Isaac Albéniz

España, album leaves (6) for piano, Op. 165, B. 37

    Description by Patsy Morita

    Albéniz's popular set of six album leaves, España, is the acme of his salon piano compositions. None of the pieces is longer than approximately four minutes, and none has the technical challenges and intricate textures of his masterpiece Iberia. The rhythms, modal harmonies, and subtle dramatics of its simple lines so completely evoke Spain that anything more would be gilding the lily. Together, the six pieces could be viewed as Albéniz's take on the traditional keyboard suite, made up as it is of a prelude followed by dances with a couple of non-dance movements thrown in. The prelude is really an introduction in the sense that its opening phrases sound like a ceremonial fanfare announcement. In between these are phrases where the changing harmonies of triplets split between the hands foreshadow what's to come in the Malagueña later. The second album leaf is the famous Tango in D, Albéniz's most recognized melody, frequently transcribed for other instruments. The Malagueña places the fandango rhythm in the right hand and the melody in the left hand. The fourth piece, Serenata, alternates playful staccato phrases with more legato, song-like melodies while frequently changing harmonies color its expressions. Fifth is the Capricho Catalan, a delicate song played almost entirely in parallel thirds over a constant offbeat accompaniment. The last piece is a Basque dance in 5/8 meter, the Zortzico. It has a distinctive, dotted-rhythm device that covers the second and third beats of each measure, and often the fourth and fifth also, normally beat out on a drum.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Preludio, in D minor/A Phrygian
    2. Tango, in D major
    3. Malagueña, in E minor/B Phrygian
    4. Serenata, in G minor
    5. Capricho Catalén, in E flat major
    6. Zortzico, in E major

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2014 Naxos 8573295
    2013 Apex 2564651785
    2013 Warner Classics 381703
    2012 MDG MDG 9031739
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2012 Piano Classics PCL 0031
    2012 Brilliant Classics 9255
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099968582
    2008 EMI Classics 501357
    2007 ZYX Music 1080
    2006 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0946341682
    2005 Brilliant 92398
    2003 ZYX Music 4183
    2001 BIS 1143
    2001 Teldec 81703
    2001 Tacet 109
    2000 Ensayo 9731
    2000 Columbia River Entertainment Group 150009
    1999 Calliope 9222
    1998 Columbia River Entertainment Group 1167
    1997 Channel Classics CCS10397
    1996 Carlton 00042
    1995 Iago Music 202
    1993 Centaur Records 2026
    Horacio Nuguid