ISAAC ALBÉNIZ I PASCUAL   (1860-1909)

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 On Isaac Albéniz:  Biography:  Birth of a child prodigy  A very migratory Childhood  Networking  Albéniz the composer  Albéniz, Art Nouveau musician?  Marriage and later years  Contracts for compositions  His environment and the first signs of illness  Illness sets in  His stay at the health resort in Cambo-les-bains and his dead
 Works Symphonic music Concert music Music of chamber Instrumental music  Stage works  Incidental music  Vocal music
 Sources and additional information:  Albéniz's music, synthesis of styles   Epitaph by Frederic García Lorca   Reflections on the life and work of Albéniz   Obituaries   Isaac Albéniz Museum in Camprodon (Catalonia)   Books on Albéniz   Music (Records) of Isaac Albéniz   Links   Bibliography   Other Catalan Art Nouveau musicians 
 

Isaac Albéniz at the age of thirteen

Isaac Albéniz at the age of thirteen

 

Isaac Albéniz at seventeen

Albéniz at seventeen

 

Isaac Albeniz at nineteen

Isaac Albéniz at nineteen

 

Isaac Albéniz around 1880

Isaac Albéniz around 1880

 

Isaac Albéniz around 1890

Isaac Albéniz around 1890

 

Portrait of Isaac Albéniz playing piano in his top years

Albéniz playing piano in his top years

 

Albéniz around 1905, showing in his face the signs of illness

Albéniz around 1905, showing in his face the signs of illness

 

Albéniz strongly suffering the illness around 1908

Albéniz strongly suffering the illness around 1908

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works:

Symphonic music:
-Suite característica per a orquestra (Characteristic Suite for orchestra ca.1886)
-Escenes simfòniques catalanes (
Symphonic Catalan scenes 1888-1889)
-La Alhambra (The Alhambra 1896-1897)
-Petit Suite –Sérénade Lorraine (Small Suite- Lorrain Serenade 1898)
-Rapsòdia Almogàver (Almogaver Rhapsody 1899)
-Catalonia, suite populaire pour orchestre en trois parties (Catalonia, popular Suite for orchestra in three parts 1899)

Concert music:
-Rapsòdia espanyola per a piano i orquestra Opus 70 (Spanish Rhapsody for piano and orchestra 1887)
-Primer concert per a piano i orquestra (First concert for piano and orchestra)
-Concert fantàstic Opus 78 (Concert Fantastic - Opus 78 1885-1887)
-Segon concert per a piano i orquestra  (Second concert for piano and orchestra -unfinished -1892)

Music of chamber:
-Suite de concert per a sextet (Concert Suite for a sextet 1883)
-Berceuse per a violí i piano (Berceuse for violin and piano 1890)

Instrumental music:
For piano
-Marxa militar (Military March 1869)
-Pavana fàcil per a mans petites Opus 83 (Simple Pavana for small hands Opus 83 - 1881)
-Serena
ta napolitana (Napolitan Serenade 1882)
-Pavana-caprici Opus 12 (
Pavana-caprice Opus 12 - 1882)
-Estudi - impromptu Opus 56 (Study - Impromptu Opus 56 - 1882)
-Barcarola Opus 23 (Barcarole Opus 23 - 1883)
-Sis petits valsos Opus 25 (Six short Waltz Opus 25 - 1884)
-Sonata nº 1 Opus 28 (Sonata nº 1 Opus 8 - 1884)
-Estudi de concert Opus 29 (Concert Studio Opus 29 - 1885, July 3)
-Serenada aràbiga (Arabic Serenade ca.1885)
-Suite morisca (Moorish Serenade ca.1884)
-Estudi de concert en Mi menor Opus 21 (Concert Studio in E minor Opus 21 - 1885)
-Desig, estudi de concert Opus 40 (Desire, Concert Studio Opus 40 - 1885)
"A la meva dona" (To my wife)
-Primera suite antiga Opus 54 (First Ancient Suite Opus 54 ca.1885)
-Sis masurques de saló Opus 66 (Six Chamber Mazurques ca.1885)
-Primera suite espanyola Opus 47 (First Spanish Suite Opus 47 - 1883-1894)
-Angoixa, romança sense paraules (Distress, ballade 1996)
-Segona suite antiga Opus 64 (Second ancient Suite 1886)
-Set estudis en els tons naturals majors Opus 65 (Seven Studios in natural major key 1886)
-Minuet en Sol menor (Minuet in G minor 1886)
-Tercer minuet (Third Minuet 1886)
-Rapsodia cubana en Sol major Opus 66 (Cuban Rhapsody in G major Opus 66 - 1886)
-Sis danses espanyoles (Six Spanish dances 1886)
-Tercera suite antiga (Third ancient Suite 1886)
-Rapsodia espanyola per a dos pianos Opus 70 (Spanish Rhapsody for two pianos Opus 70 - 1886)
-Rapsodia espanyola Opus 70 (Spanish Rhapsody Opus 70 - 1887)
-Records de viatge Opus 71 (Travel reminiscences 1886-1887)
-Sonata nº 4 en La major Opus 72 (Sonata nº 4 in A major Opus 72 - 1887)
-Records, masurca Opus 80 (Reminiscences, mazurca Opus 80 - 1887)
-Masurca de saló en mi bemoll major Opus 81 (Chamber mazurca in E flat major Opus 81 - 1887)
-Sonata nº 5 en Sol bemoll major Opus 82 (Sonata nº 5 in G flat major Opus 82 - 1887)
-Vals champagne, vals de saló (Champagne waltz 1888)
-Dotze peces característiques Opus 92 (Twelve characteristic compositions Opus 92 - 1888)
-Amalia, masurca de saló Opus 95 (Amalia, mazurca Opus 95 - 1888)
-Ricordatti, masurca de saló Opus 96 (Ricordatti, mazurca Opus 96 - 1888)
-Segona suite espanyola Opus 97 (Second Spanish Suite Opus 97 ca.1889)
-Serenata espanyola Opus 181 (Spanish Serenade Opus 81 - 1889)
-Cádiz-gaditana (Cadiz-woman of Cadiz ca.1889)
-Dues danses espanyoles Opus 164 (Two Spanish dances ca.1889)
-Espanya: Sis fulles d’àlbum Opus 165 (Spain: Six album pages Opus 165 -  1890)
-L'Automme-Valse Opus 170 (The autumn-Waltz Opus 170 - 1890)
-Zambra granadina en Re menor (Gipsy zambra in D minor ca.1890)
-Mallorca, barcarola Opus 202 (Majorca barcarole Opus 202 - 1890) /**/
-Rêves Opus 201 (Dreams Opus 201 - 1890-1891)
-Zorzico en Mi menor (Zorzico in E minor - 1891)
-Les Saisons (També conegut com "Album of Miniatures") (The Seasons - also known as "Miniatures album" - 1892)
-Chants d'Espagne Opus 232 (Spanish songs Opus 232 - 1891-1894)
-Espagne: Souvenirs (Spain: Souvenirs - 1896-1897)
-La Vega (1897)
-Tres improvisacions en Fa sostingut menor (Three extemporizations in F sharp minor 1903)
-Iberia, "12 nouvelles impressions en quatre cahiers" (Iberia, "Twelve new impressions in four notebooks" 1905-1908)
-Navarra (1907)
-Azulejos (Tiles 1909) (Finished by Enric Granados)

Stage works:
Opera
-The Magic Opal (1892-1893)
-Poor Jonathan (1893)
-Henry Clifford (1893-1895)
-Pepita Jiménez (1895)
-Mar i cel (Sea and sky 1897) (Unfinished)
-La Sérénade (1899) (Sketch)
-Merlin (1897-1902)
-Launcelot (1902-1904)
-Guenevere (Sketch)
-La morena (The brown tanned girl 1905) (Sketch)

Lyrics
-Cuanto más viejo… (1881-1882)
-Catalans de Gracia (Catalans from Gracia 1882)
-Sant Antoni de la Florida (1894)
-La real hembra (1902) (Unfinished)

Incidental music:
-Poèmes d'amour (Love poems 1892)
-The Song of Songs (1905) (Sketch)

Vocal music:
Voice and piano
-Cinq rimes de Bécquer Opus 7 (Five verse sing by Becquer 1886)
-Sis balades sobre texts de la marquesa de Bolaños (Six ballades on atext of the marchioness of Bolaños 1887)
-Chanson de Barberine (The song of Barberine ca.1889)
-A Nelli, sis cançons per cant i piano (To Nelli, six songs for voice and piano 1896)
-Has marxat per sempre, Elena? (Are you going forever, Helen? 1896)
-Seras meva? (Will you be mine? 1896)
-Separats! (Away! 1896)
-Dos fragments en prosa (Two extracts in prose 1897)
-Succeeix amb l’amor (It happens with love 1897)
-L'asamblea de les rates (The mouses meeting ca.1890) (Unfinished)
-Els dons dels deus (The Gifts of the Gods 1897)
-L'oruga (The caterpillar 1903)
-Quatre cançons (Four songs 1908)

Choral music
-El Crist (The Christ ca.1885) (It could still not to be found)
-Domine ne in furore, Salm VI del Ofici de Difunts (Psalm VI of the Funeral service 1885)
-Lo Llacsó (1896) (Sketch)

Biography:

Bird of a child prodigy:
Isaac Albéniz was born in Camprodón (Ripolles) on May 29, 1860. His father Àngel Albéniz was a civil servant in Ripolles and his mother, Dolors Pascual, was a native of Figueres. At the age of four, Isaac performed at the Romea in Barcelona, where his parents had movedFirst Albéniz piano. Upper the piano a photo with Albéniz at the age of two with his mother and his sisters. Ensemble into the Isaac Albéniz Museum. shortly after his birth, performing a fantasy on Verdi’s Sicilian Vespers. His first teacher was Narcís Oliveras. Later, at the age of six, he studied first with Antoine François Marmontel in Paris, and subsequently at the Conservatory. At the age of 8, he gave concerts in many Catalan cities and towns.
Albéniz had a clear calling to be a pianist from such an early age, and we find his music among the repertoires of the most renowned pianists of today, which they have selected as especially representative of popular Andalusian music for that instrument.
Andalusian motifs inspired a large part of his compositions. Despite being born in Catalunya, Albéniz rarely found inspiration from his home region. However, Albéniz was a deeply Catalan man, one whom we could now call of the “Catalan universal”.

A very migratory childhood:
Since his father, Ángel Albéniz, was a civil servant, young Albéniz found himself moving all over Spain. He was born in Camprodón because his father was stationed there at the time.Àngel Albéniz, Isaac father After three years, they moved to Sitges, and a few months later to Barcelona. Years later, Albéniz Sr. became customs officer in Almería, a position that he lost because of his political leanings, and the family moved back to Barcelona. The eight-year-old Albéniz was then in Madrid, where he had passed the sight-singing examination to enter the music conservatory. In July there was another change of address, this time to Cáceres.
He travelled regularly from Cáceres, where his father’s fate settled him, to Madrid, so that he could attend sight-singing classes with Feliciano Primo and piano performance classes with Manuel Mendizábal. At the age of ten, he enthusiastically gave recitals at every possible venue, without neglecting his studies.
His father was once again posted to Madrid, and the entire family followed. It was during this time that he began to be known through recitals in Valladolid, Salamanca, Palencia, León, Oviedo, Ávila, El Escorial, all over Andalucía—in short, for a series of towns and peoples who had come to demand the presence of the young pianist.
When Isaac was fourteen, his sister, Blanca, committed suicide in the Parque del Retiro in Madrid, where she was a member of the Zarzuela theatre troupe.
In 1875, Albéniz’s father was appointed Post Office Supervisor General for Puerto Rico and Cuba, but again the following year he would lose this position, forcing the family to return to Madrid. For young Isaac, all these geographical meanderings were nothing more than a pleasant way in which to visit and learn about new places. During these years, he performed in cities such as San Juan de Puerto Rico and Santiago de Cuba, as well as in various parts of Havana.
 

 

Networking:
By 1876, Albéniz’s prestige was widely known in Madrid’s aristocratic circles. Guillermo Morphy Ferris, a count and personal secretary to Alfonso XII, used his considerable influence to open the doors of the court to Albéniz and was very enthusiastic about his talent. AlbénizPortrait of the Morphy Count received a royal pension to study at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels, where he perfected the art of piano performance and sight-singing. From this moment, it can be said that Albéniz forged his own independent path distinct from his father’s traditional line of work. A man of inexhaustible imagination, he went beyond the field of his own music, even inventing situations and anecdotes, such as his supposed collaboration with Franz Liszt. Albéniz noted in his diary that he met Liszt in Budapest on August 18, 1880, an impossible feat given that Liszt had taken up residence in Weimer by then. He was given to the exhibitionism of a child prodigy, as when he would play the piano blindfolded or with his back to the piano, or place a cloth over the keys to make the task even more difficult. Therefore his diary, though undoubtedly helpful in studying his character, is peppered with several passages that require a certain scrutiny, or at least an ability to separate fact from fiction.

Albéniz the composer:
Albéniz’s compositions profoundly matured when he reached his twenties, but he did not forego displaying his virtuosity for populations all over Europe. During several intervals, he taught classes to his considerably aristocratic disciples, and in the evenings, despite being exhausted, he brought himself to compose pages and pages of music; he had signed a contract with the editor Romero i Andía for five pesetas per manuscript page. RomeroA bookplate of  Isaac Albéniz thought he had made a savvy business deal, but Albéniz proved so prolific that soon the editor begged to terminate the contract—the young composer had managed to offer dozens of pages daily, more than Romero was prepared to compensate him for. A large quantity of these manuscripts has been lost, but they are known from references in letters, documents, and statements by people close to Albéniz, as well as from early Albéniz scholars. We have also been left with several incomplete manuscripts, works begun—sometimes simply sketches of only one or two bars of what might have been. All these remnants give us an idea of his exuberant character, of his perpetual restlessness, and of his desire to embrace musical expression. An extensive annotated catalogue of his works, along with a recommended discography, can be found in the recent biography Albéniz, by musicologist Justo Romero.
The year 1883 was an important one in the life of Albéniz. Upon returning from his travels throughout South America, he re-established himself in Barcelona, where he met
Felip Pedrell, one of the greatest Catalan musicians and composers, and a scholar of ancient music. It was Pedrell who convinced Albéniz of the need to develop a profoundly national musical style.

Albèniz, Art Nouveau musician?:
Albéniz lived during the height of the Art Nouveau period, from about 1880 to 1910. Although it is difficult to speak of a purely Catalan Art Nouveau musical style (in the same way one could speak of Claude Debussy and Eric Satie in France, for example), the characteristics of Albeniz’s music clearly place him within this movement—strongly oriented toward a popular vision of art and music and a creative license that began to emerge in the works of Felip Pedrell and that clashed with the academic rigidity that had until then been imposed.
Following that way, the work of Xosé Aviñoa and specially his books
"La música i el Modernisme" (The music and the Art Nouveau) and "Modernisme i Modernistes - Música i Modernisme: Definició i Període -" (Art Nouveau and its artists - Music and Art Nouveau: Definition and Period - (see Bibliography), is an interesting investigation on Catalan musical Art Nouveau.

Marriage and later years:Albéniz with his wife Rosina Jordana
Albéniz married his student, Rosina Jordana, on June 23, 1883 in Barcelona’s Mare de Déu de la Mercé church. They had five children—four girls (two of whom died in infancy) and one boy. In 1885, the couple moved to Madrid. Albéniz performed a series of concerts during the 1888 World’s Fair in Barcelona that catapulted him into artistic renown. On June 13 of the following year, after a fabulous welcome, he performed in Prince’s Hall, London, where he received such warm acclaim from the British press that he stayed in Britain to give more concerts—in St. James Hall, Steinway Hall, and at Crystal Palace—throughout 1889.
There is no doubt as to his appreciation of the value of Catalan music, since after his stint in London he decided to move back to Barcelona (though it might just as easily have been a decision made out of a pure desire for stability, since nothing is easily explained that comes from the mind of Albéniz).
Regardless, in Catalunya he rediscovered the cosmopolitanism he had enjoyed on the
Isaac Albéniz with his family journeys of his youth. His career as a pianist reached its zenith from 1889 to 1892, when, aside from the concerts in Britain, he gave others in Germany, Austria, Belgium, and France. In addition to London and Barcelona, he also lived in Paris (where he taught at the Schola Cantorum), Brussels, Nice, and Leipzig, among other cities. But it was in Andalusia where he would capture the essence of folk melodies, where he would create a suite of music that expressed a greater sense of being alive than he ever found in any other place.

Albéniz’s music, synthesis of styles:
According to Yale Fineman, Albéniz introduced several elements native to the southern Iberian peninsula—basically Andalusia—into his music. He also wrote for the piano in the idiom of the guitar. A comparison of his earlier, guitar-inspired works with his later ones,Partitura of the Suite Española (Spanish Suite) by Isaac Albéniz such as the Iberia Suite, reveals that the latter is noticeably more pianistic. Other noticeable differences arise in the formal construction of his works: the final section of his pieces alternated between the typical final movement of sonata form, folk melodies, and interludes and dances. With Iberia, a suite with extraordinary technical complexity, Albéniz’s music entered the twentieth century. It enriched his musical vocabulary, which became much more interesting not only to his usual fans and followers, but also to the general public. Albéniz was adept at combining elements of contemporary European music with both the Andalusian and popular Catalan musical idioms. Despite having these somewhat foreign elements, his music was enthusiastically accepted by his public.

Contracts for compositions:
From 1890 to 1893, Albéniz lived comfortably in London. During this time, in addition to continuing to compose for piano and giving concerts in London and other European cities, he wrote some successful operettas and songs which allowed him to become temporarilyIsaac Albéniz and Francis Money-Coutts (Lord Latymer) contracted as principal composer and director at the Prince of Wales Theatre.
In 1893, he was offered the post permanently, but he preferred to return to Barcelona, and subsequently to Paris. Albéniz was by this time a role model for those who seek to capitalize on genius. There was give-and-take between various English businessmen, bankers, and poets offering highly lucrative opportunities to set English poems and plays to music.
Finally, Albéniz met a wealthy English banker, Francis Money-Coutts (Lord Latymer), who as a hobby wrote dramatic poems, which we wished to set to music. The contract between Lord Latymer and Albéniz allowed the composer to achieve the financial stability much-needed by his family. This arrangement could be viewed in two ways: on the one hand, it brought economic solvency, which Albéniz greatly appreciated after the privations of the previous years. On the other hand, he fulfilled the terms of the contract with little inspiration and without the feeling that he had felt when he composed more artistically satisfying pieces in the past. Who kn
Isaac Albéniz reading a paperows whether if in those moments he longed for the time when one of those little jewels for piano that made him so popular would rise from his heart. Sadly, those jewels had little or no market value, despite Albéniz being one of the highest-paid musicians of the time.
These commissions were not easy for him. Albéniz could not find the sonorous magic of the solo piano in orchestral music, and his compositions had to strike a balance between the formalities demanded by certain instrumental parts and the inspiration he was supposed to find at a fixed price. Perhaps his fault lie in self-teaching: he obtained his academicism too much by force. To this period belongs his opera Pepita Jiménez, based on a work by Juan Valera. It enjoyed great success and was performed in Barcelona (1896), Prague (1897), Brussels (1905), and Paris (Opera-Comique, 1923).

His environment and the first signs of illness:
His musician friends (Fauré, Dukas, Granados, Malats, and Breton, among others) alwaysAlbéniz playing piano for a group of friends sought his point of view in informal gatherings. They always wanted his opinion on this or that detail—all in all, he was a recognized and respected personality.
This brilliant pianist always wanted to learn, always to learn, especially to learn enough to be able to compose for orchestra with the same sensibility and lightness as he did for piano. His music did not convey the time in which Albéniz lived. He had a negative vision of his era, reflected in the correspondence he maintained with his sister Clementina during his stay at the health resort in Plombières in the summer of 1898. This gloom was surely exacerbated by the fact that Albéniz’s health had already begun to show signs of deterioration.
Effectively coinciding with his thirty-sixth birthday, there appeared in his diary a long paragraph that reflected the state of man still in his youth, but already exhausted by the strains experienced so far in his life trajectory, engaged in self-reflection, trying to decide whether things had gone well or not—in short, feeling the insecurities everyone feels in solitude once the world’s applause and elegies fade away. Albéniz wrote these lines from his hotel in Prague, where he was rehearsing his opera, Pepita Jiménez.

Illness sets in:
Despite passing the years tortured by his illness, Albéniz did not stop composing with all theAlbéniz with Francis Money-Coutts and other friends will power in the world. For nearly twelve years, he suffered from Bright’s Disease (chronic nephritis), enduring periods of pain so acute that during a stay in England, he fell so gravely ill that unfounded rumors of his death began circulating.
Louis Bonafoux, a journalist for the Madrid Herald, wrote: “Albéniz’s kidneys are broken, but he has conserved all his inner strength and optimism, which stubbornly keep him alive, and, what is more, working!” This prolific Catalan could do nothing but work while his body fell increasingly ill. With this spirit, Albéniz turned from the world of interpretation to dedicate himself fully to composing.
Several works of greater and lesser scope remained only in draft form, though he completed several more, such as Merlin and La real hembra (The Royal Peahen) in 1902, Launcelot in 1904, and the twelve segments of Iberia in 1906. He continued to travel all over despite his physical suffering, but everyone has a limit.

His stay at the health resort in Cambo-les-bains and his death:
Following the recommendation of his doctors, on April 1, 1909 Albéniz left Paris, where he had been living, and with his family moved to the health resort in Cambo-les-bains (Pays Basque) to find a healthier climate.
This move brought it home that the end was near, and the prescribed doses of morphine that he self-administered scarcely alleviated his suffering. An emotional reunion took place in early May, when he received a visit from his admirer, Enric Granados, who brought him news from all of his friends. Debussy, Dukas, Fauré, d’Indy, and Granados himself had petitioned the French government to bestow the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor on Albéniz, and he would receive the decoration shortly. All these efforts were recounted in a letter Granados gave to the dying man. Then they embraced—according to witnesses—and neither could say anything through their emotion and tears. The
House in Cambo les Bains where Albéniz died doctor finally had to separate them. They then poured forth in a long and animated discussion in which Granados informed him of his latest musical events, mentioning his upcoming tour of the United States to introduce his works there. Albéniz asked him to play something on the piano. Granados sat down and began playing “La maja y el ruiseñor,” unpublished in those days, and while he played he wanted to surprise his friend Albeniz, so, without saying a word, he stopped playing his own music and launched into “Mallorca,” a little barcarolle the two friends had written during a trip to the Balearic Islands—a way to conjure memories without speaking. That day spent in Granados’ company was one of the last lucid days of Albéniz’s life.
He died at eight in the evening on May 18, 1909, only a few days before his forty-ninth birthday. His death was widely mourned, and his body stayed in Cambo-les-bains for a few days, where the prefect of the department of Bays-Pyrenees paid his homage and placed on his casket the Grand Cross of the Legion o
Burial of Isaac Albéniz in the Cimetery of Montjuïc in Barcelonaf Honor.
The funeral cortege left for Barcelona, where they arrived by train on June 5 at the Estació de França. The city paid tribute with a solemn reception ceremony that lasted until the next day. The Municipal Band of Barcelona played the Funeral March from Wagner’s Twilight of the Gods, the Orfeo Català performed passages from Fauré’s Requiem, Chopin’s Funeral March from his Sonata No. 2 was performed. . . . After the funeral solemnities, the cortege passed through the streets decked with Catalan flags flying at half mast and made an emotional stop in front of the Liceu. Hundreds of people gathered to give their condolences. Albéniz was later buried in Barcelona Montjuïc cemetery.
It is impossible not to stop and consider what further great things this universal Catalan would have achieved had his life not been cut tragically short.

Epitaph to Isaac Albéniz (by Federico García Lorca):

English Original Spanish version
This stone that we see raised
Over the grasses of death and dark clay
Guard shadow's lyre, sun's last rays,
Lonely, toppled urn of song.

From the salt of Cadiz to Granada
That builds of water an eternal wall
In an Andalusian horse with hard beat,
Your spirit cries out for the golden light.

Oh, sweet one dead too soon!
Oh, music and kindness interwoven!
Oh, goshawk pupil, wholesome heart!

The endless sky sleeps hung with snow
Dream winter of hearth fires, summer of grey
Sleep and forget your former life!

Esta piedra que vemos levantada
sobre hierbas de muerte y barro oscuro
guarda lira de sombra, sol maduro,
urna de canto sola y derramada.

Desde la sal de Cádiz a Granada
que erige en agua un perpetuo muro
en caballo andaluz de acento duro
tu sombra gime por la luz dorada.

¡Oh dulce muerto de pequeña mano
¡Oh música y bondad entretegida
¡Oh pupila de azor, corazon sano.

Duerme cielo sin fin nieve tendida
Sueña invierno de lumbre, gris verano
¡Duerme en olvido de tu vieja vida!

December 14, 1935

Reflections on the life and work of Albéniz:
Claude Debussy, from a long work on Iberian composers published four years after Albéniz’s death: “. . . we count among them the name of Isaac Albéniz, first an incomparable virtuoso, he acquired later a marvellous knowledge of the musical ‘métier’ . . . he knew how to resolve the melancholy, the special humor of his native land (he was Catalan) . . . in “El Albaicín” one can feel the atmosphere of Spanish afternoons redolent with the scents of brandy and carnations . . . mournful strains of guitars that complain of night . . . without exactly replicating the popular melodies, he has listened to them, he has drunk from them and transported them into his own music so seamlessly that one can hardly tell the difference between the folk tunes and his own inventions . . .”
Felip Pedrell said that “Albéniz felt music via telepathy with the piano keys.” The same composer later wrote in the Catalan Music Journal: “Dispositions like his cannot be taught, they are carried from birth, they are only guided, and even then only to a certain extent, so as not to constrain or spoil the gentle breeze of the crystalline waters of their innate intuition.”
Francis Planté, a renowned pianist, opined: “There are the great pianists . . . and the great pianist Isaac Albéniz.”
Arthur Rubenstein declared: “I found the composer who demands the best of my interpretive powers . . . Since then my greatest successes have been inextricably linked with the illustrious and respected name of Isaac Albéniz.”
Composer Joaquín Turina called him “a Catalan molded into an Andalusian.”

Obituaries:
Albéniz’s death shook the contemporary musical world, and the outpourings of grief at his passing multiplied. Below are only a few.
Tomás Bretón knew Albéniz well during his twenties, in Madrid. “A great artist has died, along with a good man. He was better known for the latter than the former . . . I have never known a more beautiful heart than that of Isaac Albéniz . . .” he wrote in an obituary on May 21, 1909, three days after his death, and he finished with a sigh: “Poor Isaac! God give him the glory that, in the opinion of those who esteemed and admired him, he deserves.”
Manuel de Falla, in a letter to Felip Pedrell from Paris on December 29, 1909, wrote: “What a great loss we have suffered with the death of Albéniz, and what a great artist he was!”
His colleague and friend Déodat de Séverac, who completed Albéniz’s “Navarra” in the Iberia Suite, was struck by the news of his death and published these words in the Musical Courier: “. . . you could not be close to him and not adore him, because he embodied generosity, loyalty, and friendship . . . all beautiful things, whether poetry, music, painting, sculpture, resonated with him in the depths of his heart . . . [his music] is as seductive as a orange blossom and as searing as the Spanish sun . . .

Isaac Albéniz Museum in Camprodon:
At this Museum there is a great deal of documentation concerning Albéniz, such as letter from the composer, original scores, manuscripts and editions thereof, books about him, personal artefacts, biographical data, paintings, portraits, photographs, videos, Isaac Albéniz and his wife bedroom, etc.
 

You can also see the Museum true treasures as his elder sister Clementina's upright piano - photo up right -, which he used to play his first notes when he has just 2 or 3 years old, and the magnificent Bechstein grand piano  wich Francis Money-Coutts, English patron and author of the librettos for Albéniz operas gave to Enriqueta, the composer's daughter in occasion of his wedding. The museum also helps to realise the importance of Albéniz friends, as Pau Casals, Alfred Cortot, Paul Debussy, Gabriel Fauré, Enric Granados, Cesar Frank, etc.
All of these objects recreate the atmosphere that made up Albéniz's life and have been donated to the Museum by the composer's descendants.
The Museum organizes every year an  important Music Festival with excellent players.
 

Address: Sant Roc Street, 22
17867 Camprodon
Phone: (+34) 972 74 11 66
e-mail: registre@ajcamprodon.com
Visits: Previous appointment and guided
Timing:  Monday to Friday:

Tuesday closed.
Saturday and Holidays:

Sunday afternoon closed.

Mornings from 11h. to 14h.
Afternoons from 16 h. to 19h.

Mornings from 11h. to 14h.
Afternoons from 16h. to 19h.

Fees:  Standard:  2,40 Euros.
Less of 18 years age and retired:  1,50 Euros.
Students with carnet:  1,50 Euros.
Groups with more of 20 persons:  1,50 Euros.
Less of 10 years age: NO fees.
Shop: Selling souvenirs, postal cards, scores, records, etc.

Text by Ricard Comas i Figueras
Translation to English by Catherine Phillips Crowe
Photos published under the authorisation of the Museu Isaac Albéniz of Camprodon (Catalonia).
We are grateful for the collaboration and help of the  Ajuntament of Camprodon, the Isaac Albéniz Museum Direction and Mrs. Marta Alberich.

Selected LINKS to other web sites on Isaac Albéniz i Pascual

-The Life of Isaac Albeniz  A large web on Isaac Albéniz. 
-Isaac Albeniz - an overview of the classical composer Interesting web on Albéniz including musical archives.  
-Isaac Albéniz i Pascual - Viquipèdia  Isaac Albéniz in Wikipèdia  
   and other languages.
-Classical Music Dictionary - Free MP3 Musical archives of Albéniz music. 
-
ALBENIZ, ISAAC Biography of Albéniz. 

 

Specific bibliography on Isaac Albéniz i Pascual

Title Author Published by Year
Isaac Albéniz: Portrait of a Romantic Aaron Clark, Walter Oxford UP   New York

Isaac Albéniz, un català universal

Amat Cortes, Joan Cevagraf, SCCL   Barcelona 1998
Albéniz Aviñoa, Xosé Edicions Daimon   Tarragona 1986
La música i el Modernisme Aviñoa, Xosé Curial 1985
Modernisme i Modernistes - Musica i Modernisme: Definició i Període - Aviñoa, Xosé Lunwerg editores 2001

Albéniz

Gauthier, André Espasa Calpe   Madrid 1978
Isaac Albéniz. Notas crítico-biográficas de tan eminente pianista Guerra y Alarcón, Antonio Fundación Isaac Albéniz   Madrid 1990
Vida de Albéniz Heras, Antonio de las Ediciones Patria   Barcelona 1942
Spanish Music in the Twentieth Century Marco, Thomas 1993
Síntesi històrica de la música catalana Martorell, Oriol / Valls, Manel Els llibres de la frontera   Sant Cugat del Vallès 1985

Albéniz, España en "suite"

Montero Alonso, José Editorial Silex   Madrid 1988
Concierto de Albéniz Pedrell, Felip Fundación Isaac Albéniz   Madrid 1990
Albéniz-Arbós, historia de una amistad Reverter, Arturo Scherzo   Madrid 1989
Albéniz Romero, Justo Edicions Península   Barcelona 2002

Isaac Albéniz

Ruiz Albéniz, Victor Comisaría General de Música   Madrid 1948
Isaac Albéniz y los albores del renacimiento musical en España Salazar, Adolfo Revista de Occidente   Madrid 1926
Retrats de Ramon Casas Sempronio Edicions Polígrafa, S.A.   Barcelona 1970
Imagen distanciada de un compositor-pianista Villalba, Luis Fundación Isaac Albéniz   Madrid 1990
 

Books on Isaac Albéniz

 
 

Music (Records) of Isaac Albéniz

 

 
   
 
Other Catalan Art Nouveau musicians:
Isaac ALBÉNIZ i Pascual  Enric GRANADOS i Campiña  Joan LAMOTE DE GRIGNON i Bocquet  Antoni Laporta i Astort  APEL·LES MESTRES i Oñós  Lluís MILLET i Pagès  Enric MORERA i Viura  Antoni NICOLAU i Parera  Jaume Pahissa i Jo  Felip Pedrell i Sabaté  Josep Ribas i Gabriel  Amadeu Vives i Roig 
 

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