Segovia Sunday #4: The Maestro Plays Enrique Granados’ ‘Danza Triste’ from ’12 Danzas Españolas’

The great Spanish composer Enrique Granados (1867–1916) wrote his 12 Danzas Españolas for piano in 1890, when he was just 23. The work was divided into four volumes of three pieces, each with a different “dance” feeling, such as Galante, Oriental, Fandango, Rondalla Aragonesa, Zambra, and Arabesca. Not surprisingly, Granados’ work appealed to Segovia, though it appears he only recorded two of the 12 Danzas (three times each): No. 5, Andaluza, and the one featured here, No. 10, Melancólica (also known as Danza Triste, “sad dance”). He first recorded Danza Triste in London in January 1939, then again in New York in January 1944, and a final time in New York in January 1958 (which is the version that pops up most on Segovia compilations).

This video version by the elderly Segovia does not have quite the crispness and precision of that 1958 recording, but it’s still wonderful to see the piece bubble out of him, natural as a refreshing mountain spring. And far from seeming “melancholic,” I find this piece to be quite uplifting and hopeful, but maybe that’s just me.   —Blair Jackson


Here’s Granados’ own peppy version of the piece, taken from a 1913 piano roll he made: