Albéniz, Isaac Manuel Francisco. (1860–1909) [Salzedo, Carlos. (1885–1961)]


Paris / Madrid: Edition mutuelle / Unión Musical Española. [1906 - 1914]. 1er Cahier; 2e Cahier; 3e Cahier; 4e Cahier (complete). Upright folio. 33; 39; 46; 43 pp. [PN] 3083; 3084; 3085; 3086. Cahier 2 - 4 with the light or partially erased ownership signature of Carlos Salzedo on the title pages. Cahier 4 with a taped in program photograph of the composer to the title, inscribed at the head of the first page of music in ink "A Carlos Salzedo su aftectisimo....amigo y admirador / I. Albeniz / Bagnoles de L'Orne - 12 Julio 1907.  This volume also with scattered markings in pencil in the hand of Salzedo, cloth support to spine, and small restorations to wrapper edges. Other volumes variously toned, with small tears or abrasions to wrappers, the entire set overall in fine condition.  Contained in a custom red cloth box.

An important copy, inscribed to the great French harpist/composer/conductor Carlos Salzedo, generally regarded as one of the finest harpists in history, whose virtuosity remains unparalleled and who wrote numerous works for harp which remain in the repertoire.  Autograph material by Albeniz is seldom offered for sale and this is a truly remarkable presentation copy of the composer's most significant work, signed to one of the major figures of 20th century instrumental music. We have traced only two other inscribed scores from the composer on the market in over 50 years of records, and none of Iberia, his most important work.

The second, third and fourth volumes are of the cycle’s first edition of 1906–1908 from the Paris publishing house Edition mutuelle. This publishing venture, associated with the famous Schola Cantorum, operated according to a completely different business model from that of ordinary publishers. In the spirit of mutual support a group of composers was delegated to make the works of other composers known through publication and performance. The composer retained in the process full usage rights to his work and had free access to the engraving plates. The income was split amongst publisher, composer and a financing ‘pot’ for other projects. The first volume in the present set is the Spanish reprint of the first edition from the Madrid publishing house Unión Musical Española.  Albéniz, after publication of the first edition, had continued correcting and altering the original engraving plates and is therefore understood to have authorized the alterations in this Spanish reprint. This volume, however, was not actually published until after his death, and certainly not before 1914, the founding year of the publishing house.

Isaac Albéniz's piano work Suite Iberia is arguably the greatest masterpiece of Spanish music of any age. Composed near the end of his life, its twelve movements, a series of picturesque pieces evoking the Spanish landscape and loosely based on traditional dance rhythms and folk material, fulfill the composer's desire to write "Spanish music with a universal touch." Claude Debussy once said of Iberia, a work which was to influence his own composition: "Never has music achieved such diversified, such colourful impressions: one's eyes close, as though dazzled by beholding such a wealth of imagery." (14834)

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