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Isaac Albéniz y Pascual (Spanish pronunciation: [iˈsak alˈβeniθ]) (29 May 1860, Camprodon - 18 May 1909, Cambo-les-Bains ) was a Spanish pianist and composer best known for his piano works based on folk music idioms (many of which have been transcribed by others for guitar).​

Just listened to his piano music: 3rd piano sonata and L'automne. The sonata is a little bit too sweet for my taste, but the L'automne was like revelation to me. In Chopinian spirit, but I wouldn't call it pastiche as it's not enough shallow to be pastiche.

I'm looking forward for hearing his Iberia suite and some symphonic music.

Quote from wikipedia about how Albeniz himself considered his music:

there are among them a few things that are not completely worthless. The music is a bit infantile, plain, spirited; but in the end, the people, our Spanish people, are something of all that. I believe that the people are right when they continue to be moved by Cordoba, Mallorca, by the copla of the Sevillanas, by the Serenata, and Granada. In all of them I now note that there is less musical science, less of the grand idea, but more color, sunlight, flavor of olives. That music of youth, with its little sins and absurdities that almost point out the sentimental affectation…appears to me like the carvings in the Alhambra, those peculiar arabesques that sway nothing with their turns and shapes, but which are like the air, like the sun, like the blackbirds or like the nightingales of its gardens. They are more valuable than all else of Moorish Spain, which though we may not like it, is the true Spain.
 

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[I'm looking forward for hearing his Iberia suite and some symphonic music.)

Somebody said that the best spanish music is written by Frenchmen e.g Chabrier, Ravel, lalo. I think Albeniz proves them wrong. I would also recommend Granados' Goyescas perhaps more intense but less lyrical than Iberia.
 

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An extremely prolific composer--there is a story that a great many of his earlier piano works were 'dashed' off and given to other people in lieu of lodging or meals during his formative years as a traveling virtuoso.

However, when he settled down and began composing SERIOUSLY, he left a legacy of piano music that is colorful, evocative and technically very demanding.

Frankly, I'll go out on a musical 'limb' here and say that the "Suite Iberia" is certainly one of the most monumental (and monumentally difficult) works for piano written in the 20th Century.

One can only wish that Albeniz could have lived longer--"Iberia" is his Swan Song--his compositional style was evolving into that of a fresh, complex and exciting originality.

Debussy, who was a great admirer of "Iberia", said of the work: "There is nothing quite like it in piano music." I think Debussy was right. For me, "Iberia" is an absolutely stunning, highly original suite of piano pieces. And as a pianist who has tackled some of the works in the suite, I can certainly agree that technically, there is nothing quite like them. Enormously difficult, often extremely awkward in the placement of the hands, but incredibly satisfying to play, once under the fingers and in the brain.

Needless to say, I like Albeniz. A LOT!!

Tom
 

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The biography of Albenez is also interesting. Myth or truth? The myth is that he stowed away on a boat to Cuba but the truth is that he went there with his father. He did play concerts in South America, Cuba , and the US. He was a child prodigy and was denied admission to The Paris Conservatory because he was "too young". One of the best piano performances I ever attended was the complete Iberia performed by Marc Andre Hamelin. The music is fantastic but it helps when a great pianist is playing.
 

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Sheez

[I'm looking forward for hearing his Iberia suite and some symphonic music.)

Somebody said that the best spanish music is written by Frenchmen e.g Chabrier, Ravel, lalo. I think Albeniz proves them wrong. I would also recommend Granados' Goyescas perhaps more intense but less lyrical than Iberia.
"More intense but less lyrical"?

Good Grief. The level of incomprehension in this thread is so great that I have no idea where to begin. Sorry 'anshuman', I had to pick something to quote, and you became 'it'.

Have you heard Sanchez?
 

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"More intense but less lyrical"?

Good Grief. The level of incomprehension in this thread is so great that I have no idea where to begin. Sorry 'anshuman', I had to pick something to quote, and you became 'it'.

Have you heard Sanchez?
No I have not. Please enlighten me about 'the level of incomprehension'. My statements about Albeniz and Granados are entirely subjective and i don't expect you to share them. I think I have not used any technical,musicological term to describe my impressions of these composers. There is a tendency on this forum to be rude or ironical about other people's impressions about music. There is a an 'expert' opinion which says -"here is truth,here kneel." This kind of snobbery is beyond me. I'm not merely talking about you Hilltroll. These kind of responses are quite common which would drive out all but the 'experts' from the forum. This is not to say that I dont value expert opinions but what i see is mere contempt masquerading as expertise. I firmly believe that classical music is for everybody, not only for the most knowledgable. If you have something that i am ignorant of, why not share it instead of sneers and jeers.
 

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Whoa; no bloodletting intended

No I have not. Please enlighten me about 'the level of incomprehension'. If you have something that i am ignorant of, why not share it instead of sneers and jeers.
No 'sneers and jeers' here. I was unaware of your sensitivity.

Among other things, you are apparently unaware of Sanchez's Iberia. There is an inexpensive Brilliant Classics release that could change your mind about the relative qualities of "Iberia" and "Goyescas". Beyond that suggestion, you are too thin-skinned for conversation with an old hillbilly.

Salud e dinero.

:cool:
 

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[I'm looking forward for hearing his Iberia suite and some symphonic music.)

Somebody said that the best spanish music is written by Frenchmen e.g Chabrier, Ravel, lalo. I think Albeniz proves them wrong. I would also recommend Granados' Goyescas perhaps more intense but less lyrical than Iberia.
I love both Esteban Sanchez and Alicia Delarrocha performing Iberia. I feel Manuel de Falla is missing so here´s a link to Falla´s La Danza del Fuego from El Amor Brujo played by this wonderful pianist:

 

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IMHO, de la Rocha's second recording of Iberia is the best available. What I really can't understand is how that great woman, who had small hands, could play that awfuly difficult work with absolute comand.
If you are interested on other of Isaac works, a fine greco-chipriot pianist called Rena Kyriacu had recorded nearly all his piano production. Of course not only is gold, and his early works are just forgettable salon-pieces. No doubt, Iberia was his great master-piece.
 

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For anyone who is new to Albéniz's music and want to explore it in some depth (sans the operas), then do check out this box set of the solo piano works (plus some piano and orchestra works):



Miguel Baselga is a fabulous pianist and really brings this music to life. I LOVE this box set and while it is on the more expensive side (it's BIS after all), it was worth every penny.
 

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I wonder why Albéniz's first opera The Magic Opal hasn't been recorded? I just finished an orchestral suite from this work and rather enjoyed it. For listeners who think all he composed were solo piano music, need to check out the operas Henry Clifford and Merlin. Both, if I recall, had great success, especially Henry Clifford.
 
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