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Isaac Albéniz: The Complete Piano Music

Isaac Albéniz: The Complete Piano Music

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The piano works by Isaac Albéniz range from indisputable masterpieces to ravishing salon music, the composer painting with bright Spanish colors as well as the hues of Classicism and Romanticism. On nine discs, originally released between 1998 and 2017 and gathered here, Miguel Baselga guides listeners through the music of his compatriot, earning acclaim from reviewers worldwide: ‘pianism of the highest order’ (MusicWeb-International); ‘berauschend agil und rhytmisch spannungsgeladen’ (PIANONews); ‘un pianista elegante y refinado’ (CD Compact). Composed between December 1905 and January 1908, only a year before the death of Albéniz, Iberia is the crowning achievement of the composer’s genius. Marking a high point of the post-romantic piano literature, this collection of ‘12 nouvelles impressions’ was to serve as an endless source of inspiration for other composers throughout the twentieth century, admired by Debussy and Messiaen, who called it 'the marvel of the piano'. Baselga’s exhaustive series places Iberia in its proper context, and with the assistance of Albéniz scholar Jacinto Torres, he has been able to access original editions and scores, including rarities such as the Marcha militar by a nine-year-old Albéniz and the composer's two scores for piano and orchestra. We are also given the opportunity to hear three improvisations, transcribed from a phonograph recording made by the composer in 1903.


Miguel Baselga was the first and (I believe) only pianist to have recorded Albéniz’s complete solo piano works, a project encompassing nine CDs. The cycle has been reissued in a boxed set, together with each individual release’s original booklet. It remains a significant catalog milestone.

As a stylist, Albéniz covered all bases, from unabashedly salon-like trifles and flashy neo-Lisztian fare to the Iberia Suite’s astonishing originality and labyrinthine complexities. Since Baselga wanted each disc to represent different aspects of Albéniz’s musical personality, he cunningly divided Iberia’s four parts across the first four volumes, aiming to give lesser-known masterpieces like the wild and woolly La Vega and tender Barcarola Op. 202 their due.

The two concerted works (the Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rapsodia Espanola) also receive impressively fresh and well-balanced readings. And for those who can’t get past the faded sound of Albéniz’s three 1903 improvisations preserved on private cylinders, Milton Laufer’s painstakingly notated editions will be revelations, especially in Baselga’s inspired hands.

In all, Baselga’s combination of technical brilliance, exuberant temperament, and tonal imagination yields consistently idiomatic and enjoyable results. A must-have for serious aficionados of Spanish piano music.

– (Jed Distler)

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Product Description:

  • Release Date: August 06, 2021

  • UPC: 7318590026137

  • Catalog Number: BIS-2613

  • Label: BIS

  • Number of Discs: 9

  • Period: Romantic, 20th Century

  • Composer: Isaac Albeniz

  • Conductor: Jia Lü

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Tenerife Symphony Orchestra

  • Performer: Miguel Baselga