Asturias by Isaac (Manuel Francisco) Albéniz
AMEB Preliminary List B No.1
Arranged by Marc Belanger
Isaac Albéniz was a composer and virtuoso pianist, a leader of the Spanish nationalist school of musicians. He is famous mainly for his piano pieces, which utilize the melodic styles, rhythms, and harmonies of Spanish folk music. The most notable composition may be Iberia, a virtuosic collection of twelve pieces for solo piano, considered by many to be a profound evocation of the spirit of Spain.
Asturias (also know as Leyenda) is one of the most famous pieces in the guitars repertoire. It is in face the very piece that inspired me to pick up the classical guitar as a young teenage who was at the time only interested in playing heavy metal music.
Many are often surprised to learn that it was originally composed for the Piano and is but one movement from the eight-movement work Suite Espanola Op. 47. It is certain he would not be known today were it not for guitarists playing his music, though he never actually composed a single work for guitar.
This simplified arrangement of Asturias – Isaac Albeniz (arr. Belanger) Preliminary List B No. 1 is transposed to the key of A minor and just presents the introductory theme from the six minute original.
- Play the bass part separately first and ensure this melody is legato throughout.
- Both the thumb and middle finger are to be played free stroke (apoyando)
- Pay close attention to the dynamics noting the increase in volume every 4 bars. This is an important technical aspect of this piece.
- Be sure to keep the first string pedal point E a little softer than the melody played with the thumb.
- As there are no left hand fingerings in this arrangement be sure to write in fingerings where appropriate – and stick to them.
- Make your left hand fingerings as economical as possible. For example the 2nd finger playing the final E on the 4th string in the first bar need not be lifted while you play the following notes C and A. Then it is there and ready to go when you come back to play it in bar two. Continue this approach through the piece where possible. This also contributes to a more legato feel.