Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin was a Russian composer and pianist. Scriabin, influenced early in his life by the works of Frédéric Chopin, composed works that are characterised by a tonal idiom. In his career, independently of Arnold Schoenberg, Scriabin developed a atonal and much more dissonant musical system, which accorded with his personal brand of mysticism. Scriabin was influenced by synesthesia, associated colours with the various harmonic tones of his atonal scale, while his colour-coded circle of fifths was influenced by theosophy, he is considered by some to be the main Russian Symbolist composer. Scriabin was one of the most controversial of early modern composers; the Great Soviet Encyclopedia said of Scriabin that "no composer has had more scorn heaped on him or greater love bestowed." Leo Tolstoy described Scriabin's music as "a sincere expression of genius." Scriabin had a major impact on the music world over time, influenced composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev, Nikolai Roslavets.
However Scriabin's importance in the Russian and Soviet musical scene, internationally, drastically declined after his death. According to his biographer Bowers, "No one was more famous during their lifetime, few were more ignored after death." His musical aesthetics have been reevaluated, his ten published sonatas for piano, which arguably provided the most consistent contribution to the genre since the time of Beethoven's set, have been championed. Scriabin was born in Moscow into a Russian noble family on Christmas Day 1871 according to the Julian Calendar, his father Nikolai Aleksandrovich Scriabin a student at the Moscow State University, belonged to a modest noble family founded by Scriabin's great-grandfather Ivan Alekseevich Scriabin, a simple soldier from Tula who made a brilliant military career and was granted hereditary nobility in 1819. Alexander's paternal grandmother Elizaveta Ivanovna Podchertkova, daughter of a captain lieutenant Ivan Vasilievich Podchertkov, came from a wealthy noble house of the Novgorod Governorate.
His mother Lyubov Petrovna Scriabina was a concert pianist and a former student of Theodor Leschetizky. She belonged to the ancient dynasty, she died of tuberculosis. After her death Nikolai Scriabin completed tuition in the Turkish language in St. Petersburg's Institute of Oriental Languages and left for Turkey. Like all of his relatives, he followed a military path and served as a military attaché in the status of Active State Councillor. Alexander's father left the infant Sasha with his grandmother, great aunt, aunt. Scriabin's father would remarry, giving Scriabin a number of half-brothers and sisters, his aunt Lyubov was an amateur pianist who documented Sasha's early life until the time he met his first wife. As a child, Scriabin was exposed to piano playing, anecdotal references describe him demanding that his aunt play for him. Precocious, Scriabin began building pianos after being fascinated with piano mechanisms, he sometimes gave away pianos. Lyubov portrays Scriabin as shy and unsociable with his peers, but appreciative of adult attention.
Another anecdote tells of Scriabin trying to conduct an orchestra composed of local children, an attempt that ended in frustration and tears. He would perform his own amateur operas with puppets to willing audiences, he studied the piano from an early age, taking lessons with Nikolai Zverev, a strict disciplinarian, the teacher of Sergei Rachmaninoff and other piano prodigies concurrently, though Scriabin was not a pensioner like Rachmaninoff. In 1882 he enlisted in the Second Moscow Cadet Corps; as a student, he became friends with the actor Leonid Limontov, although in his memoirs Limontov recalls his reluctance to become friends with Scriabin, the smallest and weakest among all the boys and was sometimes teased due to his stature. However, Scriabin won his peers' approval at a concert, he ranked first in his class academically, but was exempt from drilling due to his physique and was given time each day to practise at the piano. Scriabin studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Anton Arensky, Sergei Taneyev, Vasily Safonov.
He became a noted pianist despite his small hands, which could stretch to a ninth. Feeling challenged by Josef Lhévinne, he damaged his right hand while practicing Franz Liszt's Réminiscences de Don Juan and Mily Balakirev's Islamey, his doctor said he would never recover, he wrote his first large-scale masterpiece, his Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor, as a "cry against God, against fate." It was the first to which he gave an opus number. He regained the use of his hand. In 1892 he graduated with the Little Gold Medal in piano performance, but did not complete a composition degree because of strong differences in personality and musical opinion with Arensky and an unwi
Baroque music is a period or style of Western art music composed from 1600 to 1750. This era followed the Renaissance music era, was followed in turn by the Classical era. Baroque music forms a major portion of the "classical music" canon, is now studied and listened to. Key composers of the Baroque era include Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Claudio Monteverdi, Domenico Scarlatti, Alessandro Scarlatti, Henry Purcell, Georg Philipp Telemann, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Arcangelo Corelli, Tomaso Albinoni, François Couperin, Giuseppe Tartini, Heinrich Schütz, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Dieterich Buxtehude, Johann Pachelbel; the Baroque period saw the creation of common-practice tonality, an approach to writing music in which a song or piece is written in a particular key. During the Baroque era, professional musicians were expected to be accomplished improvisers of both solo melodic lines and accompaniment parts. Baroque concerts were accompanied by a basso continuo group while a group of bass instruments—viol, double bass—played the bassline.
A characteristic Baroque form was the dance suite. While the pieces in a dance suite were inspired by actual dance music, dance suites were designed purely for listening, not for accompanying dancers. During the period and performers used more elaborate musical ornamentation, made changes in musical notation, developed new instrumental playing techniques. Baroque music expanded the size and complexity of instrumental performance, established the mixed vocal/instrumental forms of opera and oratorio and the instrumental forms of the solo concerto and sonata as musical genres. Many musical terms and concepts from this era, such as toccata and concerto grosso are still in use in the 2010s. Dense, complex polyphonic music, in which multiple independent melody lines were performed was an important part of many Baroque choral and instrumental works; the term "baroque" comes from the Portuguese word barroco, meaning "misshapen pearl". Negative connotations of the term first occurred in 1734, in a criticism of an opera by Jean-Philippe Rameau, in a description by Charles de Brosses of the ornate and ornamented architecture of the Pamphili Palace in Rome.
Although the term continued to be applied to architecture and art criticism through the 19th century, it was not until the 20th century that the term "baroque" was adopted from Heinrich Wölfflin's art-history vocabulary to designate a historical period in music. The term "baroque" is used by music historians to describe a broad range of styles from a wide geographic region in Europe, composed over a period of 150 years. Although it was long thought that the word as a critical term was first applied to architecture, in fact it appears earlier in reference to music, in an anonymous, satirical review of the première in October 1733 of Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie, printed in the Mercure de France in May 1734; the critic implied that the novelty in this opera was "du barocque", complaining that the music lacked coherent melody, was filled with unremitting dissonances changed key and meter, speedily ran through every compositional device. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a musician and composer as well as philosopher, wrote in 1768 in the Encyclopédie: "Baroque music is that in which the harmony is confused, loaded with modulations and dissonances.
The singing is harsh and unnatural, the intonation difficult, the movement limited. It appears that term comes from the word'baroco' used by logicians." Rousseau was referring to the philosophical term baroco, in use since the 13th century to describe a type of elaborate and, for some, unnecessarily complicated academic argument. The systematic application by historians of the term "baroque" to music of this period is a recent development. In 1919, Curt Sachs became the first to apply the five characteristics of Heinrich Wölfflin's theory of the Baroque systematically to music. Critics were quick to question the attempt to transpose Wölfflin's categories to music, in the second quarter of the 20th century independent attempts were made by Manfred Bukofzer and by Suzanne Clercx-Lejeune to use autonomous, technical analysis rather than comparative abstractions, in order to avoid the adaptation of theories based on the plastic arts and literature to music. All of these efforts resulted in appreciable disagreement about time boundaries of the period concerning when it began.
In English the term acquired currency only in the 1940s, in the writings of Bukofzer and Paul Henry Lang. As late as 1960, there was still considerable dispute in academic circles in France and Britain, whether it was meaningful to lump together music as diverse as that of Jacopo Peri, Domenico Scarlatti, Johann Sebastian Bach under a single rubric; the term has become used and accepted for this broad range of music. It may be helpful to distinguish the Baroque from both the preceding and following periods of musical history; the Baroque perio
François Lesure was a French librarian and musicologist. François Lesure studied at the Sorbonne, the École nationale des chartes, the École pratique des hautes études and the Conservatoire de Paris. In 1950, he became curator in the music department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, which he directed from 1970 to 1988. Between 1964 and 1977, he was appointed professor of musicology at the Université libre de Bruxelles, he succeeded Solange Corbin to the chair of musicology at the École pratique des Hautes Études in 1973. François Lesure organized major exhibitions at the Bibliothèque nationale and the Opéra de Paris and at the Villa Médicis in Rome, he is known as a specialist in 16th-century music, music sociology, music bibliography and Debussy. He was president of the Société française de musicologie from 1971 to 1974 and from 1988 to 1991. Between 1953 and 1967 he worked at the Central Secretariat of the RISM, a global project for the identification of musical sources, he has edited several volumes in the RISM collections.
Still in the publishing field, he directed the series Le Pupitre at Heugel, devoted to early music scores, the series Domaine musical at Les Amateurs de Livres at Klincksieck. He was editor of Claude Debussy's "complete works". A volume of Festschriften was offered to him in 1988 upon his departure from the Bibliothèque Nationale, entitled Musiques, images, which gathered signatures both international and from researchers or artists in various fields. Anthologie de la chanson parisienne au XVIe With Tillman Merritt: Clément Janequin, Chansons polyphoniques. With Geneviève Thibault: Bibliographie des éditions musicales publiées par Nicolas Du Chemin. In Annales musicologiques 1 + suppl. With Geneviève Thibault: Bibliographie des éditions d'Adrian Le Roy et Robert Ballard. Paris: Société française de musicologie, 1955; some minor french composers of the sixteenth century, in Aspects of Medieval and Renaissance Music, ed. Jan LaRue. Musique et musiciens français du XVIe, Minkoff, 1976. La Facture instrumentale à Paris au seizième siècle, in The Galpin Society Journal 7.
Les luthistes parisiens à l'époque de Louis XIII. In Le luth et sa musique. Second edition corrected. - Paris, 1976.. Documents inédits relatifs au luthiste Gabriel Bataille. In Revue de musicologie 29. Die Terpsichore von Michael Praetorius und die französische Instrumentalmusik unter Heinrich IV, in Die Musikforschung 5. Le Recueil de ballets de Michel Henry, in Jean Jacquot Les Fêtes de la Renaissance Inventaire des livres de musique de la Chapelle royale de Bruxelles en 1607. In Revue belge de Musicologie 5. Histoire d'une édition posthume: les Airs de Sébastien Le Camus. In Revue belge de Musicologie, 8. Bibliographie des éditions musicales publiées par Estienne Roger et Michel-Charles le Cène. Paris, 1969. Dictionnaire des éditeurs de musique français, with Anik Devriès RISM B/I: Recueils imprimés XVIe–XVIIe, under the direction of F. Lesure. Munich, 1960. RISM B/II: Recueils imprimés XVIIIe, under the direction of F. Lesure. Munich, 1964. With a supplément in Notes Second Series 28/3.. Catalogue des œuvres, with an overview of all Debussy's compositions Iconographie et lettres by Debussy Claude Debussy avant "Pelléas" ou les Années symbolistes Claude Debussy, biography.
Dictionnaire musical des villes de province Pour une sociologie historique. In Report of the Eighth Congress of the International Musicological Society, Kassel, 1961, François Lesure on Symétrie Laurent Guillo. Archives seiziémistes de François Lesure: inventaire et transcription partielle. PDF, 179 p. Paris, May 2017. Available on NAKALA: Archives seiziémistes de François Lesure: inventaire et transcription partielle François Lesure on Fayard François Lesure on Encyclopedia Universalis François Lesure on Book-Node Musicologie by François Lesure on Persée François Lesure on AbeBooks Catalogue François Lesure des œuvres de Claude Debussy on Musicbrainz
Paul Abraham Dukas was a French composer, critic and teacher. A studious man, of retiring personality, he was intensely self-critical, he abandoned and destroyed many of his compositions, his best known work is the orchestral piece The Sorcerer's Apprentice, the fame of which has eclipsed that of his other surviving works. Among these are the opera Ariane et Barbe-bleue, a symphony, two substantial works for solo piano, a ballet, La Péri. At a time when French musicians were divided into conservative and progressive factions, Dukas adhered to neither but retained the admiration of both, his compositions were influenced by composers including Beethoven, Franck, d'Indy and Debussy. In tandem with his composing career, Dukas worked as a music critic, contributing regular reviews to at least five French journals. In his life he was appointed professor of composition at the Conservatoire de Paris and the École Normale de Musique. Dukas was born in the second son in a Jewish family of three children.
His father, Jules Dukas, was a banker, his mother, Eugénie, was a capable pianist. When Dukas was five years old, his mother died giving birth to Marguerite-Lucie. Dukas took piano lessons, but showed no unusual musical talent until he was 14 when he began to compose while recovering from an illness, he entered the Conservatoire de Paris at the end of 1881, aged 16, studied piano with Georges Mathias, harmony with Théodore Dubois and composition with Ernest Guiraud. Among his fellow students was Claude Debussy, with whom Dukas formed a close friendship. Two early overtures survive from Goetz de Berlichingen and Le Roi Lear; the manuscript of the latter was rediscovered in the 1990s and the work was performed for the first time in 1995. Dukas won several prizes, including the second place in the Conservatoire's most prestigious award, the Prix de Rome, for his cantata Velléda in 1888. Disappointed at his failure to win the top prize, he left the Conservatoire in 1889. After compulsory military service he began a dual career as a music critic.
Dukas's career as a critic began in 1892 with a review of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen conducted by Gustav Mahler at Covent Garden in London. His review was published in La Revue Hebdomadaire, his Parisian debut as composer was a performance of his overture Polyeucte, written in 1891 and premiered by Charles Lamoureux and his Orchestre Lamoureux in January 1892. Based on a tragedy by Corneille, the work, like many French works of the period, shows the influence of Wagner, but is coherent and displays some individuality. Although Dukas wrote a fair amount of music, he was a perfectionist and destroyed many of his pieces out of dissatisfaction with them. Only a few of his compositions remain. After Polyeucte, he began writing an opera in 1892, he wrote his own libretto, Horn et Riemenhild, but he composed only one act, "realising too late that the work's developments were more literary than musical". The Symphony in C major was composed in 1895 -- 96, it is dedicated to Paul Vidal, had its first performance in January 1896, under the direction of the dedicatee.
In a study of Dukas published towards the end of the composer's life, Irving Schwerké wrote, "The work … is an opulent expression of modernism in classical form. Its ideational luxuriance, nobility of utterance and architectural solidity mark it as one of the most conspicuous achievements of contemporaneous writing, magnificently refute the prevalent notion that no French composer has produced a great symphony." Like Franck's only symphony, Dukas's is in three movements rather than the conventional four. Schwerké wrote of it: Expressed in an individual and spontaneous idiom, the Symphony in C gives free play to the author's creative spirit and to his fund of exalted emotion; the high-spirited, impetuous first movement, Allegro non troppo vivace is intensely rhythmic. Its logical structure, strong thematic material, polyphonic richness and virile instrumentation combine to create an exhilarating effect of life and pageant color; the second movement, Andante, in sharp contrast to the first, reveals the perfect finish of the composer's style and the ineffable charm of his melody.
The robust last movement, Allegro spiritoso, so verdant in instrumentation, brings the symphony to a vigorous close. The work received a mixed reception at its first performance. Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht known as a conductor, was a member of the orchestra at the premiere, wrote, "the work which nowadays seems to us so lucid aroused not only the protestations of the public, but those of the musicians of the orchestra." The symphony was better received when the Lamoureux Orchestra revived it in 1902. The symphony was followed by another orchestral work, by far the best known of Dukas's compositions, his scherzo for orchestra, L'apprenti sorcier, a short piece based on Goethe's poem "Der Zauberlehrling". During Dukas's lifetime The Musical Quarterly commented that the world fame of the work not only overshadowed all other compositions by Dukas, but eclipsed Goethe's original poem; the popularity of the piece became a matter of irritation to Dukas. In 2011, the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians observed, "The popularity of L'apprenti sorcier and the exhilarating film version of it in Disney's Fantasia hindered a fuller understanding of Dukas, as that single work is far better known than its
Classical period (music)
The Classical period was an era of classical music between 1730 and 1820. The Classical period falls between the Romantic periods. Classical music is less complex, it is homophonic, using a clear melody line over a subordinate chordal accompaniment, but counterpoint was by no means forgotten later in the period. It makes use of style galant which emphasized light elegance in place of the Baroque's dignified seriousness and impressive grandeur. Variety and contrast within a piece became more pronounced than before and the orchestra increased in size and power; the harpsichord was replaced as the main keyboard instrument by the piano. Unlike the harpsichord, which plucked strings with quills, pianos strike the strings with leather-covered hammers when the keys are pressed, which enables the performer to play louder or softer and play with more expression. Instrumental music was considered important by Classical period composers; the main kinds of instrumental music were the sonata, string quartet and the solo concerto, which featured a virtuoso solo performer playing a solo work for violin, flute, or another instrument, accompanied by an orchestra.
Vocal music, such as songs for a singer and piano, choral works, opera were important during this period. The best-known composers from this period are Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert. Ludwig van Beethoven is regarded either as a Romantic composer or a Classical period composer, part of the transition to the Romantic era. Franz Schubert is a transitional figure, as were Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Luigi Cherubini, Gaspare Spontini, Gioachino Rossini, Carl Maria von Weber; the period is sometimes referred to as the era of Viennese Classic or Classicism, since Gluck, Haydn, Salieri and Beethoven all worked in Vienna. In the middle of the 18th century, Europe began to move toward a new style in architecture and the arts known as Classicism; this style sought to emulate the ideals of Classical antiquity those of Classical Greece. Classical music used formality and emphasis on order and hierarchy, a "clearer", "cleaner" style that used clearer divisions between parts, brighter contrasts and "tone colors".
In contrast with the richly layered music of the Baroque era, Classical music moved towards simplicity rather than complexity. In addition, the typical size of orchestras began to increase, giving orchestras a more powerful sound; the remarkable development of ideas in "natural philosophy" had established itself in the public consciousness. In particular, Newton's physics was taken as a paradigm: structures should be well-founded in axioms and be both well-articulated and orderly; this taste for structural clarity began to affect music, which moved away from the layered polyphony of the Baroque period toward a style known as homophony, in which the melody is played over a subordinate harmony. This move meant that chords became a much more prevalent feature of music if they interrupted the melodic smoothness of a single part; as a result, the tonal structure of a piece of music became more audible. The new style was encouraged by changes in the economic order and social structure; as the 18th century progressed, the nobility became the primary patrons of instrumental music, while public taste preferred lighter, funny comic operas.
This led to changes in the way music was performed, the most crucial of, the move to standard instrumental groups and the reduction in the importance of the continuo—the rhythmic and harmonic groundwork of a piece of music played by a keyboard and accompanied by a varied group of bass instruments, including cello, double bass, bass viol, theorbo. One way to trace the decline of the continuo and its figured chords is to examine the disappearance of the term obbligato, meaning a mandatory instrumental part in a work of chamber music. In Baroque compositions, additional instruments could be added to the continuo group according to the group or leader's preference. By 1800, basso continuo was extinct, except for the occasional use of a pipe organ continuo part in a religious Mass in the early 1800s. Economic changes had the effect of altering the balance of availability and quality of musicians. While in the late Baroque, a major composer would have the entire musical resources of a town to draw on, the musical forces available at an aristocratic hunting lodge or small court were smaller and more fixed in their level of ability.
This was a spur to having simpler parts for ensemble musicians to play, in the case of a resident virtuoso group, a spur to writing spectacular, idiomatic parts for certain instruments, as in the case of the Mannheim orchestra, or virtuoso solo parts for skilled violinists or flautists. In addition, the appetite by audiences for a continual supply of new music carried over from the Baroque; this meant that works had to be performable with, at best, one or two r
A symphonic poem or tone poem is a piece of orchestral music in a single continuous movement, which illustrates or evokes the content of a poem, short story, painting, landscape, or other source. The German term Tondichtung appears to have been first used by the composer Carl Loewe in 1828; the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt first applied the term Symphonische Dichtung to his 13 works in this vein. While many symphonic poems may compare in size and scale to symphonic movements, they are unlike traditional classical symphonic movements, in that their music is intended to inspire listeners to imagine or consider scenes, specific ideas or moods, not to focus on following traditional patterns of musical form such as sonata form; this intention to inspire listeners was a direct consequence of Romanticism, which encouraged literary and dramatic associations in music. According to Hugh Macdonald, the symphonic poem met three 19th-century aesthetic goals: it related music to outside sources; the symphonic poem remained a popular composition form from the 1840s until the 1920s, when composers began to abandon the genre.
Some piano and chamber works, such as Arnold Schoenberg's string sextet Verklärte Nacht, have similarities with symphonic poems in their overall intent and effect. However, the term symphonic poem is accepted to refer to orchestral works. A symphonic poem may stand on its own, or it can be part of a series combined into a symphonic suite or cycle. For example, The Swan of Tuonela is a tone poem from Jean Sibelius's Lemminkäinen Suite, Vltava by Bedřich Smetana is part of the six-work cycle Má vlast. While the terms symphonic poem and tone poem have been used interchangeably, some composers such as Richard Strauss and Jean Sibelius have preferred the latter term for their works; the first use of the German term Tondichtung appears to have been by Carl Loewe, applied not to an orchestral work but to his piece for piano solo, Mazeppa, Op. 27, based on the poem of that name by Lord Byron, written twelve years before Liszt treated the same subject orchestrally. The musicologist Mark Bonds suggests that in the second quarter of the 19th century, the future of the symphonic genre seemed uncertain.
While many composers continued to write symphonies during the 1820s and 30s, "there was a growing sense that these works were aesthetically far inferior to Beethoven's.... The real question was not so much whether symphonies could still be written, but whether the genre could continue to flourish and grow". Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann and Niels Gade achieved successes with their symphonies, putting at least a temporary stop to the debate as to whether the genre was dead. Composers began to explore the "more compact form" of the concert overture "...as a vehicle within which to blend musical and pictoral ideas." Examples included Mendelssohn's overtures The Hebrides. Between 1845 and 1847, the Belgian composer César Franck wrote an orchestral piece based on Victor Hugo's poem Ce qu'on entend sur la montagne; the work exhibits characteristics of a symphonic poem, some musicologists, such as Norman Demuth and Julien Tiersot, consider it the first of its genre, preceding Liszt's compositions.
However, Franck did not perform his piece. Liszt's determination to explore and promote the symphonic poem gained him recognition as the genre's inventor; the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt desired to expand single-movement works beyond the concert overture form. The music of overtures is to inspire listeners to imagine images, or moods; the opening movement, with its interplay of contrasting themes under sonata form, was considered the most important part of the symphony. To achieve his objectives, Liszt needed a more flexible method of developing musical themes than sonata form would allow, but one that would preserve the overall unity of a musical composition. Liszt found his method through two compositional practices; the first practice was cyclic form, a procedure established by Beethoven in which certain movements are not only linked but reflect one another's content. Liszt took Beethoven's practice one step further, combining separate movements into a single-movement cyclic structure. Many of Liszt's mature works follow this pattern, of which Les Préludes is one of the best-known examples.
The second practice was thematic transformation, a type of variation in which one theme is changed, not into a related or subsidiary theme but into something new and independent. As musicologist Hugh Macdonald wrote of Liszt's works in this genre, the intent was "to display the traditional logic of symphonic thought. Thematic transformation, like cyclic form, was nothing new in itself, it had been used by Mozart and Haydn. In the final movement of his Ninth Symphony, Beethoven had transformed the theme of the "Ode to Joy" into a Turkish march. Weber and Berlioz had transformed themes, Schubert used thematic transformation to bind together the movements of his Wanderer Fantasy
Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual was a Spanish virtuoso pianist and conductor. He is one of the foremost composers of the Post-Romantic era who had a significant influence on his contemporaries and younger composers, he is best known for his piano works based on Spanish folk music idioms. Transcriptions of many of his pieces, such as Asturias, Sevilla, Cadiz, Córdoba, Cataluña, the Tango in D, are important pieces for classical guitar, though he never composed for the guitar; the personal papers of Albéniz are preserved, among other institutions, in the Biblioteca de Catalunya. Born in Camprodon, province of Girona, to Ángel Albéniz and his wife, Dolors Pascual, Albéniz was a child prodigy who first performed at the age of four. At age seven, after taking lessons from Antoine François Marmontel, he passed the entrance examination for piano at the Conservatoire de Paris, but he was refused admission because he was believed to be too young. By the time he had reached 12, he had made many attempts to run away from home.
His concert career began at the age of nine when his father toured both Isaac and his sister, throughout northern Spain. A popular myth is, he found himself in Cuba to the United States, giving concerts in New York and San Francisco and travelled to Liverpool and Leipzig. By age 15, he had given concerts worldwide; this story is not false, Albéniz did travel the world as a performer. This can be attested by comparing Isaac's concert dates with his father's travel itinerary. In 1876, after a short stay at the Leipzig Conservatory, he went to study at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels after King Alfonso's personal secretary, Guillermo Morphy, obtained him a royal grant. Count Morphy thought of Albéniz, who would dedicate Sevilla to Morphy's wife when it premiered in Paris in January 1886. In 1880 Albéniz went to Budapest, Hungary, to study with Franz Liszt, only to find out that Liszt was in Weimar, Germany. In 1883 he met the teacher and composer Felip Pedrell, who inspired him to write Spanish music such as the Chants d'Espagne.
The first movement of that suite retitled after the composer's death as Asturias, is most famous today as part of the classical guitar repertoire though it was composed for piano. At the 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition, the piano manufacturer Érard sponsored a series of 20 concerts featuring Albéniz's music; the apex of Albéniz's concert career is considered to be 1889 to 1892 when he had concert tours throughout Europe. During the 1890s Albéniz lived in Paris. For London he wrote some musical comedies which brought him to the attention of the wealthy Francis Money-Coutts, 5th Baron Latymer. Money-Coutts commissioned and provided him with librettos for the opera Henry Clifford and for a projected trilogy of Arthurian operas; the first of these, was thought to have been lost but has been reconstructed and performed. Albéniz never completed Lancelot, he never began Guinevere, the final part. In 1900 he returned to writing piano music. Between 1905 and 1908 he composed his final masterpiece, Iberia, a suite of twelve piano "impressions".
In 1883 the composer married his student Rosina Jordana. They had three children: Blanca and Alfonso. Two other children died in infancy, his great-granddaughter is former wife of Nicolas Sarkozy. Albéniz died from his kidney disease on 18 May 1909 at age 48 in Cambo-les-Bains, in Labourd, south-western France. Only a few weeks before his death, the government of France awarded Albéniz its highest honor, the Grand-Croix de la Légion d'honneur, he is buried at the Montjuïc Barcelona. Albéniz's early works were "salon style" music. Albéniz's first published composition, Marcha Militar, appeared in 1868. A number of works written before this are now lost, he continued composing in traditional styles ranging from Jean-Philippe Rameau, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt until the mid-1880s. He wrote at least five zarzuelas, of which all but two are now lost; the best source on the works is Albéniz himself. He is quoted as commenting on his earlier period works as:There are among them a few things that are not worthless.
The music is a bit infantile, spirited. I believe that the people are right when they continue to be moved by Córdoba, Mallorca, by the copla of the Sevillanas, by the Serenata, Granada. In all of them I now note that there is less musical science, less of the grand idea, but more color, flavor of olives; that music of youth, with its little sins and absurdities that point out the sentimental affectation... appears to me like the carvings in the Alhambra, those peculiar arabesques that say nothing with their turns and shapes, but which are like the air, like the sun, like the blackbirds or like the nightingales of its gardens. They are more valuable than all else of Moorish Spain, which though we may not like it, is the true Spain. During the late 1880s, the strong influence of Spanish sty