Work: Danzas (12) espańolas for Piano, Op. 37: no 5, Andaluza
About This Work
This may be the single most popular piece written by Granados. In its original piano version, it stands out among the 12 works comprising the "Spanish Dances" when appearing on countless recital programs and recordings. But versions for
guitar are as plentiful in both these venues and there are also popular renditions for violin and piano, voice and piano or orchestra, for band, and for other assorted combinations of instruments. Of course, these transcriptions were done by another hand, but many capture the spirit of the piano original nonetheless. That said, none are ultimately quite as effective. The piano is better suited to the colorful thematic material and brilliantly captures the contrasts in mood, from the spiky rhythms of the opening to the nocturnal mystery of the slower version of the main theme. Guitar versions are nearly as convincing, but lack the muscle of the keyboard and in places, sound relatively tame in conveying the rougher edges of this subtly atmospheric and utterly Spanish music. Segovia played the arrangement by Guillermo Gomez, which is also used by many other guitarists who perform the work. Violin/piano versions of Andaluza can often possess as much muscle and atmosphere as the piano original, but out of necessity must add music. David Oistrakh and other violinists played the arrangement by Fritz Kreisler (who undoubtedly also performed it himself) and while it is quite effective, purists will object to any embellishments in this masterful gem. Vocal versions are both the least common and least faithful to the original score. Tito Schipa, a well-known tenor from the first half of the twentieth century, sang his own arrangement of the piece using piano accompaniment and it was a fairly imaginative treatment. Later versions for voice and orchestra tend to both fatten and sweeten the music, if not substantially change its character.
-- Robert Cummings
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