A-Z of Musical Composers
Isaac Manuel Francisco Albéniz y, more commonly known as Isaac Albéniz, was born on 29th May 1860 in Camprodon, Catalonia, Spain and died on 18th May 1909 in France.
To classical guitarists the world over, he is known for his quintessential Spanish guitar repertoire. My younger brother, who is a professional guitarist himself, has been playing his pieces since childhood. Few realise that he was not actually a guitarist at all, but was in fact a virtuoso pianist, composer, and conductor. He is best known for his piano works often based on Spanish folk music.
Despite composing mostly for the piano, it is his transcriptions for guitar that are most well known today – particularly works such as Asturias (Leyenda), Granada, Sevilla, Cadiz, Córdoba, Cataluña, Mallorca, and Tango in D.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer and musician who was born in March 1685 and died in July 1750. This was a period of musical history known as the Baroque. He is perhaps the most well-known of the famous Bach family of musicians:
Johann Christoph Bach (1642–1703), Johann Michael Bach (1648–1694), Maria Barbara Bach (1684–1720), Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710–1784), Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–1788) to name just a few.
He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Art of Fugue, the Brandenburg Concertos, and the Goldberg Variations, and for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. A master of the keyboard, Bach gifted the world such gems as The Well-Tempered Clavier and organ works too numerous to name individually. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Western art musical canon.
Here are links to some of these great pieces.
Mr Baker Sept 2019
Cream (Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker & Jack Bruce)
The great drummer Ginger Baker died on 6th October this year aged 80 and so it seemed fitting to continue the musical A-Z with the group he was perhaps most famous for being in – Cream.
Cream were a British rock band formed in London in 1966. The group consisted of bassist Jack Bruce, guitarist Eric Clapton, and drummer Ginger Baker. Bruce was the main songwriter and vocalist, although Clapton and Baker also sang and contributed songs. Formed from members of previously successful bands, they are widely regarded as the world's first supergroup as each player was considered to a master of their instrument.
Their music spanned many genres of rock music, including blues rock, psychedelic rock,
and hard rock. In their career, they sold more than 15 million records worldwide.
The group's third album, Wheels of Fire (1968), is the world's first platinum-selling double album.
In 1993, Cream were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Here are links to three of their more famous songs.
Mr Baker Sept 2019
Claude Debussy was born 22 August 1862 and died aged just 55 on 25 March 1918. He is regarded as one of the greatest French composers of all time. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, seeking to paint pictures in the mind of his listeners by the quality of the sounds they hear.
Despite being born to a family of modest means and little cultural involvement, Debussy showed enough musical talent to be admitted at the age of ten to France's leading music college, the Conservatoire de Paris. He originally studied the piano, but found his vocation in innovative composition, despite the disapproval of the Conservatoire's conservative professors.
Debussy is responsible for some of the most recognisable piano and orchestral music of the twentieth century. He himself was influenced by Russian and far-eastern musical styles and he in his turn was to be a great influence on later composers such as Bartok, Messiaen and George Benjamin.
All his music is easy to listen to but here are some links to some of my favourites.
Mr Baker January 2020