Albéniz: Suite española (Transcription by Frühbeck de Burgos) – New Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
The Suite española, written by the piano virtuoso and composer Isaac Albéniz, is one of the most outstanding works in the history of Spanish music. Albéniz invites the listener to join him on a musical journey through eight great Spanish cities, each steeped in tradition, investing each scene with local colouring as an homage.
Albéniz made full use of musical folk idioms combined with dazzling virtuosity in many of his other works too, and deeply impressed Debussy and Ravel, as is testified by their own compositions.
Originally conceived for the piano, the Suite has been arranged for large orchestra by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos who makes the most of the orchestra’s tonal palette to underline the expressivity of the music. The final movement (Cuba) is replaced by Cordoba, a piano piece from Albéniz’s Cantos de España, op. 132, also arranged by Frühbeck de Burgos for orchestra. The obvious advantages of the arranger himself conducting the orchestra are well demonstrated by the present highly successful recording.
The precision of the rhythmic interjections and the melodic flow are highly impressive. The music evokes various scenes, such as the impression of a barren Spanish landscape in the shimmering heat or bustling life in the various cities of Spain.
Recording: November 1967 at Kingsway Hall, London by Kenneth E. Wilkinson / Production: John Mordler