Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Descúbrase El Pensamiento (Granados)

This is the first of Granados' Canciones Amatorias, Descúbrase el pensamiento, beautifully sung by Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.

There is an excellent recording by Bernarda Fink available that includes all the songs. The songs are suitable for a soprano with good low notes or mezzos with a strong upper range.

These pieces are not done as often as the Tonadillas but include some of his finest writing. The folklike melodies are combined with challenging piano and vocal writing and rich harmonies with frequent modulations to distant keys, especially in this first song. The pieces should be done more often. The end is especially daring harmonically!

Descúbrase el pensamiento
Poet: Anoymous
Music by Enrique Granados 1867- 1916

Discover the thought
of my well guarded secret,
and reveal my anguish,
my passionate life.
My passion is not new;
I've already suffered endlessly.
I am servant to a lady
who has forgotten my servitude.
Her beauty made me hers,
Her polished gesture,
is engraved in my soul.
Ah! Woe is me
who gazed on her
only to live in injury,
to weep and lament
glories of times gone by.
Ah! She has forgotten my servitude.

Translated by Milagro Vargas


  1. This song is so beautiful. I love how dramatic nature of the music. I especially enjoy the way the piano functioned with pianistic and guitar elements throughout the accompaniment. The folk melody is a clear base for the song, but the “cadenza,” at the end has all the virtuosic nuances of an operatic aria.

  2. This is one of the more operatic pieces I've heard from the Spanish repetoire. The folk basis for the melody is still there, but the setting of the melody is incredibly virtuosic, in both voice and piano. This piece doesn't strike me as being overwhelmingly Spanish the way the de Falla did, but the nationality of this piece comes through in subtle moments throughout the piece: a guitar-like rhythm in the piano, or a rapid-fire turn in the melody.

  3. For some reason, this song for me is reminiscent of Brahms but with a Spanish element, one that seems more moderate in flavor or energetic outwardness as compared to de Falla's music. Part of that might be the strophic nature. Another aspect is occasional lingering in the bass as well as certain double notes in the piano that remind me of Brahms' expressive late period writing. In some ways, it sounds like it is emotionally held back at times while still being quite expressive.

  4. I hear so much of a sense of wandering in this piano part by Granados. It sounds like it could be from another part of the German repertoire that we studied, in terms of the tonality, but the ornaments in the vocal line and piano part set it distinctly in the Spanish repertoire.

  5. Somehow the piano part doesn't sound very Spanish to me, unless I pay attention to the ornaments. The song sounds very improvisatory to me - I tried to figure out the meter but failed... This song is just so beautiful.

  6. When I first listened to this piece, I was surprised by the pianistic quality of the accompaniment, expecting more of an overt guitar-like texture. But the more I listened to it, the guitar-influenced textures became clear. Granados deftly alternates between single note countermelodies, two- and three-part textures, and broken arpeggiations typical of guitar music, but makes it sound so natural on the piano.