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Isaac Albéniz

May 29, 1860 - May 18, 1909
born in Camprodón, Lérida, Spain, composed during the Romantic period
Born in 1860, Isaac Albéniz is best known for piano music that brilliantly evokes the spirit of Spain. As a composer-virtuoso, Albéniz successfully melded together composition and performance to create a bravura style reminiscent of the music of Liszt, seasoned with Spanish folk idioms. The work that most convincingly represents this synthesis of virtuosity and tradition is the enchantingly colorful and atmospheric Iberia, a suite of 12 pieces recalling Spanish (particularly Andalusian) places and dances. Albéniz used folklore as his inspiration, but created a singular melodic style, which eventually influenced Debussy and Ravel. Believing that artistic originality and an interest in one's national musical tradition do not exclude each other, Albéniz likewise was largely the creator of the Spanish musical idiom that would be adopted and developed by Granados and de Falla.

A child prodigy, Albéniz was accepted, at the age of seven, as a private pupil by Antoine-François Marmontel, the celebrated piano pedagogue whose students included Bizet and Debussy. Back in Spain within a year, he gave a concert tour and eventually entered the Madrid Conservatory. He soon ran away, concertized around Spain, and in 1872 stowed away on a ship sailing for Latin America. Upon his return to Europe the following year, he entered the Leipzig Conservatory, where he briefly studied with Carl Reinecke. Soon thereafter, a patron enabled him to enter Brussels Conservatory to study piano and composition. Albéniz won the conservatory's first prize in 1879; the following year, he obtained an audience with Franz Liszt in Budapest; for a while he joined the master's entourage and continued to work on his technique as a pianist. After more wandering through Europe and South America, he settled in Barcelona in 1883, married, and began a family.

By that time, Albéniz already had a reputation as a composer of brilliant salon music for the piano. Around 1890, he met Felipe Pedrell, a prominent musicologist, composer, and collector of folk songs. Following the encounter with Pedrell, Albéniz re-examined his work as a composer, deciding to seek new inspiration in the rich musical traditions of Spain. Not yet satisfied with his craftsmanship, Albéniz moved to Paris to study with Paul Dukas and Vincent d'Indy. The restless Albéniz somehow hung on to a job teaching piano at Paris' Schola Cantorum from 1893 to 1900; then he undertook further peregrinations, all the while working on his masterpiece, Iberia. An immensely popular work, Iberia has also been transcribed for orchestra; successful orchestral versions include Leopold Stokowski's orchestration of "Fête-Dieu à Seville." Another work which gained wide popularity as an orchestral transcription is the Tango for piano in D major. Albéniz also wrote for the stage; his lyric comedy Pepita Jiménez and several other works were produced in the 1890s. He died in 1909. ~ Rovi Staff, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Albéniz: Iberia; España; Recuerdos de viaje; Sonata No. 5

Disc 1
Title: Iberia Suite For Piano, B. 47, Book 1
Title: Iberia Suite For Piano, B. 47, Book 2
Title: Piano Sonata No.5 In G Flat Major, Op. 82, B. 27
Title: Pavana Capricho, For Piano In E Minor (Also Arranged For 2 Pianos), Op. 12, B. 1
Title: Spanish Dances (2) (Morceaux Charactéristiques), For Piano, Op. 164, B. 36
Title: Piezas Características (12), For Piano, Op. 92, B. 29
Disc 2
Title: Iberia Suite For Piano, B. 47, Book 3
Title: Iberia Suite For Piano, B. 47, Book 4
Title: Recuerdos De Viaje, Pieces (7) For Piano, Op. 71, B. 18
Disc 3
Title: España, Album Leaves (6) For Piano, Op. 165, B. 37
Title: Suite Española No. 1, For Piano, Op. 47, B. 7
Title: Cantos De España, Pieces (5) For Piano, Op. 232, B. 44
Title: Suite Española No. 1, For Piano, Op. 47, B. 7
Title: Mallorca, Barcarola For Piano In F Sharp Minor, Op. 202, B. 41
Title: Suite Española No. 1, For Piano, Op. 47, B. 7
Title: La Vega, Fantaisie Espagnole For Piano, B. 46 (For The Incomplete Suite, "Alhambra")

Comments

Love the deep darkness he can bring out of the guitar.
Really lovely!
Suite Espanola --> Take me to Portugal, Take me to Spain
What can I said to a genius. .. un duro. Maravilloso. . Inolvidable magistral
My mother and father had a cassette tape of a unnamed Guatemalan guitarist that played this piece along with other native songs like Luna de Shelahu that takes me so deep and brings me close to home even though I live so far away.. love you mami and papi!
the music of the Gods
Lifts my spirit
This music fills me with fantasies of exotic and beautiful places... i could drift for hours with it....
i hear Granados... this music takes me away...ayy pero que hermosura!!!
atthebench
Interesting that Albeniz wrote his IBERIA SUITE for piano with the intention that no female pianist would ever be able to play it. Fortunate for him, it is precisely the excellence of female pianists who have recorded his Suite that has brought it to its grandeur.
orakarat
I completely resonate with this music ...i'ts like I'm part of it.
BEAUTIFUL!!
rmmc69
I am a studying his piece, Asturias Leyenda, for the guitar. It was originally transcribed for the guitar by Segovia. I am nowhere near his level, but am a impressed by this work.
a huge composer in the my world since i play classical guitar, please get into this spanard master he is definately a composer i hope to write like some grand day.
CIAO HA TUTTI BELLI E BRUTTI EH BRUTTI PERO NO MALE

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