The influence of Isaac Albéniz on Spanish music, or at least in the perception posterity has of Spanish music is undeniable. Albéniz, who lived in the second half of the 19th century (1860-1909) has the reputation of being the “inventor” of Spanish musical nationalism.
Albéniz’s preeminent position in that movement is undeniable, both, as a composer and as an ideologue. Composers such as Enrique Granados, Joaquín Turina, Manuel de Falla and Joaquín Rodrigo, just to name a few, have been under Albéniz’s direct or indirect spell. Of course, Spain has a strong musical tradition that includes both, cosmopolitan and regional tendencies.
Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611) is one of the most formidable European composers of the 16th century. Composers/virtuosi as Alonso de Mudarra, Luis de Milán, Luis de Narváez or Gaspar Sanz are well known for their piece for the lute and the vihuela, written in a period comprehending three centuries (16th to the 18th).
The first composer featured in this program is Antonio Soler, a priest and a composer slightly younger than Domenico Scarlatti and oftentimes considered “the Spanish Scarlatti.” One interesting difference, however, is that Padre Soler did incorporate elements of Spanish popular music in his baroque sonatas for the keyboard, as it can be heard in the first and the last of his pieces included in this program. The rest of the music we feature today is also Spanish in character with the exception of the String Quartet No. 3 by Basque composer Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga, a work of cosmopolitan tendencies written in Paris under the influence of Italian composers such as Cherubini and Rossini.