Long-lost opera by Spanish composer Enrique Granados located

Here is an interesting story:
Granados, born in 1867, composed “Maria del Carmen” in 1898, the year Spain and the United States went to war. It premiered in Madrid to such acclaim that Queen Maria Cristina awarded Granados the Charles III Cross for his work. The opera — a love triangle set in a Spanish village in the region of Murcia — was later revised for subsequent productions, but was never performed in its original version again.

In 1938, one of Granados’ sons sold the original opera to a prominent New York musician and publisher for $300 to raise money for the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War. Other family members wanted it returned. The question of ownership remained the subject of litigation for decades until 1970 when the opera was reported destroyed in a warehouse fire in New York.

Walter Clark, professor of music and director of The Center for Iberian and Latin American Music at the University of California, Riverside, who came upon the opera while researching material for his biography, “Enrique Granados, Poet of the Piano” , was obsessed by it for years. After wondering if it was really destroyed contacted the grandson of the man who had purchased ‘Maria’ and finally found it. Clark, incidentally, is a guitarist who plays Granados on the guitar.

“No one has heard this performed since 1899,” Clark said. “It is being published now by Tritó, the same company that will record it. It will be performed in various places in Spain next year, and I will be there. This is a 20-year detective story with a happy ending.”

Granados plays Granados

Years ago I had an LP of Granados playing his own music, which I seem to have “mislaid” so I was overjoyed when I found a CD with recordings of Albeniz, Malats and Granados amongst others, and, unlike the supposed recording of Tarrega in the last post, these are pretty well verified. If you play any of the music of these composers at all, it is well worth picking up.
Catalan TraditionIt is called “The Catalan Piano Tradition” and reissued on VAI 1001.
On this CD are several recordings of Granados playing his own music transferred from 78s which he made around 1912. The playing is fresh and virtuosic in a restrained kind of way, giving a good insight into Granados’ style.
Lately, I came across this, which was actually recorded on a piano roll and transferred to a Steinway using Welter Vorsetze in 1962-63.
I found the phrasing and interpretation, despite some suspect notes, a bit of a revelation, and I hope you will too.

Interestingly enough, there is also a video of Evangelos Assimakopoulos (of the duo Evangelos and Liza)playing the same piece on the guitar, with a similar phrasing.