Albeniz, Isaac – Asturias

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Isaac Albéniz was born in Camprodon, Spain in 1860. He was one of the most important Spanish composers during his time. His skills as a pianist and composer earned him critical acclaim. 

Of particular importance is the composition Asturias- Leyenda.  The original title of the piece was Prelude. It was the first piece in the suite Chants d’Espagne composed around 1892. 

After the composer passed away, the publisher changed the title. Other pieces in the suite include Cordoba, Bajo la Palmera, and Seguidillas.

Albéniz was a pianist and composed for piano.  But there are many arrangements of the piece for guitar. Editions by guitarists Francisco Tarrega and Andres Segovia are the most popular. 

Since Asturias-Leyenda was for piano, it had to be changed to make it possible on guitar. Legend states that Albeniz preferred the piece performed on guitar.  He heard Francisco Tarrega play his arrangement and loved it.

Though Albeniz never wrote a piece for the guitar, his music is well known on the instrument. Arrangements of Cadiz, Sevilla, and Granada are staples of the guitar repertoire. Guitarists such as Manuel Barrueco, John Williams, and Julian Bream have recorded many works by Albeniz.

Other media has helped popularize Albeniz's music around the world. Bands like The Doors and Iron Maiden used parts of Asturias-Leyenda in original songs. A version of Granada functions as a love theme in Woody Allen’s film “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” 

It's no surprise it's become a standard in the guitar repertoire. The piece paints an enchanting Spanish landscape. Please enjoy our arrangement of this wonderful masterpiece by Isaac Albeniz. 

For a more in-depth exploration of the piece, consider the full course on “Asturias - Leyenda”. The course offers insight into musical phrasing, technique, and more.

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Allen Mathews

Hi, I’m Allen Mathews. 

I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
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