With the fourth and last book, our blue Urtext editions of the "Iberia" cycle are now complete. Albéniz had greatly struggled to complete the work because he was very ill. Yet he was able to hand over all of the twelve pieces he had promised to the pianist Joaquin with whom he was friends. Following the sensuous dance rhythms in “Málaga” and the cheerful and lively “Eritaña”, he succeeded in creating a striking musical portrait of the famous Spanish wine-growing region with “Jerez”. “Music has never achieved such a diverse and colourful form,” was the judgement passed on Albéniz’ late Romantic masterpiece by none other than Claude Debussy.
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- Iberia · Fourth Book
Isaac Albéniz’s (1860–1909) Iberia ranks among the central masterworks of late-romantic piano music at the dawn of modernity. As early as 1913, a musician of such eminence as Claude Debussy summarised the singular position of the Spanish composer and his opus magnum, written between 1905 and 1908: “Let us now turn to Isaac Albéniz. After first achieving renown as a … 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.|
About the authors
Mit dem Vierten Heft hat der Henle Verlag nun auch den letzten Teil der Suite veröffentlicht, und zwar auf mustergültige Art. (...) Doch dem Herausgeber Norbert Gertsch gelingt es nicht nur, die zahlreichen Druckfehler und Irrtümer zu tilgen, die in den älteren Ausgaben herumgeistern, sondern auch, den mit vielen Anmerkungen des Komponisten übersäten Notentext in erstaunlich schlanker und übersichtlicher Weise zu präsentieren.