I'm a big fan of Isaac Albéniz and I love classical guitar.

As a big classical guitar fan, I obviously love Baroque music and I love Flamenco as well. I am not the biggest fan of Romantic music and my humble opinion is that the piano is the main instrument of this era and hence not many Romantic pieces were transcribed to the classical guitar (please correct me if I'm wrong).

With that said, considering Isaac Albéniz lived from 1860 to 1909 (therefore during the Romantic period), is he considered a Romantic composer? He has a lot of Flamenco sounding pieces as well, so could he be considered a popular composer instead of a classical composer? If so, considering the amount of Baroque ornamentation in Flamenco music, can we say that it's kind of a gray area?

(there's probably not a "black or white" way to answer this, but I'm looking forward to reading some of your answers...)

1 Answer 1


When Isaac Albéniz found his musical voice, I suppose it could best be described as 'Spanish Nationalist'. The nationalist movement ln music is generally categorised as 'Romantic' I think.

This Wiki article postulates a 'Golden Age' of guitar works in the Romantic period.


  • That's a very good point. I hadn't thought about the nationalistic component of the Romantic era, and he definitely was a Spanish nationalist in his compositions. However, I'm finding it hard to link the Spanish "folk music" that Albéniz played and "classical music". I mean, if it's nationalist folk it can't be classical, right? How can one differentiate Isaac Albéniz, as a Romantic composer, from other Spanish folk/popular composers of the 19th century whose pieces are not considered classical music? Dec 23, 2016 at 19:03
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    Albéniz went beyond simply copying folk tunes. Maybe not so much in the works commonly transcribed for guitar though. But are the Bach suites 'classical'? Chopin waltzes? And what does it matter how you label them anyway?
    – Laurence
    Dec 23, 2016 at 19:12
  • Well the idea isn't to exactly label anybody, but more to understand if generally Albéniz is considered a romantic or not. Saying that he belongs in a gray area is also fine if that's the case. I understand we can't reduce any single composer to one era or label. Dec 27, 2016 at 19:05
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    Baroque: Musical development through counterpoint. Classical: Musical development through structural key contrasts. Romantic: Tunes and colours. If you accept those basic descriptions, I guess Albéniz is Romantic. But it all overlaps.
    – Laurence
    Dec 27, 2016 at 20:30

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