Apuntes Para Mis Obras : Granados's Most Personal Manuscript and What It Reveals

Douglas Riva

The Pierpont Morgan Library in New York holds a sketchbook by Enrique Granados (1867-1916), and it is without doubt one of Granados's most intriguing manuscripts. Apuntes para mis obras (Notes for My Works), the title of the sketch book, contains sketches for the Tonadillas and other works which, along with the piano suite Goyescas and the opera of the same title, are united by the common source of inspiration—the paintings of Francisco Goya (1746-1828). Our understanding of Granados's genius is greatly enhanced by studying this sketchbook.

Apuntes para mis obras is a black leather-grained cloth-bound notebook, measuring 11.5 x 17 cm. In reality it consists of two separate notebooks that are glued together and covered with one outer binding. The first notebook consists of thirty-five pages, and the second, of thirty-six pages of graph paper. Following the cover, the first page of the manuscript states its title. The second page bears a title for the musical sketches that fill the first seventeen pages: Apuntes y temas para Ovillejos (la gallina ciega ) [Notes and Themes for Ovillejos (la gallina ciega )].

Granados did not place a date on any page of Apuntes para mis obras. Since he said that he began Ovillejos in 1900, we may assume that the sketches relating to the opera were written around that time. The Tonadillas, however, were not published until 1912. Consequently, since Apuntes para mis obras contains so many sketches for these songs, it is possible that he continued to write in the notebook during the intervening years.

For many years Apuntes para mis obras was in the private library of the great Italian diva Amelita Galli-Curci (1882-1963). Mme. Galli-Curci enjoyed an overwhelming success in Barcelona during the 1913-1914 and 1914-1915 seasons, where she interpreted leading roles in Lucia di Lammermoor, La Sonnambula, and Il Barbiere di Siviglia, among other operas. Although it is not known precisely how Apuntes para mis obras came into her possession, it is not unreasonable to hypothesize that Granados presented the sketchbook to Mme. Galli-Curci in admiration for her art. However, it is also possible that Granados's son Víctor either gave or sold the manuscript to Mme. Galli-Curci during the period when both were living in California, ca. 1960. Upon Mme. Galli-Curci's death in November of 1963, Apuntes para mis obras came into the possession of her close friend William Seward of New York . Mr. Seward retained the manuscript in his archive until it was acquired by the Pierpont Morgan Library in 1985.

Granados's musical sketches in Apuntes para mis obras include the sketches for Ovillejos-La gallina ciega, and sketches for some of the Tonadillas along with verses to be used as possible texts for them. Curiously, none of his piano works are sketched in the manuscript. Other material includes a paragraph describing the composer's view of his Tonadillas and their origins; pedagogical information; notes on orchestration; drawings in the style of Goya of majas and majos in pencil, ink and pastels; personal information (including measurements for a standing screen and curtains and addresses) and lists of works composed as well as projected works. Some of the charming drawings are titled; others, including a self-portrait, are not.

Granados began drawing early in his life. While a student in Paris, 1887-1889, he sketched regularly with his friend the painter Francesc Miralles (1848-1901). However, for Granados sketching was not merely a student fancy but an activity that he continued as a mature composer. In Apuntes para mis obras Granados drew nine sketches of majas and majos inspired by the art of Goya. Granados's drawings show him to be a skilled amateur artist. There are two drawings titled La maja de paseo (The maja out for a walk), one executed in black ink and the other in black ink colored with yellow, red, and green pastel (figs. 1-2); two titled La maja en el balcón (The maja on the balcony), one done in black ink and the other in black ink, pencil and yellow and red pastel (figs. 3-4; no. 3 also includes a self-portrait and La maja dolorosa); and an untitled black ink drawing of a majo (fig. 5). None of these drawings are related to specific compositions by Granados. However, La maja dolorosa (The sad maja), drawn in black ink, could be related to the inspiration for the three Tonadillas of the same title. Coloquio en la reja (Dialogue through the grill), a drawing in black ink and pencil accented with blue, yellow, and brown pastel (fig. 6), is also the title of the second piece of the piano suite Goyescas.

Fig. 1: Granados, La maja de paseo (The maja out for a walk)
Courtesy of Pierpont Morgan Library, New York

Fig. 2: Granados, La maja de paseo (The maja out for a walk)
Courtesy of Pierpont Morgan Library, New York


Fig. 3: Granados, La maja dolorosa (The sad maja),
self-portrait, and La maja en el balcón (The maja on the balcony)
Courtesy of Pierpont Morgan Library, New York

Fig. 4: Granados, La maja en el balcón (The maja on the balcony)
Courtesy of Pierpont Morgan Library, New York

Fig. 5: Granados, Majo
Courtesy of Pierpont Morgan Library, New York


Fig. 6: El coloquio en la reja (Dialogue through the grill)
Courtesy of Pierpont Morgan Library, New York

Apuntes para mis obras contains one page, which shows evidence that a drawing similarly executed in black ink colored with brown pastel was removed from the manuscript. Perhaps this drawing is one of a maja (in the collection of Antonio Carreras Granados, grandson of the composer).

As a piano teacher, Granados was highly successful. Certainly he devoted a considerable portion of his life to his students. It is not surprising, therefore, that Granados included some of his pedagogical ideas in Apuntes para mis obras. Many musicians and teachers will agree with Granados's “Advice for Students” included in the manuscript : “The most well-known works must be studied first.”1 Granados also described some of the concepts for his piano technique in the manuscript:

Technique is composed of strength, equality and agility.

What contributes to strength?
The position of the body, arm and hand.

What contributes to equality [of the fingers]?
The balance of equal strength in all of the fingers.

What contributes to agility?
The suppression of all useless movement.2

Although Granados's introduction to the works of Goya and his subsequent inspiration by Goya's art are usually attributed to Fernando Periquet (1873-1940), librettist for both the Tonadillas and the opera Goyescas, Granados's first “goyesca” was in fact Ovillejos, an opera with a libretto by José Feliu y Codina (1845-1897). Its subtitle, La gallina ciega (Blind Man's Bluff), is the same as the title of a famous Goya painting. In an interview the composer stated that Ovillejos was begun in 1900 and that he originally wrote El fandango de candil, the third piece of the piano suite Goyescas, for Ovillejos, but due to the librettist's untimely death, the project was dropped.3

The first sketch for Ovillejos appears on the second page of Apuntes para mis obras. The character of the music would indicate that Granados intended that music as an introduction or overture to the opera. Since it is a sketch, the music is scored for piano and not orchestrated. An excerpt from the sketch follows:


Ex. 1: Granados, excerpt from Ovillejos

The following pages include: 1) a scene scored for chorus and piano, 2) fourteen measures of music scored for piano labeled Introducción y intermedio, and 3) other short sketches. Some of this material was later expanded and orchestrated by Granados in a separate and unpublished manuscript titled La gallina ciega, now preserved in the Centre de Documentació Musical, Barcelona.

One of the most interesting aspects of the material relating to Ovillejos found in Apuntes para mis obras is the way in which Granados develops an eight-measure sketch for piano with the text Aunque ya te lo hayan dicho (Although they might have already told you), presented as ex. 2. This example and all remaining examples are complete as they appear in Apuntes para mis obras.

Ex. 2: Granados, sketch for Ovillejos

The initial idea is expanded in ex. 3. Although still scored for piano, in this sketch Granados now indicates his ideas for possible future orchestration by these indications: Cuerda, Ob. Fl. (strings, ob[oe], fl[ute]) and Clar. (clar[inet]).


Ex. 3: Granados, sketch for Ovillejos

The first instrumentación (orchestration) of this material, as labeled by Granados, appears as ex. 4. Note that the melody is taken by the Oboe and Corneta (cornet).

Ex. 4: Granados, sketch for Ovillejos

An alternate instrumentation for the music appears as ex. 5. Notice how in this case Granados assigns the melody to the Cello and Fagot (bassoon).

Ex. 5: Granados, sketch for Ovillejos

Apart from notating his orchestral sketches in Apuntes para mis obras, Granados details some of his ideas for the orchestration as follows:


An expressive melody with oboe and cornet playing piano. Combining the strings, half playing pizzicato, half bowed, against dotted notes in the high register and with mute.

Motives of flute along with strings playing with the mute.

Cornet playing noisily in the high register, F, G, A-flat. With insistence.

Flute playing piano in the middle register, combined with the bassoon in unison, 2 octaves apart.

Clarinet doubling legato and piano a motive with little movement, pizzicato in the strings and harp.

Flute, lyre and strings in the high register.

Violins on the high strings along with the soprano voice and sometimes doubled by a trumpet an octave lower.4

Although a detailed comparison of Granados's ideas for orchestration as notated in Apuntes para mis obras with his completed orchestral works and operas is beyond the scope of this paper, it would be interesting to study how he might have realized these ideas in Ovillejos and other operas such as Follet and María del Carmen and in symphonic works such as Dante, Liliana, Danza de los ojos verdes, Danza gitana, and Suite sobre cantos gallegos.

Without doubt, the Tonadillas are among Granados's greatest works. For Antonio Fernández-Cid, the Tonadillas are “the most perfect achievement, the most mature and refined, the most personal of all [the works] which carry the signature of Enrique Granados.”5

In Apuntes para mis obras, Granados explains something of the importance he attached to his Tonadillas:

[The] collection of Tonadillas [is] written in the classic mode (originals). These Tonadillas [are] originals; they are not those previously known and harmonized. I wanted to create a collection that would serve me as a document for the Goyescas. And it has to be known that with the exceptions of Los requiebros and Las quejas, in no other of my Goyescas do you encounter popular themes. They are written in a popular style, yes, but they are originals.6

In Apuntes para mis obras, Granados compiled a list of Tonadillas he had written up to that time. They were:

  • La maja de Goya
  • El majo discreto
  • El tralalá y el punteado
  • La maja dolorosa (1)
  • La maja dolorosa (2)
  • La maja dolorosa (3)
  • El majo tímido
  • El mirar de la maja

Of the Tonadillas he listed, Apuntes para mis obras contains sketches for five which he later completed: El tralalá y el punteado, La maja dolorosa (1), La maja dolorosa (2), La maja dolorosa (3), El majo tímido, and El mirar de la maja. There are also sketches for two that he never completed, El amor del majo and El garbo, as well as poems and a brief untitled musical sketch that corresponds to Las currutacas modestas.

The sketches for the Tonadilla El tralalá y el punteado are placed by the composer on facing pages. The verses appear on the left-hand page and the score on the right. Granados's verses are as follows:

Si vienes de nadie y solo

Ven pronto y armado
Que los hombres de esta tierra
Son todos muy malos.
Ay tra la la la la la
La la la la la la la
Mira que no te deslices.
Tra la la la la la la
Mira que no te den paliza
porque puede ser que te den.
Tra la la la la la la.

The published version of El tralalá y el punteado contains a totally different text, by Fernando Periquet. Nevertheless, Granados's musical sketch is virtually identical with the published version, lacking only the four-measure introduction found in the published version. Periquet's text follows:

Es en balde, majo mío,
que sigas hablando,
porque hay cosas que contesto
yo siempre cantando.

Por más que preguntes tanto,
en mí no causas quebranto
ni yo he de salir de mi canto.7

The music for La maja dolorosa (No. 1), which is known in the published version as No. 2, differs from the published version only in details of notation. Granados's sketch for the text, which appears in Apuntes para mis obras on the facing page, is quite different from the published version by Periquet. Granados's text for La maja dolorosa (No. 1) is:

Majo de mis amores
que fue de tu vida?

Pobre majo
de mis amores!
Muerte traidora
se me llevó el alma mía
Ay, mi pobre vida!

Periquet's text for the published version of La maja dolorosa (No. 1) follows:

¡Ay majo de mi vida,
no, tú no has muerto!
¿Acaso yo existiese
si fuera eso cierto?

¡Quiero loca
besar tu boca!
Quiero segura
gozar más de tu ventura.

Más ¡ay! Delirio, sueño,
mi majo no existe;
en torno mío el mundo
lloroso está y triste.
¡A mi duelo
no hallo consuelo!
Mas muerto y frío
siempre el majo será mío.

For La maja dolorosa (No. 3) in Apuntes para mis obras , Granados prepared a set-up of staves, clefs, and a key signature of three sharps. However, not one note of music was written. The facing page contains the black ink drawings titled La maja dolorosa, La maja en el balcón , and the untitled self-portrait. On a separate page, above the indication Hecha la letra [Text completed], Granados wrote the following text titled La maja dolorosa (No. 3):

Mi vida triste
Llena de dolor y recuerdos
Se ha resignado .

Y voy llorando
Recordando al bien amado
Y de mi llanto
Voy viviendo ahora sol
En mi dolor.
(Hecha la letra)

In spite of Granados's notation (Hecha la letra), Periquet's text for the published version of La maja dolorosa (No. 3) is completely different:

De aquel majo amante que fue mi gloria
guardo anhelante dichosa memoria.
El me adoraba vehemente y fiel,
yo mi vida entera di a él.
Y otras mil diera si él quisiera,
Que en hondos amores martirios son flores.

Y al recordar mi majo amado
van resurgiendo ensueños
de un tiempo pasado.

Ni en el Mentidero ni en la Florida
majo más majo paseó en la vida.
Bajo el chambergo sus ojos vi
con toda el alma puestos en mí,
que a quien miraban enamoraban,
pues no hallé en el mundo mirar más profundo.

Y al recordar mi majo amado
Van resurgiendo ensueños
de un tiempo pasado.

Granados's sketch for El majo tímido in Apuntes para mis obras is not complete. However, the music, as notated there, does not differ significantly from the final published version, although, as in the case of El tralalá y el punteado, the introduction found in the published version is not present in this manuscript. Granados's text for El majo tímido appears on the page facing the musical sketch in Apuntes para mis obras:

Se de cerca no te veo
que quieres que diga.
No si eres guapo o feo
Acércate, lila.

¡Ay que tímido!
¡Ay que tímido!
No se acerque señor majo
que a mi no me engaña.

No se acerque señor majo
que yo no le quiero.
Si creyó que le esperaba
no es mi pensamiento.
¡Ay que tímido!
¡Ay que tímido!
No se escurra el señor majo
que no le creo.

Periquet's text for the published version of El majo tímido follows:

Llega a mi reja y me mira
por la noche un majo
que en cuanto me ve y suspira
se va calle abajo.

¡Ay, que tío
más tardío!
Si así se pasa la vida
estoy divertida.

Si hoy también pasa y me mira
y no se entusiasma,
pues le suelto este saludo:
Adiós, Don Fantasma.

¡Ay, que tío
más tardío!
Odian las enamoradas
las rejas calladas.

Granados's sketch for another Tonadilla, El mirar de la maja, in Apuntes para mis obras does not differ significantly from the published version. This sketch includes sixteen measures identical to the corresponding measures of the published version. However, there are an additional nine measures, the final measures of the sketch, which lack the piano accompaniment. The text is only hinted at by three brief phrases.

In Apuntes para mis obras, intermingled with sketches for Ovillejos, Granados wrote three measures of music that are not titled or identified in any manner. These three measures, in ex. 6, are clearly a sketch for the Tonadilla, Las currutacas modestas.


Ex. 6: Granados, sketch for Las currutacas modestas

The sketch in ex. 7 for the projected Tonadilla El amor del majo is decidedly similar to a portion of Coloquio en la reja from the piano suite Goyescas.


Ex. 7: Granados, sketch for El amor del majo

Compare the melody of El amor del majo, ex. 7, with ex. 8, from Coloquio en la reja, mm. 166-76.

Ex. 8: Granados, excerpt from Coloquio en la reja, mm. 166-76

The sketch in ex. 9, titled El garbo, however, does not appear to have a relationship to any of Granados's completed works. In the last line of the sketch, Granados indicated the harmonies to be used by the indications: Fa, Si bemol, Sol. Do, Fa, without actually writing the accompaniment.


Ex. 9: Granados, sketch for El garbo

In Apuntes para mis obras, Granados wrote two untitled texts that are not related to specific works. Both of these texts, presented below, appear to be possible texts for other Tonadillas. The first of these is:

Con garbo y con donaire
Va el majo galán
Va el majo galán

 Pasito a paso por la pradera
Va por la pradera

The words of the first line of this text were later used by Granados as an expressive indication in Los requiebros from the piano suite Goyescas: Con garbo y donaire. The second untitled text in Apuntes para mis obras was written upside down:

Los majos que a mi me quieran
han de ser de la sal y pimienta
Por eso lo quiero yo
y yo los quiero tanto.
Por eso los quiero
llamando al portal.

Los llamo y los quiero
con todo mi amor.
¿ Porque no me digan
que soy de rigor?
Y digo que si,
Eso mismo digo yo.

As a whole, Granados's Tonadillas have a melodic grace and a directness of expression that are immediately captivating. The vocal melodies are completely natural and of a simplicity that only the most refined artistic personality could conceive. The piano accompaniment, which frequently imitates the guitar, surrounds the voice, supporting but never overwhelming the exquisite delicacy of the vocal lines. José Subirá believed that in the Tonadillas, Granados's achievement in capturing the spirit of the eighteenth century and transforming it into his own musical language, without loosing any of the original attributes of the era, created an entirely new genre, “un genuíno lied . . . a la española” [A genuine lied . . . in the Spanish style].8

Frank Marshall, Granados's disciple, believed that “Granados created the Tonadillas complete, or in other words, [he created] the literary part and the musical part at the same time.” 9 The musical sketches and the verses for the Tonadillas found in Apuntes para mis obras appear to bear out this opinion, at least in part. For example, three of the sketches for Tonadillas for which Granados wrote both music and texts in the manuscript are considerably developed, although none is a definitive version. When we consider that the music Granados composed for the Tonadillas, as notated in Apuntes para mis obras, is substantially similar to the final versions, it seems likely that at some point Granados must have realized that the texts he had sketched in the manuscript were not of a comparable level of artistic merit as his music. Thus, he abandoned them and turned to Fernando Periquet to write the definitive texts.

Therein lies one of the revelations of Apuntes para mis obras: in two of his greatest works, the Tonadillas and the opera Goyescas, Granados appears to have broken with the standard practice of composers who normally compose their music to fit an author's text. The sketchs in Apuntes para mis obras indicate that since the music for the Tonadillas was largely, if not entirely, complete by the time Periquet began writing the texts, it would appear that Granados left Periquet to write a text for a pre-existing score. Similarly, only a few years later Granados and Periquet followed this highly unorthodox procedure when writing the opera Goyescas.

As early as 1912, Granados was working on the score of the projected opera Goyescas. In the piano suite Goyescas, Granados had already written a considerable amount of music that he was to use in the opera. However, he lacked a libretto. Not surprisingly, he turned to Fernando Periquet.

The story of the writing of Goyescas is well documented. Periquet explains that the score of the opera was composed in a particularly unusual manner. He, Periquet, wrote a narrative poem based on the final plot, which he submitted to Granados. Referring to this text Periquet told Opera News: “. . . not intending that the musician should set my verse to music but that Granados might let his fancy roam over the scenes and stories I had built of my rhymes. So was his charming score composed, without words, in the most absolute freedom, while seeing in his imagination a gorgeous pageant of Goyesque figures.” 10 After the music was written, Periquet was given the almost impossible task of creating a libretto that would fit the music.

Periquet describes the difficulty: “When the last note of his music was set down there fell on me a hard . . . task, a painful tour de force, . . . I had to write new words for the music! What I wrote for Granados's music were [sic] not, could not be verse. The speeches of the characters had to follow, note by note, the maestro's fantasy. The rhymes were exotic, the rhythms irregular.”11

Periquet's description is certainly accurate in that the text could not be considered as verse. By any standard the libretto is crude. Many critics have observed that the method adopted by Granados and Periquet of affixing the libretto to the already composed score did not achieve a convincing result, and not surprisingly, Periquet's libretto received much merited criticism following the premiere of the opera in January 1916. A review published in The New York Herald Tribune described the problem: “There can be no doubt that the librettist in his effort to affix words to Granados's music was led more by his intention to supply a word for each note than by the dramatic demand to express the meaning of the music in appropriate language. By this crowding of words to short notes the vocal parts become instrumental, . . . and the singer cannot do justice . . . to the effectiveness of the vocal part as against the orchestra.”12However, no such criticism can be applied to the Tonadillas.

It is likely that in creating both the Tonadilllas and the opera Goyescas, Granados and Periquet followed a similar procedure in each case by adding a text to previously composed music. Nevertheless, the quality of the result in the two instances is markedly different. In the Tonadillas the music and text converge in a work of undisputed genius while in Goyescas, unfortunately, the text only rarely illuminates the music.

Many writers have noted that Granados was directly inspired by specific works of Goya, specifically by Goya's Caprichos, Tal para cual, and El amor y la muerte, as well as by specific paintings such as El pelele. Yet it was more than specific works by Goya that fascinated Granados. Granados was less inspired by Goya's art itself than by his own fantasy of Goya. It was the atmosphere, the people and the details of their lives within the context of Goya's Madrid , which spoke to the composer. Granados stated that in the Tonadillas he had created a collection that would serve him as a “document.” Perhaps this music sets the atmosphere for Goyescas, and the texts tell in words something of the situations and actions of the type of people he had in mind when writing Goyescas. When considered as such, the Tonadillas along with the drawings found in Apuntes para mis obras clearly illustrate the extent of Granados's inspiration by and devotion to the works of Goya. This highly personal inspiration, shown so vividly in this manuscript, led Granados to compose some of the greatest works ever written in Spain.

Most composers tend to confine their manuscript sketches only to music. However, in Apuntes para mis obras Granados reveals himself as a complete artist, coalescing his inspiration by one of Spain's greatest painters through poetry, graphic arts, and his own highly personal music.13

1 Consejos a los alumnos: Deben estudiarse con preferencia las obras que mejor se saben.

2 El mecanismo se compone de fuerza, igualdad y agilidad. / ¿Qué contribuye a la fuerza? / La articulación. / La posición del cuerpo, brazo y mano. / ¿Qué contribuye a igualdad? / Equilibrio de fuerza por igual en todos los dedos. / ¿Qué contribuye a la agilidad? / La supresión de todo movimiento inútil.

3 Enrique Granados in “True History of the Goyescas,” Francisco Gándara, Las novedades (New York), April, 1916, 12-13.

4 Canto expresivo con oboe y cornetín tocando piano. Combinado la cuerda, mitad pizicato / [sic], mitad arco, contra puntístico en los altos y con sordino. / Dibujos de flauta junta con cuerda en sordino. / Cornetín fragondo en la tesitura alta, fa, sol, la bemol. Con insistencia. / Flauta tocando piano en registro medio, combinada unisón con fagot, 2 octaves de distancia. / Clarinete doblando ligato [sic] y piano un dibujo de escasa pasamiento, pizicato [sic] de la cuerda y arpa. / Flauta y lira y cuerda en lo alto. / Violines en la cuerda alta junto con la voz de timple y a veces doblando por una tromba a la 8 baja.

5 “. . . el mas perfecto logro, el mas sazonado y redondo, el mas personal entre cuantos llevan la firma de Enrique Granados.” Antonio Fernández-Cid, Granados (Madrid: Samarán Ediciones, 1956), 223.

6Colección de Tonadillas escritas en modo clásico (originales). Estas tonadillas originales, no son las conocidas anteriormente y armonjadas. He querido crear la colección que me sirve de documento para la obra Goyescas. Y ha de saberse que a excepción de Los requiebros y Las quejas en ninguna otra de mis Goyescas se encuentra temas populares. Hecho en modo popular, sí, pero originales.

7 All texts by Periquet are quoted from Enric Granados, Integral de l'obra per a veu i piano, ed. Manuel Garcia Morante (Barcelona: Tritó, 1996).

8José Subirá, “Granados tonadillero,” in Enrique Granados, Revista Musical Hispano-Americana (Madrid), April 30, 1916, 16-17.

9 “. . . Granados ideó las Tonadillas completas, o sea la parte literaria y la musical a un tiempo.” Frank Marshall in Fernández-Cid, Granados, 223.

10 Fernando Periquet, “ Goyescas: How the Opera Was Conceived,” Opera News, January 29, 1916, 12.

11 Ibid.

12Goyescas, Spanish Opera: Brilliant Music, Not Dramatic,” New York Herald Tribune, January 29, 1916 .

Portions of this text were originally published as “El llibre d'apunts d'Enric Granados,” Douglas Riva, trans. Joan Malaquer i Ferrer, Revista de Catalunya , n26 (January 1989): 89-106.

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