September 27, 2009

filarmonica_efarbos_b1923.jpg

(Enrique Fernandez Arbos - helped put Albeniz on the map. Spain went along too)

Composer/Conductor/Violinist conducting his arrangement of a friends composition. Happens all the time, right? Enrique Fernandez Arbos was a talented composer in his own right, but he was also a very talented musician who also held the post of Music Director of the Madrid Symphony from 1904 until 1936.

He's probably best known as the orchestral arranger of a set of piano pieces composed by his friend Isaac Albeniz. An arrangement that has probably done more for Albeniz' career than anything else. And it helped establish Iberia as a staple in the concert hall (at least in the first half of the 20th century).

This 1928 recording, made for Spanish Columbia was part of a series of recordings Arbos made of Spanish composers that helped create an awareness of just how rich the vein of talent was in Spain, rather than always depend on French composers and musicians to take the honors for Spanish themed works. Arbos did a considerable amount to further the cause of Spanish culture to the rest of the world. One that was gaining considerable momentum before Civil War broke out in 1936. Arbos died in 1939. It wouldn't be until well after the end of World War 2 that it would resume. By that time a whole new generation of musicians and composers appeared.

And they probably owe a small debt of gratitude to Enrique Fernandez Arbos for getting the ball rolling.

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