He was an outstanding composer and pianist, whose pieces changed the musical landscape of post-romantic Spain.
Born on May 29, 1860 in Camprodon, a small town in the Catalan province of Girona, Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz and Pascual is renowned for his piano music that brilliantly evokes the spirit of Spain. As a composer-virtuoso, Albéniz he successfully fused composition and performance to create a style reminiscent of the music of Franz Liszt, spiced up with Spanish folk idioms. The work that most convincingly represents this synthesis of virtuosity and tradition is the charming and colorful Iberia, a set of 12 pieces that recall Spanish places and dances (particularly Andalusian). Albéniz he used folklore as inspiration, but created a singular melodic style, which eventually influenced Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Believing that artistic originality and interest in one’s own national musical tradition are not excluded, Albéniz He was also to a great extent the creator of the Spanish musical language that would be adopted and developed by Enrique Granados and Manuel de Falla.
Infant prodigy, Albéniz he was accepted, at the age of seven, as a private student by Antoine-François Marmontel, the famous piano pedagogue whose students included Georges Bizet and Debussy. Back in Spain, he went on a concert tour and finally entered the Madrid Conservatory. Soon he escaped, he did concerts in Spain and, in 1872, he embarked on a ship that was sailing to Latin America.
Upon his return to Europe the following year, he entered the Leipzig Conservatory, where he briefly studied with Carl Reinecke. Shortly after, a patron allowed him to enter the Brussels Conservatory to study piano and composition. Albéniz he won the first prize at the conservatory in 1879; the following year, he obtained an audience with Franz Liszt in Budapest; for a time he joined the teacher’s entourage and continued working on his technique as a pianist. After wandering around Europe and South America a bit more, he settled in Barcelona in 1883, got married and started a family.
At that moment, Albéniz He already had a reputation as a composer of brilliant piano lounge music. Around 1890 he met Felipe Pedrell, a prominent musicologist, composer and collector of popular songs. After meeting Pedrell, Albéniz He reexamined his work as a composer, deciding to seek new inspiration from the rich musical traditions of Spain. Still not satisfied with his craftsmanship, he moved to Paris to study with Paul Dukas and Vincent d’Indy.
The restless Albéniz somehow he clung to a job as a piano teacher at the Schola Cantorum in Paris from 1893 to 1900; then he undertook new pilgrimages, while working on his masterpiece, Iberia. An immensely popular work, Iberia has also been transcribed for orchestra; successful orchestral versions include Leopold Stokowski’s orchestration of “Fête-Dieu à Seville”. Another work that gained great popularity as an orchestral transcription is the Tango for piano in D major. Albéniz he also wrote for theater; his lyrical comedy Pepita Jimenez and several other works were produced in the 1890s. He died in 1909.