Isaac Albeniz  
Isaac Albeniz
Isaac Albéniz, (born May 29, 1860, Camprodón, Spain—died May 18, 1909, Cambo-les-Bains, France), composer and virtuoso pianist, a leader of the Spanish nationalist school of musicians.

Albéniz appeared as a piano prodigy at age 4 and by 12 had run away from home twice. Both times he supported himself by concert tours, eventually gaining his father’s consent to his wanderings. He studied at the Leipzig Conservatory in 1875–76 and, when his money ran out, obtained a scholarship to study in Brussels. From 1883 he taught in Barcelona and Madrid. He had previously composed facile salon music for piano, but about 1890 he began to take composition seriously. He studied with Felipe Pedrell, father of the nationalist movement in Spanish music, and in 1893 moved to Paris. There he came under the influence of Vincent d’Indy, Paul Dukas, and other French composers and for a time taught piano at the Schola Cantorum. He later developed Bright’s disease and was a near invalid for several years before he died.


Albéniz’ fame rests chiefly on his piano pieces, which utilize the melodic styles, rhythms, and harmonies of Spanish folk music. The most notable work is Iberia (1905–09), a collection of 12 virtuoso piano pieces, considered by many to be a profound evocation of the spirit of Spain, particularly of Andalusia. Also among his best works are the Suite española, containing the popular “Sevillana”; the Cantos de España, which includes “Córdoba”; Navarra; and the Tango in D Major. Orchestrated versions of many of his pieces are also frequently played.

Encyclopædia Britannica

Albéniz, seen by Ramon Casas

Born in Catalonia, Isaac Albeniz was a colourful character who showed almost unnatural musical talent; he gave Ins first piano recital at the age of four. His father, sensing the financial potential of such a prodigy, took him to Paris in 1867 hoping to enrol him at the Conservatoire. After exciting great admiration at his audition, the high-spirited boy spoiled the impression by throwing a ball through the window, whereupon the authorities refused to accept him. Two years later, he entered the Conservatoire in Madrid, but soon tired of the discipline and ran away, travelling around Spain and giving recitals. After stowing away on a ship bound for South America, he continued his itinerant musical life, giving performances in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the United States, before finally returning to Spam in 1873.

His youthful energies having diminished somewhat, Albeniz embarked upon a period of intense study in Paris, Leipzig, and Brussels. He realized a long-standing ambition in 1878, when he had the opportunity to work with his childhood idol, Liszt. By now a pianist of phenomenal capabilities, he toured Europe and, again, South America and became renowned for performing works by Chopin, Liszt, and Schumann, as well as his own compositions.

Albéniz with his daughter, Laura

In 1883 he married and settled down. He met the Spanish nationalist composer and musicologist, Felipe Pedrell, who played a great part in encouraging Albeniz's interest in Spanish folk culture; in 1886 he produced the piano piece Suite espanola, in which Pedrell's influence is evident. Albeniz spent three years in London from 1890 to 1893, then moved to Paris, where he became acquainted with a circle of well-known composers, including Faurc, Debussy, and Dukas. While there he wrote his popular piece for piano, Cantos de Espana, which combines the dazzling virtuosity typical of Liszt with the rhythmic verve of Spanish folk dances.

The years from 1906 until his death in 1909 were spent composing a colourful and exotic suite for the piano entitled Iberia. It consists of 12 pieces of astounding technical difficulty and has become immensely popular. Invigorating and passionate, the music indisputably stands as Albeniz's crowning achievement as a composer. Like his other works, Iberia presents a refreshingly individual view of the central European Romantic tradition by combining it with the panache and vitality of Spanish popular music.

C. Breemer
Cantos de Espana, op. 232
E. Helling
Preludio (Asturias/Leyenda)
Espana - 6 Album Leaves, op. 165
C. Breemer
Capricho Catalan
Suite Espanola Op. 47
Chase Coleman
Granada (Serenata) 
Cataluna (Curranda)
Asturias - Isaac Albeniz
Asturias (Leyenda) - Isaac Albeniz played by John Williams
Isaac Albeniz, Asturias
Tal Hurwitz plays Isaac Albeniz, Asturias.
Mozarteum, Salzburg . 25/09/2011
Audio: Ronny Wiesauer
Cameras and video editing: Itay Goldstein
Cameras: Ovidiu Gramesc
A. de Larrocha plays Albeniz Iberia (complete)
Cuaderno 1
00:00 - Evocación
06:04 - El Puerto
10:14 - El Corpus Christi en Sevilla

Cuaderno 2
19:15 - Rondeña
26:39 - Almería
36:29 - Triana

Cuaderno 3
41:35 - El Albaicín
49:03 - El Polo
56:05 - Lavapiés

Cuaderno 4
01:03:10 - Málaga
01:08:29 - Jerez
01:18:20 - Eritaña

Granada - Isaac Albeniz
Córdoba - Isaac Albéniz
Isaac Albéniz Suite española: Sevilla-Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
Albéniz-Espana - Seis hojas de álbum, Op.165. Barenboim, piano
España: "Seis hojas de álbum", Op. 165
Año de composición: 1890
1. Preludio
2. Tango
3. Malagueña
4. Serenata
5. Capricho Catalán
6. Zortzico
Daniel Barenboim, piano
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