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Suite Española Op. 47

Albéniz’ Suite Espanola Op.47 is comprised mainly of pieces written in 1886, and grouped together in 1887 in honor of the Queen of Spain. Like many of Albéniz' piano pieces, these works are miniature tone pictures of different geographical regions and musical idioms of Spain. The eight original titles are Granada, Cataluna, Sevilla, Cadiz, Asturias, Aragon, Castilla and Cuba but only the first three titles and Cuba appeared in the original collection. The other pieces were published in later collections, often with different titles. The publisher Hofmeister published all eight titles of Suite Espanola in 1911 after Albéniz’ death, appropriating other pieces for the other four titles so those pieces do not always accurately reflect the geographic designation of the titles, most obviously in the case of Asturias (Leyenda) whose Andalusian flamenco rhythms bear little resemblance to the music of the northern province Asturias. The opus number 47 assigned by Hofmeister has no relation to any chronological order in Albéniz’ oeuvre, in which opus numbers were randomly given by publishers or by Albéniz himself, with some pieces appearing in more than one collection. 

In these works the first title refers to the geographical region portrayed, and the title in parentheses is the musical form or dance from that region. From Granada in Andalusia we have a Serenata, from Catalonia a Curranda or Courante, from Sevilla a Sevillanas and from Cuba (which was still part of Spain in the 1880’s) a Notturnoin the style of a habanera, from Castilla a Seguidillas, from Aragon a Fantasia in the style of a jota, and from Cadiz a Saeta. This last example, like Asturias/Leyenda, is geographically inaccurate. Despite the spurious nature of the Suite Espanola Op.47 it has become one of the most performed of Albéniz’ piano works, a favorite of both pianists and audiences. 

-Chase Coleman

1 Granada (Serenata)  5:02 Coleman, C.
1 Granada (Serenata) 5:07 Hart, M.
2 Cataluna (Curranda) 4:06 Coleman, C.
2 Cataluna (Curranda) 5:11 Hart, M.
4 Cadiz (Canción) 4:51 Hart, M.
Jan 7, 2016
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