James Bennett II is a staff writer for WQXR.
Watch: Chabrier's 'España' Arranged as a Piano Duo
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 02:24 PM
This week, we pass a happy birthday greeting on to Emmanuel Chabrier, the French composer whose work left a mighty impression on his contemporaries, including the trio of impressionists Satie, Ravel and Debussy.
Born on Jan. 18, 1841, Chabrier’s lasting musical legacy is closely associated with the stage, as he wrote a number of operas and operettas during his life, including Gwendoline and L’ètoile. But he could work orchestral magic, too, typified by the influential España. It was written after a tour of Spain, where he was taken by the local sounds and songs he heard in the air.
Though popularly known as music for orchestra, which Chabrier “imagined as a giant guitar,” the piece was originally conceived for piano. In fact, Chabrier transcribed his popular orchestral work for a piano duo. In the video below, check out an eight-hand piano arrangement performed by Jiyeon Sung, Aeji Yoon, Jin Hwa Lee and Joo-Hye Lee at South Korea's Seoul Art Center.