Valses poéticos

Enrique Granados

Valses poéticos

H147, DLRvii:8

About this work

Like so many of Enrique Granados' compositions, the Valses poéticos for solo piano, H 147, are impossible to date with any real certainty; however, they have been tentatively assigned to the years 1886 and 1887 -- around the same time that Granados moved from Barcelona to Paris in order to take piano lessons from the Paris Conservatoire's Charles de Beriot (son of the legendary violinist by the same name and teacher also of Maurice Ravel). There are seven wonderfully fragrant waltzes in the Valses poéticos, to which are applied a not insignificant (and utterly un-waltz-like) Vivace molto introduction and, after the seventh waltz, a colorful and clever coda.

Valse No. 1 is marked Melódico and unfolds using the kind of almost ordinary, but actually jarred-just-a little-out-of-alignment harmonies for which Granados is famous and, for some, much beloved; it is written for the most part in just two melodic lines (though the lower one is arpeggiated and thus acts the part of more than one voice), and in the second half of its two-verse design, the bass line takes over the lightly strolling tune for a time. Valse No. 2 is a noble thing in F major, Valse No. 3 a slow (lento) and melancholy counterpart. Things brighten with the arrival of No. 4, a B flat major wisp that Granados marks Allegro humoristico, and that same key carries over into the following number. The high point of the set arrives in the form of a deeply felt F sharp minor Quasi ad libitum (sentimental) No. 6, while its follow-up, No. 7 Vivo, pits hand against hand in a battle of dextrous wits. The coda begins as a spry and, as it begins to roll, rather chromatic 6/8 time Presto/Vivace, but eventually winds down -- much to our surprise -- into a literal and complete reprise of the elegant Valse No. 1.