Albeniz and the Guitar

“Albeniz and the Guitar,” Soundboard: Journal of the Guitar Foundation of America (Spring, 2005, XXX, No. 4, 18-25).

Isaac Albéniz and the Guitar by Stanley Yates

Though Albéniz wrote not one scrap of music for the guitar, his legacy is inextricably bound up with it.” Albéniz scholar, Walter Clark Guitarists began their “re-appropriation” of Albéniz’s piano music in the form of transcriptions for their instrument almost from the moment it was written. Today, a casual perusal of publishing and recording catalogues, concert programs, and discographies reveals that only the music of Bach and Sor is more published, recorded and performed by guitarists. In fact, guitarists perform and record Albéniz’s piano music far more frequently than do pianists themselves; the discography provided in Walter Clark’s Isaac Albéniz: A Guide to Research2 lists, for example, 26 guitar recordings of Albéniz’s Zambra granadina in contrast to only two for the piano. Clearly, guitarists have assumed the role of caretakers of this repertoire. Given this fact, it behooves us as guitarists—as musicians—to treat this music with an appropriate degree of respect; that is, we have an obligation to develop an understanding of Albéniz’s musical style and aesthetic and an appreciation of how his music works, on the guitar and otherwise. This article aims, then, to provide a starting point from which an informed approach to Albéniz’s music may be developed.

Albeniz and the Guitar

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