Isaac Albeniz: Portrait of a Romantic

By Walter Aaron Clark | Go to book overview

2
With Distinction (1876-1888)

ALBÉNIZ now entered a period of his life devoted to serious and persistent study. Ángel clearly understood that if the youth were to make the transition from child prodigy to mature artist, he would have to submit himself to a more disciplined path. The decision to study in Leipzig was logical, given the enormous prestige German music, musicians, and music schools enjoyed. How father and son imagined, though, that even so adaptable and clever a young man as he could survive in a country where he could not speak the local language, and few could speak his, is a mystery. But the famous conservatory held an irresistible lure, and it was in that direction Albéniz determined to go.

Despite the ravages of the Second World War, Albéniz's academic records survive in the library of the Hochschule für Musik Felix MendelssohnBartholdy in Leipzig.1 They reveal that he enrolled there on 2 May 1876, and terminated his studies a short time later, on 24 June (the Festival of St John) of the same year. During this brief tenure in Leipzig, Albéniz resided at the home of Dr Justus A. Bräutigam on Sebastian-Bach-Straße, 57 I. 2 Bräutigam was the director of the school for booksellers and the municipal vocational school for boys, a senior primary school teacher at St Thomas, and a member of the royal exam commissions for one-year volunteers and the regional post office.3 Exactly what Albéniz's connection with him was is

____________________
1
There are two documents: a record of Albéniz's admission (no. 2513), with personal information pertaining to his background, financial support, etc.; and a "Lehrer Zeugniß" (also numbered 2513), which lists courses taken and provides comments of the respective professors. If we examine the records in Leipzig closely, we see that some familiar discrepancies appear. For instance, 1861 is stated as his birth year. It is also stated that he had been playing the piano since the age of 5 ('seit 5 Jahren', which could also mean for a period of five years); of course, we recall that, according to his sister Clementina, he knew his scales and arpeggios by the age of 3.
2
This information was provided by the Stadtarchiv Leipzig in a letter to the author of 22 July 1991.
3
Direktor der Lehranstalt für Buchhändler und der Städtische Fortbildungschule für Knaben, GymnasialOberlehrer an St Thomas, Mitgl. der Königliche Prüfungskommission für einjährig Freiwillige und der Prüfungskomm. b. d. kaiserl. Oberpost-Direktion.

-34-

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Isaac Albeniz: Portrait of a Romantic
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vi
  • Contents ix
  • List of Plates x
  • List of Tables xii
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • List of Musical Examples xiv
  • Introduction - Step by Step 1
  • 1 - The Phenomenon 1860-1875) 16
  • 2 - With Distinction (1876-1888) 34
  • 3 - Veni, Vidi, Vici (1889-1893) 73
  • 4 - Prophet Without Honour (1894-1895) 109
  • 5 - A Man of Some Importance (1896-1897) 136
  • 6 - The Imperfect Wagnerite (1898-1904) 178
  • 7 - Iberia (1905-1909) 220
  • 8 - The Legacy of Albéniz 268
  • Appendix I 292
  • Appendix II - List of Works 295
  • Bibliography 301
  • Index of Works 311
  • General Index 314
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