“Señor Albéniz may well inscribe upon his escutcheon the words ‘Veni, vidi, vici’.” The London press thus commented on the Spaniard’s triumphal tour of Britain between 1889 and 1893. It was in the British Isles of all places that Albéniz increasingly turned to subjects from his native country, composing España (HN 857) amongst other things. Although it might seem surprising, in this tribute to the Iberian peninsula Albéniz also included a tango that appears in the form of a Cuban habanera. Behind the multicultural charade is one of Albéniz’ most popular works, full of warm longing for exotic climes. This easy-to-play piece is now available as a single edition.
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In a concert on 7 June 1890 in London’s Steinway Hall, Isaac Albéniz (1860– 1909) first publicly performed his España, from which the Tango of the present edition is taken. The cycle was published that same year, 1890, by the London publisher Pitt & Hatzfeld. Later Schott London acquired the rights to España, and during Albéniz’s lifetime published several issues of … 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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