Isaac Albeniz: Portrait of a Romantic

By Walter Aaron Clark | Go to book overview

4
Prophet without Honour (1894-1895)

ALBÈ'S first assignment from Coutts was to set the libretto for an opera whose action takes place in fifteenth-century England, during the Wars of the Roses, eventually entitled Hanr Clifford. Albéniz began work on this new opera about the time he decided to leave London, for reasons of health, in the autumn of 1893.1 Another motivation for the change of locale was that his wife Rosina did not care for the climate and ambience of London.2 She much preferred Paris, which she found more congenial to her temperament and where she could speak French, in which she was more fluent than English (though born in Catalonia, she was of French extraction3). He was no doubt also attracted to Paris as the artistic and intellectual mecca of Europe.

Exactly when Albéniz settled in Paris is uncertain, but it was sometime before August 1894. We know he was in Barcelona on 22 October 1893 to perform the Schumann Piano Concerto in a programme of the Socictat Catalana de Concerts at the Teatre Líric under the baton of Antoni Nicolau. Several more concerts followed early the following year. He performed the Schumann Quintet in E flat, Op. 44, with Rubio's group on 18 February 1894 at the same place and for the same organization. Eleven more such appearances took place between 18 February and 1 April, and included chamber music by Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Brahms, as well as works by Enric Morcra and Arbós.4 It bears pointing out that Albéniz was

____________________
1
According to Torres, ' La producción escénica', 180, the Prelude to Act I was finished already by Oct. of 1893.
2
A later from Coutts dated 9 Feb. 1894 (Bc. 'C') expresses concern for her welfire and confirms that Rosina was enduring poor health at that time.
3
According to Collect, Albéniz, 37, Istel, 'Isaac Albéniz', 125, stated she was the 'offspring of a musical family in the French Pyrenees'. Both authors knew her personally.
4
From the manuscript 'Concerts celebrates á Barcelona'. Their repertoire included the Schubert B flat Trio, Op. 99, tile Mencicissohn D minor Trio, Op. 49, the Brahms Quarter in G minor, Op. 25, and the Beethoven A major Violin Sonata, Op. 47 ('Kreutzer').

-109-

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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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