Author Topic: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)  (Read 256 times)

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Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« on: June 30, 2020, 06:51:53 PM »
There are many recordings of the orchestral versions of Rapsodia Espanola and Spanish Suite.
As for the orchestrated versions (which were done by Arbos and Surinach) of ENTIRE Iberia suite, however, it is my understanding that there are only 3 recordings available. They include the recordings by Lopez-Cobos/Cincinnati, Jean Morel/Paris, and Peter Breiner/Moscow.
The first set is apparently popular, but it seems to me that the performance is a little slow and it lacks color and vibe. I like the Paris recording which is penetrating and very lively. The third recording is only for completists, I think.

Another interesting album would be a set of 6 pieces arranged by Francisco Guerrero in the mid-1990s. Unfortunately he passed away before completing all the 12 pieces. The arrangement is stylish and sophisticated without being self-centered or ostentatious.

Offline ritter

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Re: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2020, 08:33:26 PM »
The Breiner recording (on Naxos) is not of the Arbós / Surinach orchestration of Iberia, but rather of an arrangement by the conductor himself. I didn’t find it very successful (have only listened to snippets, though).

In the “standard” Arbós / Surinach orchestration, marked differences can be noticed between the contributions of the two arrangers, but the end result as a whole is very enjoyable.

Apart from the recordings you mention, Eugene Ormandy also recorded the full orchestral Iberia with his Philadelphia Orchestra in mono for Columbia in 1956. It was never reissued by Sony in CD, but Pristine Classical has mad a transfer.



I think that Guerrero disc you posted is great, and it’s a real pity the composer didn’t live to complete the orchestration. I’ve read composer Jesús Rueda has been working on a completion of the orchestration along Guerrero’s lines (perhaps it’s even finished by now), but don’t have any details.

Finally, the doyen of Spanish composers, Cristóbal Halffter, made an arrangement of Eritaña (only), which was recorded by DG on a CD only issued in the domestic Spanish market AFAIK, and now OOP and almost impossible to find.

« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 08:37:05 PM by ritter »
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Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2020, 07:17:02 AM »
Ritter, you are right. I should have mentioned that Breiner’s recording is his own arrangement (and it is mediocre). Naxos also issued a guitar trio arrangement performed by Trio Campanella.  The performance/arrangement is fine, but lacking dynamism. As for Arbos/Surinach comparison, I have heard a few people saying that the Surinach arrangement is not as good as the Arbos. I am not sure about it. I think the arrangement by Surinach is just fine. As you probably know, Ravel told Albeniz that he wanted to make an arrangement of Ibernia. But Albeniz declined since he had already given a permission for orchestration to his friend, Arbos. May I say this is unfortunate. If Ravel asked a little earlier, or Arbos asked a little later, we would have been listening to a very different, perhaps more colorful, work today.

Thank you for the great info about Rueda and Halffter, which I didn’t know. I will look for the both. I totally forgot about the Ormandy set. I was hesitant to buy the album because it’s mono. I may buy it. Do you think I should?

If you hear anything about a new arrangement or recording of Albeniz, please let me know.


The Breiner recording (on Naxos) is not of the Arbós / Surinach orchestration of Iberia, but rather of an arrangement by the conductor himself. I didn’t find it very successful (have only listened to snippets, though).

In the “standard” Arbós / Surinach orchestration, marked differences can be noticed between the contributions of the two arrangers, but the end result as a whole is very enjoyable.

Apart from the recordings you mention, Eugene Ormandy also recorded the full orchestral Iberia with his Philadelphia Orchestra in mono for Columbia in 1956. It was never reissued by Sony in CD, but Pristine Classical has mad a transfer.



I think that Guerrero disc you posted is great, and it’s a real pity the composer didn’t live to complete the orchestration. I’ve read composer Jesús Rueda has been working on a completion of the orchestration along Guerrero’s lines (perhaps it’s even finished by now), but don’t have any details.

Finally, the doyen of Spanish composers, Cristóbal Halffter, made an arrangement of Eritaña (only), which was recorded by DG on a CD only issued in the domestic Spanish market AFAIK, and now OOP and almost impossible to find.



Offline BWV 1080

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As far as guitar arrangements of his piano music, which is by far what he is best known for, these are among my favorites




Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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I like both the guitar players. I will check the albums!

As far as guitar arrangements of his piano music, which is by far what he is best known for, these are among my favorites





Offline ritter

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Re: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2020, 08:36:34 AM »
I think the arrangement by Surinach is just fine.
So do I :). Surinach may be a bit more daring and “interventionist” than Arbós (not surprising, given the years elapsed between the two approaches), but he does a splendid job. In Rondeña (a piece I’m almost obsessed with, see as one of the highlights of the whole Iberia suite and also as possibly the greatest fusion ever of flamenco with “cultured” music), he brings the rhythmic complexity of the petenera to the forefront most effectively, and also makes the felicitous choice of having the trumpets sound (at the reprise if the petenera, after the quiet guajira central section) slightly out of tune, as is usual in the music played during bullfights (Ronda has one of the oldest bullrings in Spain).

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I totally forgot about the Ormandy set. I was hesitant to buy the album because it’s mono. I may buy it. Do you think I should?
I don’t know it, sorry (I only know it exists and has been reissued by Pristine). I’m perfectly content with López-Cobos onz Telarc and Morel on Australian Eloquence.

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If you hear anything about a new arrangement or recording of Albeniz, please let me know.
The DG disc I posted also includes a piece called Halfbéniz (Halffter + Albéniz, get it? ;) :D), which is a “fantasy” on El Albaicín (from book 3 of Iberia) and I very much enjoy (I am a great admirer of C. Halffter’s music), but it is essentially an avant-garde piece in Halffter’s spätstil, in which Albéniz’s original is only briefly quoted (but to great effect—this is a trademark recourse of Cristóbal’s style), and Halffter’s gift (genius, I’d say) for dense and intricate, but also very effective and beautiful, orchestral palettes shines through in every bar.

There’s also this disc, of limited circulation AFAIK:


In it, Albéniz’s Rapsodia española (the original orchestration of which was lost, AFAIK) is given twice, in scorings by none other than Georges Enesco and—again— Cristóbal Halffter, respectively. Well worth listening to (and the two versions s sound—compared to each other—almost as if they were an entirely different work.

EDIT:

I see in the webpage of Jesús Rueda’s publishers Tritó, that he seems to have completed 5 of his orchestrations of numbers of Iberia. This, added to the 6 completed by Francisco Guerrero, would mean that only El Puerto is missing to complete the whole series. You can hear snippets of some of Rueda’s work if you hit on the titles of the individual pieces in the list of works on the link I’ve provided.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2020, 09:02:24 AM by ritter »
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Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2020, 07:08:31 AM »
Thank you for the website link and the info. I love Rondena and Almeria. As for Arbos, I like Puerto and Corpus Christ. I didn’t know about the out-of-tune trumpets in Rondena. I will listen carefully!


So do I :). Surinach may be a bit more daring and “interventionist” than Arbós (not surprising, given the years elapsed between the two approaches), but he does a splendid job. In Rondeña (a piece I’m almost obsessed with, see as one of the highlights of the whole Iberia suite and also as possibly the greatest fusion ever of flamenco with “cultured” music), he brings the rhythmic complexity of the petenera to the forefront most effectively, and also makes the felicitous choice of having the trumpets sound (at the reprise if the petenera, after the quiet guajira central section) slightly out of tune, as is usual in the music played during bullfights (Ronda has one of the oldest bullrings in Spain).
 I don’t know it, sorry (I only know it exists and has been reissued by Pristine). I’m perfectly content with López-Cobos onz Telarc and Morel on Australian Eloquence.
The DG disc I posted also includes a piece called Halfbéniz (Halffter + Albéniz, get it? ;) :D), which is a “fantasy” on El Albaicín (from book 3 of Iberia) and I very much enjoy (I am a great admirer of C. Halffter’s music), but it is essentially an avant-garde piece in Halffter’s spätstil, in which Albéniz’s original is only briefly quoted (but to great effect—this is a trademark recourse of Cristóbal’s style), and Halffter’s gift (genius, I’d say) for dense and intricate, but also very effective and beautiful, orchestral palettes shines through in every bar.

There’s also this disc, of limited circulation AFAIK:


In it, Albéniz’s Rapsodia española (the original orchestration of which was lost, AFAIK) is given twice, in scorings by none other than Georges Enesco and—again— Cristóbal Halffter, respectively. Well worth listening to (and the two versions s sound—compared to each other—almost as if they were an entirely different work.

EDIT:

I see in the webpage of Jesús Rueda’s publishers Tritó, that he seems to have completed 5 of his orchestrations of numbers of Iberia. This, added to the 6 completed by Francisco Guerrero, would mean that only El Puerto is missing to complete the whole series. You can hear snippets of some of Rueda’s work if you hit on the titles of the individual pieces in the list of works on the link I’ve provided.

Offline kyjo

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Re: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2020, 10:51:49 AM »
I enjoy this recording immensely:



I haven’t heard rival recordings (of which there aren’t many) of the complete orchestrated version, so I can’t comment on how López-Cobos compares to them. But I can say that these are really successful orchestrations, in my view; brilliantly colorful and sensuous. I had no idea, though - as FBK said above - that Ravel had wanted to orchestrate the work at one point. How magnificent that would’ve been!
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Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2020, 06:19:47 AM »
The recording is popular. You may like the recording by Jean Morel/Paris. It is sharp and energetic, while the JLC set is relaxed and atmospheric.
Also the Guerrero album offers a sophisticated, modern orchestration though it has only 6 pieces.


I enjoy this recording immensely:



I haven’t heard rival recordings (of which there aren’t many) of the complete orchestrated version, so I can’t comment on how López-Cobos compares to them. But I can say that these are really successful orchestrations, in my view; brilliantly colorful and sensuous. I had no idea, though - as FBK said above - that Ravel had wanted to orchestrate the work at one point. How magnificent that would’ve been!

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Re: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2020, 07:34:54 AM »
I find the Guerrero orchestrations to be maximalist, wildly colorful, full of percussion, and over-the-top - in other words, perhaps a little tasteless but at the same time perfectly so.

I enjoy the Trio Campanella guitar arrangement a great deal.

Albeniz' youthful Piano Sonata No. 4 practically begs to be orchestrated, I can almost easily hear an orchestral version in my head when I listen to it.

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2020, 04:51:05 AM »
The arrangement by the Campanella is fine. The laid back feel is just not with my preference. I may like the music in the future.

I find the Guerrero orchestrations to be maximalist, wildly colorful, full of percussion, and over-the-top - in other words, perhaps a little tasteless but at the same time perfectly so.

I enjoy the Trio Campanella guitar arrangement a great deal.

Albeniz' youthful Piano Sonata No. 4 practically begs to be orchestrated, I can almost easily hear an orchestral version in my head when I listen to it.

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2020, 05:13:17 AM »
Fine albums of the Iberia Suite, Spanish Suite and Piano Concerto by Enrique Batiz.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2020, 06:42:32 AM »
Not that I wish to spoil the party but none of the above is genuine Albeniz so the title of the thread is misleading. It should read 'Orchestrations of Albeniz's Music". Just saying.  :blank:
"Melody is the essence of music." --- Mozart

Offline ritter

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Re: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2020, 06:46:40 AM »
Not that I wish to spoil the party but none of the above is genuine Albeniz so the title of the thread is misleading. It should read 'Orchestrations of Albeniz's Music". Just saying.  :blank:
You sound like a fellow GMGer you told to f*ck off just a couple of days ago. Just saying.  ;D

Bună seara, Andrei:)

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Offline Florestan

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Re: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2020, 06:54:33 AM »
You sound like a fellow GMGer you told to f*ck off just a couple of days ago. Just saying.  ;D

Funny thing is, I thought about adding the following line to my post:

Woooops, looks like I've just had a some guy moment.

Eventually I did not because I didn't want to push the whole kerfuffle any more. But you have my word that I really thought about it. ;D

So, go on, tell me to f*ck off, I wouldn't mind in the least.  :)

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Bună seara, Andrei:)

P.S.: You’ve got mail.

Buenas tardes, Rafael.

No new mail, I'm afraid, neither here nor on my e-mail.  :(
« Last Edit: July 06, 2020, 06:58:56 AM by Florestan »
"Melody is the essence of music." --- Mozart

Offline kyjo

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Re: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2020, 07:32:20 AM »
The recording is popular. You may like the recording by Jean Morel/Paris. It is sharp and energetic, while the JLC set is relaxed and atmospheric.
Also the Guerrero album offers a sophisticated, modern orchestration though it has only 6 pieces.

Thanks for the recs. Can’t find the Morel recording on YT or Spotify, unfortunately, but I did find the Guerrero.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Isaac Albeniz (Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y Pascual)
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2020, 09:16:11 AM »
That’s a legitimate concern. I will post about some guitar and piano works.

Not that I wish to spoil the party but none of the above is genuine Albeniz so the title of the thread is misleading. It should read 'Orchestrations of Albeniz's Music". Just saying.  :blank: