EUGEN D' ALBERT (1864 - 1932)
The German composer Eugen d’Albert was born in Glasgow and had his early musical training in London, where his father had formerly been ballet-master at the King’s Theatre and at Covent Garden. He enjoyed a career as a virtuoso pianist, later turning his attention to opera, a form in which he won immediate, if ephemeral success. He died in Riga in 1932.
The best known of d’Albert’s stage works is his music-drama Tiefland, based on Angel Guimerà’s Terra Baixa, a Catalan novel from 1897, and first staged in Prague in 1903. This was followed by a musical comedy on the subject of the flautist king Frederick the Great, Flauto solo. He based another opera, Liebesketten (1912) on Guimerà’s La Filla del Mar. His final work for the stage, Mister Wu, was left unfinished at his death.
D’Albert left two piano concertos, a cello concerto and a symphony. Better known is his Symphonic Prelude to Tiefland.
D’Albert made the usual transcriptions and arrangements for piano, expected of any virtuoso. Original compositions include a Suite, Op 1, a Sonata and a large number of shorter genre pieces.