Few great piano works have fascinated me quite as much as the Goyescas Suite, the masterpiece by Enrique Granados (1867-1916). This extraordinary work immerses us in a rich, complex world, full of contrasting emotions and characters, with an expressive intensity that has always captivated me. Under the title Los majos enamorados (‘The Gallants in Love’), the six pieces that form the Suite transport us, as if in a romantic dream, to the idealised Spain of Francisco de Goya (1746-1828), with its lights and shadows. A few years ago, I had the good fortune to meet members of the Granados family – wonderful people – who encouraged me to enter Granados’ creative world as a musical researcher. I started investigating his manuscripts, including Goyescas. The more I examined the Goyescas manuscripts, facsimile and Granados’ piano rolls, the more thrilling it was to rediscover this work of genius, one as important as Iberia by Albéniz. I saw those sources differed on occasion from the published editions and recordings. That sparked my curiosity, and I started exploring this unique Suite from a compositional point of view. Rather than being just a major piano work in my repertoire, Goyescas became a great personal adventure for me.
…magnificent Granados (Martha Argerich) From 2016 to 2017, José Menor was appointed by the Granados Commission to be the resident pianist at the Enric Granados Auditorium in Lleida, Spain (the composer’s birthplace), for Granados’ double anniversary (1867-1916). Menor opened the commemorations with a televised recital of Goyescas, and then set out on a tour performing Goyescas across the world. Performances followed at Carnegie Hall, the ‘Meet in Beijing’ Arts Festival in China, ‘Progetto Martha Argerich’ in Lugano, and St John’s Smith Square in London, amongst many other venues. José has performed most of Granados’ solo piano works, the complete chamber works (including unpublished ones) and his incomplete piano concerto. He has also reconstructed and performed the second movement of Granados’ incomplete violin sonata. With the help of the Granados family, José has researched music by Granados and his descendants, and has published articles (in Spain and England) on interpreting Goyescas. Recognised as “the great ambassador of Spanish music” (Melómano Magazine) and as a “revolutionary of his instrument” (Hèctor Parra), José Menor is both an acclaimed interpreter of core piano repertoire, and a sought-after performer of new music. His recording of the complete solo piano works of Joan Guinjoan was awarded four stars by Fono Forum Magazine. José’s performance with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) of Albéniz’s ‘Concierto Fantástico’ was highly acclaimed by the international press, and launched premieres across the world. He has appeared with orchestras in Europe, Asia and USA, on television and radio, and maintains a varied schedule as a recitalist and chamber musician.