Seis Piezas Sobre

Cantos Populares Españoles
Ecos de la Parranda
Marcha oriental

Recorded on 5 and 6 February 1995 at Neumarkt/Opt., Reitstadel
I.L.D. 642199

AR RE-SE 2003-5

Goyescas by Enrique Granados

When a musical work such as the Goyescas is so explicitly related to painting, one is tempted to look before listening. However, the scenes corresponding to the six Goyescas by Granados are not to be found in Goya's paintings. In fact, only one of the Goyescas directly relates to a specific painting: The famous "Pelele" (The Puppet), which Granados used as a model for the opera version later written in New York, as a complement to the suite. For this version the theatrical considerations imposed a dialogue between music and scenery and, hence, also with the painting.

Goyescas are often considered to be inspired by the frescos of the Chapel of San Antonio de la Florida, painted in Madrid in 1797. However, a very lively imagination would be necessary to see the central theme of Goyescas in this holy episode. In fact, around this scene, Goya has arranged a crowd of little characters painted in trompe-l'oeil fashion who are watching the scene from their balconies. They are the people of Madrid who, at the sight of the miracle, demonstrate a wide range of feelings: astonishment, incredulity, devotion, in-difference, fear or hate.

Goyescas might also refer to the famous paintings used as tapestry designs, representing three individual periods; the first two being of the artist's youth, when his inspiration was still fuit of bright cheer and colors, the last representing a much later, darker period in the artist's life. Here again, one could hardly find a link between Granados and these scenes from an increasingly unreal world.

The inspiration for the Goyescas is, therefore, not to be found in Goya's pictures but rather in the common world view shared by the two artists. Granados views his surroundings as Goya would have, only using the tools of a musician in full artistic independence. This view causes him to choose brief, possibly anecdotal scenes which reflect his personal vision of an already ancient Spain -still alive, however, through its spirit and musical forms. These intimate sketches might also recall other places as well, such as Greuze's 18th-century France or Hogarth's England or even unremarkable scenes which German romanticism set to music in its "Lieder".

The sub-title of Goyescas, "Los Majos enamorados" underlines this romantic theme. One encounters very few couples in Goya's works, the sensuality of which is most discreet in comparison to, for instance, the works of 18th-century France. Goya's Spain is still ruled by the rigid traditions inherited from Charles V and his son, Philip II, whereas Granados could address themes which were forbidden during the painter's time. "Los Majos enamorados" should therefore not to be considered an illustration of Goya's works but rather as an original theme treated in Goya's style.

Granados is not a musician oriented to the past ; his inspiration and style show him to be a man of the late 19th or even the early 20th century. Goyescas, written in 1911, carry romantic and post-romantic traits. Like Albeniz, Granados also studied in Europe and composed in Paris, where he became acquainted with Debussy and Ravel.

The Spanish musical style of the last century reflects a search for the picturesque, for colors and strong, contrasting emotions - a fashionable influence which was difficult for an artist of that time to avoid. Here one thinks of composers such as Bizet, Chabrier or Lalo, just to speak of the French school. The Spanish school was, nevertheless, on the decline at that time, more and more contented to simply parody the Italian styles. In the second half of the century traditions were rediscovered by a few pioneers, particularly in the Manifest of 1891 by the Catalan Pedrell. This movement drew its inspiration both from folklore and academic musical studies. Pedrell's works considerably influenced Albeniz, Fall and Granados, who were all at least partly Catalan, as was Pedrell.

While the European's thoughts of Spain traditionally center around Andalusia, the real Spain of Enrique Granados lies elsewhere. This music is less accessible because its sources are grounded in Spanish reality and is therefore less well known outside the Hispanic world. Granados has the ability to express this reality, to fill a work with true human experience, thus complementing the cosmopolitanism of an Albeniz rather than opposing it.

Energy, causticity, grace, sensuality, drama and passion, together with reserve and dignity, are the essential features of Goyescas. Granados proves himself to be a great romanticist in his incorporation of these themes. There are few traces of folklore: Spain only appears through certain forms and rhythms and remains largely hidden to all but those who know it well. Here Granados portrays his very personal lyricism.

The composer himself comments:
"I want to express a personal note in the Goyescas, a mixture of bitterness and grace, whereby none of these movements should prevail through over-inventiveness. Rhythm and color, typical Spanish life in which love and passion occur as suddenly as drama and tragedy - a palette of emotions therefore, such as appear in Goya's works."

Let us now listen to our lovers...

"Los Requiebros"is a gallant and ornate piece that evokes the mannered music of the 18th century. It is based on a Jota, an Aragonian dance of northern Spain - the opposing pole to Andalusia. It breathes improvisation (at which Granados was a master) and yet the changes in the rhythms and colors surround the two themes, one mannered, the other more playful, with a subtle mood.

"Coloquio en la reja" presents a darker atmosphere. While the left hand imitates a guitar, the right plays a song - at once fiery and resigned. We are to learn no more of the background of this song; whether it speaks of a prisoner separated from his love or of a girl being chaperoned by her duenna. The result is the same: a mood of separation.

"Fandango de candil"is a swaying dance of Andalusian origin. Granados uses folkloristic rhythms which, in their harshness and insistence, recall the sounds of guitars and castanets. In the half-shadow of candlelight, a little aside from the dancers, confessions of love and ardent glances are exchanged.

"Quejas o la Maja y el Ruiseñor"is certainly one of the most famous pieces of the Goyescas and one of the composer's most personal and imaginative inspirations. We hear the lament of the maid who has lost her nightingale which merrily answers her at the end of the piece. Behind this story, the transparent composition reveals a fervor of love which, as Granados himself said, is the jealousy of a woman rather than the sorrow of a widow.

"El Amor y la Muerte" is a tragic and throbbing ballad -- "happiness amidst pain" -- as it is suggested in the score. Happy memories, marked by the return of themes from the previous pieces, accompany the lovers' last moments together.

In Spain, life and death are realities more closely related to one another than anywhere else. The last piece, "Serenata del Espectro", in the form of an epilogue, portrays the return of the lover who was killed in a duel and yearns to see his love once more, mouming the love that has died. This faded love disappears quickly in the scratchy tones of a deliberately emotionless guitar.

The cycle is complete : burgeoning love, enforced separation, reunion, jealousy, death, morning. A life.

The Goyescas are supplemented on this CD in a very natural way by six pieces of Spanish folk songs. These pieces center around scenes of daily life in the broadest sense. Through their renunciation these pieces recall, through brilliant, colorful rhythms, a more spontaneous, more exciting Spain, undoubtedly formed by oriental influences which were present in the south for so long. It is the Spain of the fiesta, of the night.

"Añoranza" follows the "Prelude". In the distance the fiesta attracts the lonely : these are the "Ecos de la Parranda", perhaps a country wedding. In coming nearer, one finds the dancers in the "Vascongada". The night becomes darker and, in the rhythm of the "Marcha oriental", the noise increases, surrounding one's fears. This is the "Zambra" which transforms itself into an even louder dance, the "Zapateado", where everyone stamps to the rhythm. Suddenly the night completely obscures this luckless merriment : there will be no new day dawning.

At the beginning of the 20th century Spain was involved in a search for its past greatness. Some of its intellectuals and artists searched for a hopeful sign as well as a ways and means of rediscovering the innermost being of their people. In spite of appearances, this was not a return to the past but rather a setting out into the future which, as we know today, was to develop dramatically over a long period of time. Granados encountered these ideas of his time with love and understanding.

Lydia Jardon

The Press covers it !

« This disk, originally recorded in 1995 and now reissued in a new presentation, went relatively unnoticed on its first appearance. Yet the pianist, Lydia Jardon, laureate of the Fondation Cziffra and the Concours Milosz Magin, gives an ardent interpretation of the six Goyescas and the Six pieces based on Spanish folk songs, composed by Granados around 1910. Beneath her fingers, the flamboyant colours and the delicately etched melodic design take on striking relief (Fandango de candil). With consummate sensual and dramatic art, she succeeds in releasing the full Spanish vigour of these works (Zapateado). Her dedication in no way hinders her capacity to respect the rhythmic vigour (Epilogo, Serenata del espectro) and the range of nuances intended by the composer (Los requiebros, El Amor y la Muerte). A somewhat analytical recording gives immediacy and clarity to the sound without prejudicing the soloist's musical intentions. All the varied conditions of the human comedy found in Goya's canvases take on a dimension that is caustic and passionate by turns, but with the stylistic restraint learned from her teachers Milosz Magin and Hüseyin Sermet. Lydia Jardon is of Catalan extraction, speaks the language of Granados and is perfectly at ease in the very personal lyricism of this world. She does not attempt to imitate the legendary Goyescas of Larocha, nor the austerity of Ciccolini, the excessive imagination of Luisada, the restraint of Del Pueyo or the impressionist poetry of Achucarro in these same pieces. Her mercurial energy is always tempered by a nobility of tone that refuses to descend into pathos and so renders this disk captivating. »

Janvier 2001, Michel Le Naour

« This disk, recorded in 1995, has only been released now, as a follow-up to the pianist’s excellent interpretation of Rachmaninoff’s Second Sonata. It is a pleasure to hear once again the supple, beautiful playing in a repertory dominated by male performers, with the obvious exception of Alicia de Larrocha. And that is indeed who comes to mind when listening to Lydia Jardon, whose Goyescas evoke a comparable array of fragrances. Each piece is approached in a different climate, sometimes more in the spirit of Fauré than that of a pure, futile recounting of Spanish folklore. Quejas o la Maja y el Ruiseñor balances lyricism and confidence with the narration of the epilogue, and the Serenata del Espectro is perfectly controlled. The six (or seven, counting the prelude) Popular Spanish Song Pieces are an intelligent complement to the refinement of the Goyescas. The dances are at once rustic, brilliant and unaffected, interpreted as is, with moreover a quality of recording that brings out their best, so they show two aspects of Granados’ music, which is sometimes mistakenly seen as an epigone of Albeniz. Perhaps Lydia Jardon will continue to explore Spanish music, and maybe even that of South America. The repertory suits her admirably. »

Décembre 2000, Stéphane Friédérich