Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Century-old music mystery solved: Long-lost opera by Spanish composer Enrique Granados located

Date:
March 3, 2014
Source:
University of California, Riverside
Summary:
A graduate student stumbled upon a mystery that would haunt him for more than two decades: What happened to an unpublished opera written by Enrique Granados, one of Spain’s greatest composers, at the turn of the 20th century?

Walter Clark searched for two decades for the original version of the opera "Maria del Carmen."
Credit: Opera is by Enrique Granados

Walter Clark was a graduate student researching his dissertation when he stumbled upon a mystery that would haunt him for more than two decades: What happened to an unpublished opera written by Enrique Granados, one of Spain's greatest composers, at the turn of the 20th century?

The answer would elude Clark -- now a professor of music and director of The Center for Iberian and Latin American Music at the University of California, Riverside -- until 2009, a tale as riveting as the plot of any opera, with the three-volume "Maria del Carmen" surviving a torpedo attack, economic collapse in Spain, and a warehouse fire in New York.

"I have been a lover of Granados' music since I was a teenager and have played some of it," Clark said. "'Maria del Carmen' is beautiful music, inspired by the folk music of the Spanish countryside." Although Granados is best-known as a composer and pianist, Clark said his work is easily arranged for performance by guitar, which the UCR scholar plays.

Granados, born in 1867, composed "Maria del Carmen" in 1898, the year Spain and the United States went to war. It premiered in Madrid to such acclaim that Queen Maria Cristina awarded Granados the Charles III Cross for his work. The opera -- a love triangle set in a Spanish village in the region of Murcia -- was later revised for subsequent productions, but was never performed in its original version again.

As Clark began his research for a 2006 biography of Granados -- "Enrique Granados: Poet of the Piano" (Oxford University Press) -- he discovered family letters and other documents that helped piece together part of the story. book cover

In January 1916, Granados and his wife, Amparo, left their six children in Barcelona and boarded a ship for the United States, where the New York Metropolitan Opera was scheduled to premiere another of the composer's operas, "Goyescas." Hoping to interest the Met in performing "Maria del Carmen" as well, Granados took his only copy of the opera with him. The Met declined his offer.

Granados and his wife delayed their scheduled to return to Spain when President Woodrow Wilson requested a performance at the White House. As a result, they missed their ship sailing directly to Spain and boarded a later ship bound first for England, then France.

The couple survived the Atlantic crossing. But they drowned in the English Channel, within sight of the French coast, when a German submarine fired a torpedo, blowing off the bow of their boat. Most of the other passengers -- and the opera -- survived. After the couple's belongings were returned to their home in Barcelona, the opera was revised and occasionally produced, Clark said.

In 1938, one of Granados' sons sold the original opera to a prominent New York musician and publisher for $300 to raise money for the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War. Other family members wanted it returned. The question of ownership remained the subject of litigation for decades until 1970 when the opera was reported destroyed in a warehouse fire in New York.

"I wondered if it was really destroyed," Clark said. "No one had done a proper inventory after the fire. When I was researching my book I contacted the grandson of the man who had purchased 'Maria,' and he kept looking."

Finally, in fall 2009, Clark received word that all three volumes had been found. With funding provided by Special Collections & University Archives of the UCR Libraries, American pianist Douglas Riva and himself, Clark eventually traveled to New York to acquire the composition.

Special Collections staff oversaw restoration of the opera, which had sustained smoke and water damage, and scanned the repaired pages, making publication of the opera in Spain possible.

"No one has heard this performed since 1899," Clark said. "It is being published now by Tritσ, the same company that will record it. It will be performed in various places in Spain next year, and I will be there. This is a 20-year detective story with a happy ending."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, Riverside. The original article was written by Bettye Miller. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California, Riverside. "Century-old music mystery solved: Long-lost opera by Spanish composer Enrique Granados located." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303143255.htm>.
University of California, Riverside. (2014, March 3). Century-old music mystery solved: Long-lost opera by Spanish composer Enrique Granados located. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303143255.htm
University of California, Riverside. "Century-old music mystery solved: Long-lost opera by Spanish composer Enrique Granados located." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303143255.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins