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Difficulty (Explanation)
Other titles of this difficulty
Iberia · First Book
Evocation
7 difficult
El Puerto
7 difficult
Fête-Dieu à Séville
8 difficult

PREFACE

Iberia, by Isaac Albéniz (1860 –1909), is a central masterpiece of late romantic piano music at the threshold to modernity. As early as 1913 no less a musician than Claude Debussy summed up the singular position occupied by this Spanish composer and his opus magnum of 1905 –8: “Now let us consider Isaac Albéniz. Having first achieved fame as an incomparable virtuoso [piani... more

CRITICAL COMMENTARY

About the Composer

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Isaac Albéniz

He numbers among the most important Spanish composers. His oeuvre consists predominantly of piano music and stage works.

1860Born in Camprodón (Gerona province) on May 29; soon thereafter his family moves to Barcelona; first piano instruction with his sister at age three and a half, first public performance at age five, subsequent piano studies with Narciso Oliveras.
from 1867Eventful youth due to concert tours with his father and sister to Paris, the Spanish provinces, then on his own to Puerto Rico and Cuba.
1876–79Studies in Brussels.
1883–86Studies composition in Barcelona with Felipe Pedrell, who persuades him of the value of Spanish folk music. This results in piano compositions such as “Recuerdos de viaje,” Op. 71 (1886–87); “España: Seis hojas de album,” Op. 165 (1890); “Cantos de España,” Op. 232 (1891–94).
1889Breakthrough as a pianist, concertizing in Paris and London.
1890–93Engaged in London by the agent Henry Lowenfeld; operetta “The Magic Opal” (premiere 1893).
1893Relocation to Paris, studies with Vincent d’Indy and Paul Dukas.
1895/96Premieres in Barcelona of his operas “Henry Clifford” (1895) and “Pepita Jiménez” (1896) with Spanish colorings in the libretti and music.
1898–1903He plans the trilogy “King Arthur” (“Merlin,” “Lancelot,” “Guenevere”), of which just “Merlin” is completed; concert performance of the original version does not take place until 1998.
1905–08Composes “Iberia,” one of his chief works for piano, in which he reworks the sounds and rhythms of Spanish folk music.
1909Death in Cambô-les-Bains (Basses-Pyrénées) on May 18.

© 2003, 2010 Philipp Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart

About the Authors

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Norbert Gertsch (Editor)

Dr. Norbert Gertsch, born in 1967 in Rheinkamp/Moers, studied piano solo at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and read musicology and philosophy at the Paris Lodron University in Salzburg and the Ruperto Carola University Heidelberg on a scholarship from the “Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes”. In 1996 he wrote his doctoral thesis on Ludwig van Beethoven’s Missa solemnis (as part of the New Complete Edition) under Ludwig Finscher.

In the following year, he began to work at G. Henle Publishers, initially as an editor for electronic publishing. After working on a two-year project (1999–2000) sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG) preparing a new Beethoven Catalogue of Works, he became a scholarly editor at G. Henle Publishers. In 2003 he became Editor-in-Chief, in 2009 Deputy Managing Director and Head of Publishing. As of 1 January 2024, the Executive Board of the Günter Henle Foundation has appointed Dr. Norbert Gertsch, as the new managing director, succeeding Dr. Wolf-Dieter Seiffert.

Gertsch has published many Urtext editions for G. Henle Publishers, including volumes for a new edition of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas together with Murray Perahia.

Hervorragende Neuausgabe des 1906 komponierten ersten Heftes der Sammlung "Iberia" ... mit ausführlichem Vorwort, kritischem Bericht und … sehr hilfreicher Übersetzung der zahlreichen französischen Vortrags- und Tempobezeichnungen ins Deutsche und Englische (sehr empfehlenswert).

VdM Literaturempfehlungen, 2004

Een uitgebreid historisch voorwoord met o.a. citaten uit Debussy’s lofrede en een gedetailleerde bronnenvergelijiking maken deze uitgave een ware schat om te koesteren.

Pianowereld, 2004

L’apparato critico, a fine volume, rende conto dettagliatamente delle varianti riscontrate nelle suddette fonti, mentre la prefazione fornisce tutti i necessari dettagli relativi alla genesi dell´opera e alle sue vicissitudini editoriali.

Hortus Musicus, 2003

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