Albeniz: Excerpts from Suite Espanola - Respighi: The Fountains of Rome, et al.

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Albeniz: Excerpts from Suite Espanola - Respighi: The Fountains of Rome, et al. 1:03:41 $11.98
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# Track Title Length Format Sample Rate Price
1 Excerpts from Suite Espanola: I. Castilla 3:01 $1.49 Buy
2 Excerpts from Suite Espanola: II. Granada 6:02 44.1/16 Album only
3 Excerpts from Suite Espanola: III. Sevilla 4:50 $1.49 Buy
4 Excerpts from Suite Espanola: IV. Asturias 6:46 44.1/16 Album only
5 Excerpts from Suite Espanola: V. Aragon 5:28 44.1/16 Album only
6 The Fountains of Rome: I. The Fountain of Valle Giulia At Dawn - 4:10 $1.49 Buy
7 The Fountains of Rome: II. The Triton Fountain At Morn - 2:45 $1.49 Buy
8 The Fountains of Rome: III. The Fountain of Trevi At Mid Day - 3:39 $1.49 Buy
9 The Fountains of Rome: IV. The Villa Medici Fountain At Sunset 5:50 44.1/16 Album only
10 Suite from the Firebird (1919 Version): I. Introduction - The Firebird and its Dance 5:12 44.1/16 Album only
11 Suite from the Firebird (1919 Version): II. The Princesses' Round Dance 4:22 $1.49 Buy
12 Suite from the Firebird (1919 Version): III. Infernal Dance of King Kastchei - 5:05 $1.49 Buy
13 Suite from the Firebird (1919 Version): IV. Berceuse 3:16 $1.49 Buy
14 Suite from the Firebird (1919 Version): V. Finale 3:15 $1.49 Buy

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A favorite and frequent guest conductor with the Philadelphia Orchestra, this recording highlights the vast experience and strong rapport Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos has with the Orchestra. The program is a lively and accessible set featuring the conductor's own arrangement of the perennial favorites by Albéniz.

Recorded live November 9, 2006, Verizon Hall, The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Suite espanola (orchestrated by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos)
Composed in 1886 and 1898

Isaac Albéniz
Born in Camprodon (Near Barcelona), May 29, 1860
Died in Cambo-Les-Bains (France), May 18, 1909

Horatio Alger had nothing on Isaac Albéniz. The “mettle” of the fictional young hero of American business pales next to that of this young Spanish composer—who began his career as a four-year-old wunderkind pianist, astonishing local audiences to such a degree that many thought his performances involved some sort of hoax. Deciding that Barcelona and its environs were too narrow, Albéniz ran away from home not once but twice before reaching the age of 12. As implausible as it may seem, at 10 he fled his studies at the Madrid Conservatory to play concerts in the province of Castile; and at 12 he stowed away on a ship to the Americas, performing recitals in Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Returning to Europe, he landed in Leipzig (aged all of 13), where he studied composition at Europe’s leading conservatory. In 1877 he moved to Madrid, subsequently seeking further studies in Brussels. As with the boy Mozart, this peripatetic existence had a powerful effect on the youth’s artistic outlook.

Numerous Influences
As Albéniz grew to adulthood, his activities as composer took on ever greater importance. During the 1880s he lived in Barcelona and Madrid, maintaining a dual existence as pianist and composer; a decade later he would seek further compositional studies in Paris, chiefly with Paul Dukas and Vincent d’Indy. The effect of all this was to galvanize a highly individual style, which reached fruition in the opera Pepita Jiménez, performed to great acclaim in Barcelona in 1896 and the Suite Iberia for piano (1906-08).

Two important 19th-century musicians exerted a profound and lasting influence on Albéniz. The first was Franz Liszt, whom he met in Weimar in August 1880, and under whose guidance he achieved a new level of pianistic mastery. But just as significant was his encounter with the composer and musicologist Felipe Pedrell—in the wake of which meeting Albéniz began to find a compositional voice of his own. Through Pedrell (himself an avid Wagnerian), he discovered the means of rooting his music in materials native to Spain, while imbuing it with the complexity and formal sophistication of the music of Liszt or Wagner. Significantly, Albéniz’s first major compositions date from the years immediately following his studies with Pedrell.

A Closer Look
The year 1886 was a milestone for Albéniz: it was the year of his first major concert in Madrid, and it was the year of Franz Liszt’s death. It was also the year that Albéniz completed three of the piano pieces that would eventually make up part of his magnificent Suite española: Granada, Cataluña, and Sevilla. The other five were composed later; all eight were compiled as a suite for posthumous publication in 1918. These works—which show Albéniz in top form—adapt and apotheosize the music of various regions of Spain, creating something wholly new in the process.

Castilla is cast as a seguidilla, a triple-meter dance style from the south of Spain. Granada, with its prominent part for harp and its doleful folk tunes, is a serenata that suggests the easy grace of this southern Spanish city. Sevilla is inevitably reminiscent of bullfights and toreadors; its light patter is derived from its use of the dance-type of the sevillana. The celebrated Asturias, a toccata also known through Segovia’s transcription for guitar, is subtitled Leyenda (Legend); its three-part form suggests a discursive narrative accompanied by the strumming of a guitar. Finally, Aragón (Fantasia) employs the full orchestra for a jota, a lively dance performed by couples accompanied with castanets and drums.

Paul J. Horsley

Program note © 2006. All rights reserved. Program note may not be reprinted without written permission from The Philadelphia Orchestra Association.

The Fountains of Rome
Composed in 1916

Ottorino Respighi
Born in Bologna, July 9, 1879
Died in Rome, April 18, 1936

Artists who define themselves and their art primarily in terms of a single city—such as Dickens for London, Pissarro for Paris, Brunelleschi for Florence, or Woody Allen for New York—find that, rather than limiting their artistic palette, their choice broadens their creativity, simultaneously revealing subtle new things about the city to the rest of us. Ottorino Respighi was as passionate about Rome as any artist could be. After studies with Giuseppe Martucci in Bologna and Nikolai Rimsky- Korsakov in St. Petersburg, Respighi settled in Rome in 1913, the city where he would spend the rest of his career.

Impressions of Rome
It is no surprise that three of this musical colorist’s most popular orchestral scores are impressions of various aspects of the city he loved: The Fountains of Rome of 1916 paints images of fountains, The Pines of Rome (1924) explores the city’s pine groves, and Roman Festivals (1929) describes four of the city’s festivals. Influenced by the orchestral music of Strauss, Debussy, Ravel, and Rimsky-Korsakov, Respighi took their differing ideals of sound and color and forged them into a personal and unabashedly extroverted instrumental style. Each of his “Roman” suites exploits the full resources of a large orchestra, and all three remain popular concert favorites worldwide.

The Fountains of Rome is a rich display of orchestral color. “I wonder why no one has ever thought of making the fountains of Rome ‘sing,’” wrote Respighi to his wife as he began to conceive this set, “for they are, after all, the very voice of the city.” He composed Fountains shortly after his appointment as an instructor of composition at Rome’s Santa Cecilia Academy; the set received its first performance in Rome in February 1918, on a concert given by Arturo Toscanini to benefit artists and musicians disabled during World War I. The work’s four sections, which are played without pause, are titled thus: (1) The Fountain of Valle Giulia at Dawn; (2) The Triton Fountain at Morn; (3) The Fountain of Trevi at Mid-day; and (4) The Villa Medici Fountain at Sunset.

A Closer Look
The descriptions printed in the first printed score, which quite probably stem from the composer himself, continue in greater detail:

In this symphonic poem the composer has endeavored to give expression to the sentiments and visions suggested to him by four of Rome’s fountains, contemplated at the hour in which their character is most in harmony with the surrounding landscape, or in which their beauty appears most impressive to the observer.

The first part of the poem, inspired by the Fountain of Valle Giulia, depicts a pastoral landscape; droves of cattle pass and disappear in the fresh, damp mists of a Roman dawn.

A sudden loud and insistent blast of horns above the trills of the whole orchestra introduces the second part, the Triton Fountain. It is like a joyous call, summoning troops of naiads and tritons, who come running up, pursuing each other and mingling in a frenzied dance between the jets of water.

Next there appears a solemn theme, borne on the undulations of the orchestra. It is the Fountain of Trevi at mid-day. The solemn theme, passing from the wood to the brass instruments, assumes a triumphal character. Trumpets peal; across the radiant surface of the water there passes Neptune’s chariot, drawn by sea horses and followed by a train of sirens and tritons. The procession then vanishes, while faint trumpet blasts resound in the distance.

The fourth part, the Villa Medici Fountain, is announced by a sad theme, which rises above a subdued warbling. It is the nostalgic hour of sunset. The air is full of the sound of tolling bells, birds twittering, leaves rustling. Then all dies peacefully into the silence of the night.

—Paul J. Horsley

Program note © 2006. All rights reserved. Program note may not be reprinted without written permission from The Philadelphia Orchestra Association.

Suite from The Firebird (1919 version)
Composed from 1909-10

Igor Stravinsky
Born in Lomonosov, Russia, June 17, 1882
Died in New York City, April 6, 1971

When the father of Igor Stravinsky died in 1902, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov—Russia’s most important living composer and a friend of the Stravinsky family—became for the 20-year-old musician not just an artistic mentor but a sort of father-figure as well. Stravinsky’s early works are best viewed in this light, for the majority of them were written for, or composed in emulation of, this great master. As the young composer’s most important composition teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov played a seminal role in the foundation of Stravinsky’s approach to melody and instrumental color. In 1907 Stravinsky dedicated his Op. 1, the Symphony in E flat major, to his teacher, and the normally taciturn Rimsky-Korsakov demonstrated his approval by engaging a private performance of this exuberant work with the St. Petersburg court orchestra. Emboldened by his success, shortly afterward Stravinsky presented for his teacher’s approval a piece for large orchestra, the Scherzo fantastique.

A Love of Russian Folklore
Stravinsky left Russia not long after, settling first in Paris and then the United States and finally becoming for all practical purposes a citizen of the world. Yet something of the spirit and character of his native Russia remained with him throughout his long and fruitful life. This spirit, which consisted partly of a deep knowledge of Russian folklore, partly of a large repertoire of folk tunes of which he made liberal use in his scores, and partly of his sheer adventurousness, permeated his music and stamped it with a unique character that allows us to identify blind a work by Stravinsky almost immediately.

Young Stravinsky’s veneration of Russian folklore was manifested early on, in the loving care with which he set to music the fairy-tale of the Firebird in 1909. Written on commission from the great dance impresario Sergei Diaghilev, the ballet Firebird was composed for the first Parisian season of the Ballets Russes. Its enormous success at the Paris Opéra premiere in June 1910 not only established Diaghilev as the leader of Paris’ avant-garde, it proclaimed Stravinsky as the most promising of Europe’s young generation of composers. Petrushka and The Rite of Spring, both composed for Diaghilev, followed in rapid succession, and later Les Noces, Marva, and Apollon musagète. The first three ballets made his name. Igor Stravinsky, aged 27, had arrived. In the early 1960s, Stravinsky noted that the Firebird quickly became a “mainstay” of his life as a conductor: “I made my conducting debut with it (the complete ballet) in 1915 at a Red Cross benefit in Paris, and since then I have conducted it nearly a thousand times, though ten thousand would not erase the memory of the terror I suffered that first time.”

A Closer Look
The tale of the Firebird is simple, even elemental. An enchanted bird, the Firebird, guides Crown Prince Ivan, who is lost in the woods, to the castle of Kastcheï the Deathless. The evil Kastcheï, who holds 13 princesses captive, would ordinarily turn Ivan to stone, as he has all the other knights who have attempted to free the princesses. But Ivan is more valiant; and he has a magic bird on his side, too, which helps a great deal. Aided by the Firebird, who tells him the secret of Kastcheï’s immorality—that his soul is in the form of an egg kept in a casket, which is promptly crushed—the Prince defeats the evil forces, the magic castle vanishes with a “poof,” all the knights come back to life to comfort the freed princesses, and Ivan makes away with the most beautiful princess, of course, who becomes his bride as the dark woods fill with light and all dance to the familiar finale- music.

After the ballet’s premiere, Stravinsky prepared a five-movement concert suite from Firebird (1911); in 1919 he revised this suite, omitting two movements and adding the “Berceuse” and Finale. In 1945 he made a third suite, containing all of the above elements.

—Paul J. Horsley/Christopher H. Gibbs

Program note © 2006. All rights reserved. Program note may not be reprinted without written permission from The Philadelphia Orchestra Association.


Born in Burgos, Spain, in 1933, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos studied violin, piano, music theory, and composition at the conservatories in Bilbao and Madrid, and conducting at Munich’s Hochschule für Musik, where he graduated summa cum laude. From 1958 to 1962, he was chief conductor of the Bilbao Orchestra, and from 1962 to 1978 of the Spanish National Orchestra, of which, since December 1998, he has been emeritus conductor. From 1966 to 1971 he was music director of the Düsseldolf Symphony, and from 1974 to 1976 he was chief conductor of the Montreal Symphony. For 10 years he was principal guest conductor of the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., and of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, of which he became honorary conductor in 1991. His other positions include chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony (1991-97), music director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1992-97), and chief conductor of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (1994-2000). Since September 2001, he has been chief conductor of the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI Torino and music director of the Dresden Philharmonic beginning with the 2004-05 season.

Since his North American debut in 1969 with The Philadelphia Orchestra, Mr. Frühbeck has appeared with most of the major orchestras throughout the world, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Munich Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, and the London Philharmonic. He also frequently guest conducts in Italy, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Japan, as well as at opera houses and prestigious festivals.

Mr. Frühbeck appears regularly with the Boston Symphony both at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood. His future commitments include return engagements to Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, Montreal, and Paris, as well as with London’s Philharmonia, the London Symphony, and the La Scala Philharmonic. Mr. Frühbeck has produced more than 100 recordings for EMI, Decca, Columbia, and Collins Classics, including Orff’s Carmina burana, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and St. Paul, and the complete works of Falla, including L’Atlantida and La vida breve.

Since 1975 Mr. Frühbeck has been a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. His numerous honors and distinctions include an honorary doctorate from the University of Navarra, the Bundesverdienstkreuz of the Republic of Germany, the Gold Medal of the City of Vienna, the Gold Medal from the Gustav Mahler International Society, and the Jacinto Guerrero Prize, which he received in 1997 from the Queen of Spain.