Albéniz’ piano music is truly irresistible, in particular because of its dance-like elements and its Spanish atmosphere. Asturias combines these elements in a most sophisticated manner. It first appeared in 1892 as the Prélude to the Chants d’Espagne (HN 782), and again in 1901, this time with the title Asturias in the Suite Espagnole (HN 783), and the piece soon became one of the composer’s best-loved works. Who isn’t familiar with the mysterious guitar sounds that conjure up a Flamenco scene in Andalusia? The piece has often been arranged, but we are publishing it in the original Urtext version for solo piano – in an affordable single edition.
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In the first decade of his career, Isaac Albéniz (1860–1909) saw himself as a cosmopolitan artist who was musically at home just about everywhere in the world. He was born in Camprodón in northern Spain, grew up in Barcelona and as a child prodigy pianist in the early 1870s was already giving evening recitals that would later take him as far away as North America. These … more
About the composer
He numbers among the most important Spanish composers. His oeuvre consists predominantly of piano music and stage works.
|1860||Born 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 1867||Eventful youth due to concert tours with his father and sister to Paris, the Spanish provinces, then on his own to Puerto Rico and Cuba.|
|1876–79||Studies in Brussels.|
|1883–86||Studies 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).|
|1889||Breakthrough as a pianist, concertizing in Paris and London.|
|1890–93||Engaged in London by the agent Henry Lowenfeld; operetta “The Magic Opal” (premiere 1893).|
|1893||Relocation to Paris, studies with Vincent d’Indy and Paul Dukas.|
|1895/96||Premieres in Barcelona of his operas “Henry Clifford” (1895) and “Pepita Jiménez” (1896) with Spanish colorings in the libretti and music.|
|1898–1903||He 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.|
|1905–08||Composes “Iberia,” one of his chief works for piano, in which he reworks the sounds and rhythms of Spanish folk music.|
|1909||Death in Cambô-les-Bains (Basses-Pyrénées) on May 18.|
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