Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Score survives fire and water

In 1898, the Spanish composer Enrique Granados introduced his opera “Maria del Carmen” to high praise in Madrid. In 1916, he took the score to New York, hoping to interest the Metropolitan Opera, without success.

Returning to Europe on an English ship, Granados and his wife died when the vessel was torpedoed by a German submarine. The score of “Maria del Carmen” survived.

Two decades later, it returned to New York, sold by the composer’s son to help finance Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War. Other members of the family wanted the score returned, and the question of ownership wound up in the courts. The legal battle ended in 1970, when the manuscript was believed lost in a fire.

Enter Walter Clark, a music professor at the University of California, Riverside, and biographer of Granados. Not convinced that the score had been destroyed, Clark commenced a hunt for the lost work. The manuscript was found in 2009, and acquired by the university. Now, it is being prepared for publication and a recording.

The remarkable tale is told in this report from Science Daily:


(via ArtsJournal, www.artsjournal.com)

In addition to boasting one of the great mustaches of music history, Granados (or his copyist) had splendid penmanship, a sample of which can be seen in the linked article.