Isaac Albeniz was a Catalan composer and virtuoso pianist.
He was one of the main proponents of a Spanish national style of composition.
Best known for his piano works, many of which have been arranged by others for guitar and/or orchestra.-Family
To see some photos of his family and friends visit La guitarra balear
Spelling: The correct spelling is Albéniz with an acute accent over the e, especially in Spanish speaking countries. However it is more common, and perfectly correct, in other countries to omit the accent.
The final 'z' should be pronounced as a 'th' sound as in 'thanks'.
5 operas including:
- Henry Clifford
- Pepita Jiménez
Many works for the piano including:
- Suite Espagnola (8 pieces)
- Espagna (6 pieces)
- Iberia (12 pieces)
Orchestral works including:
- 2 piano concertos
Isaac Albeniz was a kind, cheerful and generous man with a keen sense of humour (and a taste for cigars). Every one that knew him liked and respected him.
Besides being a serious concert pianist he liked entertaining and produced various works for the stage including operas. He showed off tricks such as playing with his back to the piano or with the keyboard covered with a cloth.
Isaac was a child prodigy.
Age 4 - First public performance in Barcelona.
Isaac and his family moved all over Spain due to his father's job in the post office.
Age 6 - Studied in Paris for 9 months
Age 8 - Studied at Madrid conservatory
Age 14- His sister committed suicide
Age 15 - Father posted to Puerto Rico and Cuba. Isaac gave concerts in South America and Cuba.
Legend has it that he ran away from home and stowed away on a boat to Buenos Aires and then earned a living playing the piano in bars. The truth however is that he accompanied his father.
Age 16 - Returned to Madrid. Given a Royal scholarship to study in Brussels. From this time he became independent of his parents.
Age 23 - Moved to Barcelona where he met and studied with Felipe Pedrell, a great Catalan musician and scholar, who inspired him to study Spanish folklore and national music.
Age 23 - Tour of South America. Back in Barcelona he married one of his students - Rosita Jordana. A happy and successful marriage.
Age 29 - A very successful stay in London where he gave several concerts.
Age 29-32 - Toured Europe giving concerts in Germany, Austria, Belgium and France. He lived in Paris, Brussels, Nice, Leipzig and other towns.
Age 30-33 - Lived in London. Appointed composer and conductor at Prince of Wales Theatre. Met the banker Francis Money-Coutts who commissioned him to put his poems and librettos to music.
Age 33 - Moved to Paris. Made friends with Faure, Dukas, Granados, Breton.
Age 40 - His kidney problems (Bright's disease) became more serious causing him extreme pain and which eventually killed him.
Age 48 - Moved from Nice to the Basque health resort of Campo-les-Bains where he died. A few days before he died he had a visit from his friend and fellow composer Rodrigo who told him that he was to receive the French Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.
He is buried in the Montjuïc cemetery in Barcelona.
Albéniz is a 1947 black-and-white Argentine Silver Condor award-winning biographical drama film directed by Luis César Amadori.
You can watch it on YouTube. It is in Spanish, the quality is not very good and it is split into 10 sections but great that it is available to fans. I have not been able to find it for sale anywhere. Let me know if you find it.
Here is a link to to part 3/10 You will find the other parts if you go to Youtube.
The Washington Post has printed a glowing tribute/obituary
At the start of the 20th century, he tried very hard to establish himself as an opera composer. Living in London, he composed three operas in collaboration with Money-Coutts (heir to a banking fortune, and Albéniz's sole patron from July 1894 onward), of which Merlin was the most ambitious. It was intended as the first part of a huge trilogy of Arthurian legends