Since their publication as Urtext editions, the first two volumes of “Iberia” issued by G. Henle Publishers have become an established part of the pianists’ world. Now comes the third book, in which Albéniz once again fuses his knowledge of European classical music with elements of Spanish folk music. In “El Albaicín” he evokes the mysterious atmosphere of the gypsy quarter in Granada, followed by hints of temperamental Flamenco in “El Polo”. At the end, Albéniz depicts the exuberant mood of a former Jewish quarter in Madrid (“Lavapiés”); in so doing he intersperses the music with some dissonant dashes of colour, an allusion to an organ grinder.
Read more about this edition in the Henle Blog.
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- Iberia · Third 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.|