Isaac Albeniz (1860-19.0009) composed primarily for solo piano, but it was through transcriptions for the guitar that his fame was largely established. Although he never composed for the guitar, he frequently took its idioms as instrumental models and drew inspiration from the folk music of Andalusia. Isaac Albeniz began his piano studies when barely past infancy, giving his first public concert at the age of four. At six he passed the entrance examination for the Paris Conservatory, but did not enroll because of his age. At eight he embarked on his first concert tour. A few years later, he ran away from home, traveling as a stowaway on a ship bound for Puerto Rico. He then toured South America and the United States, after which he returned to Europe and studied with Liszt. At twenty he was already touring Europe and America as a mature virtuoso.
The music of Albeniz has subsequently been the subject of numerous transcriptions; many of them have become part of the standard repertoire for solo guitar. Some works, however have proved to be too complex, if not completely impossible, for a single six stringed instrument; but they are highly suitable for guitar duet. In transcribing the following pieces, we have tried to present a wide selction of Albenizs music which we feel is particularly suitable for two guitars, ranging from early compositions to very late works, influenced by impressionism. Mallorca is a hauntingly melodious barcarolle, composed in the ABA form typical for much of Albenizs music. Aragon, from the Suite Espagnole, is written in the lively rhythm of the Jota. Iberia was composed after Albeniz moved to Paris; the music reflects the influences of Berdes, Dukas, and dIndy. Cordoba, composed in 1896, is one of Albnizs most skilful compositions. It evokes the atmosphere of night in an Arabic province. The vivid music is wonderfully complimented by the sweetly melodic Moorish guzlas which accompany it. Zambra granadina, a lively oriental dance, is effective in its simplicity. Espaa (6 Hojos de Album) is an earlier work, a series of miniatures including the Tango in D which has become a universal favorite.