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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A la cubana: Enrique Granados’s Cuban Connection

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Cuba exerted a particular fascination on several generations of Spanish composers. Enrique Granados, himself of Cuban ancestry, was no exception. Even though he never set foot on the island—unlike his friend Isaac Albéniz—his acquaintance with the music of Cuba became manifest in the piano piece A la cubana, his only work with overt references to that country.

This article proposes an examination of A la cubana that accounts for the textural and harmonic characteristics of the second part of the piece as a vehicle for Granados to pay homage to the piano danzas of Cuban composer Ignacio Cervantes. Also discussed are similarities between A la cubana and one of Albéniz’s own piano pieces of Caribbean inspiration as well as the context in which the music of then colonial Cuba interacted with that of Spain during Granados’s youth, paying special attention to the relationship between Havana and Catalonia.

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