7 Sep 2015

Albeniz - Fact or Fiction

From Composer of the Week, 9:00 am on 7 September 2015

Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909) was not a man to let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Many of the anecdotes he loved to tell about his own life were highly exaggerated or simply made up.

But what about his music?

Isaac Albeniz

Isaac Albeniz Photo: Esplugas, Public Domain

In conversation with Des Wilson, Elric Hooper explores the music left behind by this brilliant Spanish pianist, who wrote for his own instrument as well as for the theatre.

Though in his earlier years, Albeniz wrote many compositions for piano and piano and orchestra, works of great skill and charm, works like the graceful Suite Espagnole, nothing approaches the inspiration of Iberia for Iberia is no collection of tourist postcards of Spain but a deeply felt and at times amused series of portraits of Spanish life and landscapes.

Whatever we may think of Albeniz's myth making about himself, it seems clear that, first of all, he was a brilliant pianist, whose delicacy of touch and virtuosity stunned his contemporaries and secondly the charm of his personality and his generosity both in affection and hard cash made him beloved of a large circle of friends. His powers as a hilarious raconteur is probably connected to the wild stories he told about his early life.

Music Details:

ALBENIZ       Iberia - El Puerto - Decca 417 887

ALBENIZ       Free Free Free! - Decca 467 096

ALBENIZ       Alb_Suite Espagnole, Sevilla [ 01 ]

ALBENIZ       Herodia's daughter dancing - Decca 417 887

ALBENIZ       Henry Clifford_Lovely vision... - Decca 473 937

ALBENIZ       Pepita Jiminez_All is ready - 477 6234

ALBENIZ       Fools! By Merlin mastered! -  Decca 467 096

ALBENIZ       Triana from Iberia - Naxos 8.553023

ALBENIZ       Triana from Iberia - Decca 417 887 Triana from Iberia