62. Eugen d’Albert [365 Composers for 2013]


3rd March – Eugen d’Albert


d’Albert (10th April 1864 – 3rd March 1932) is our composer for 3rd March, to mark the day of his death.
Nationality: Scottish/German
Lifespan: 67 years
Genre: Romantic
Education: National Training School for Music (former RCM) in London
Fame Ranking: 5

Eugen d’Albert was a man who liked to change his mind. He changed his name once, his nationality three times, and his wife six times. He denounced his birth country of the United Kingdom, but later changed his mind about that as well!

Born to a Scottish mother and French/Italian father, d’Albert was a prodigiously talented pianist who won a place at the school which was to become the Royal College of Music, at the age of just 12. He performed widely and received enthusiastic praise from the press. He won a scholarship which sent him off to Vienna to study, and from there he embraced German culture to the extent that he changed the spelling of his name, took on German citizenship and declared that England had taught him nothing.

He began to spend more time composing, and wrote a large number of operas, the most popular of which is entitled “Tiefland” (“The Lowlands”). He was quite a prolific composer, also writing large scale orchestral works, piano music, chamber music and songs. He was particularly influenced by the music of Wagner, but also (perhaps surprisingly) by the English composer Arthur Sullivan, with whom he had been a fellow student at college in London.

D’Albert became a citizen of Switzerland in later life, and is buried in the Swiss town of Morcote.

Here is d’Albert’s first piano concerto in B minor:


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