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Isaac Albéniz

born: 29 May 1860
died: 18 May 1909
country: Spain

Born in 1860, near the French border in the Catalonian town of Camprodón, Albéniz was a phenomenal child prodigy who began touring Spain and Cuba as an itinerant piano virtuoso already in his early teens. He was not yet twenty when he finished his studies, avec distinction, at the Conservatoire Royal in Brussels. During the 1880s and ’90s, Albéniz emerged as a composer of originality and significance, creating a Spanish national style in such evergreen favourites as the Suite española, Recuerdos de viaje, and Cantos de España. In these musical travelogues for solo piano, Albéniz combined Romantic harmony with Spanish rhythm and melody to capture the allure of exotic peninsular locales, especially Granada, Sevilla and Córdoba.

However, despite the nationalist orientation of his music, Albéniz felt increasingly disenchanted with the conservative politics, religion, and cultural backwardness of Spain. So, in 1890 he moved to London, and four years later to Paris, which remained his principal residence for the rest of his life. Under the influence of French music, Albéniz’s style underwent a dramatic transformation.


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