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JOSÉ ITURBI
Spanish Basque pianist (1895 - 1980)


AMPARO ITURBI (1898 - 1969)



José Iturbi studied in Barcelona and at the conservatories in Valencia and Paris where he studied piano with Victor Staub, but he also studied harpsichord extensively with Wanda Landowska concentrating on keyboard technique and interpretation. He began touring as a concert pianist in 1912 and made his American debut in New York City in 1929.

Iturbi was a noted harpsichordist and had quite a successful career as a conductor, first appearing in Mexico City in 1933.  In 1936, he was appointed conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in which position he remained until 1944. And he conducted the Valencia Symphony Orchestra in Spain for many years. He performed regularly in concert with his sister, Ámparo, also a renowned pianist.

He was also a star in Hollywood films, appearing as an actor-performer in a number of musicals of the 1940s, often playing himself in these films. Sadly, this led to his not being taken seriously as a concert artist.

To my taste, José Iturbi excells in his performances of Debussy and the great Spanish composers, though I confess to an admiration for his performances of Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninoff.  I find his Beethoven concerto and the Für Elise a bit on the affected side, but the Andante Favori is just beautiful.  I'd also like to point out the bits of the Tchaikovsky and Grieg concerti which are played in the real virtuoso bravura style.

As for his sister, Amparo.  If you want to hear how good she really was - José always insisted she was a better pianist than he - listen to the Chabrier waltz below in which she playr the primo part.  And do not miss the recording of the two piano version of the Ritual Fire Dance that Iturbo plays with sister Amparo.  It's to die for.



Bach  Fantasia in C minor, BWV 906




Rameau  Rigaudon, Musette and Tambourin

recorded live on a harpsichord in 1940




Mozart  Piano Sonata 12 in F Major, K 332
i Allegro

recorded in 1937




Mozart  Sonata for two pianos in D major, K 448
iii Molto Allegro
with Amparo Iturbi




Mozart  Piano Concerto 20 in D minor, K 466
 José Iturbi conducting an unidentified orchestra

i Allegro
ii Romaze
iii Allegro assai




Mozart  Concerto for 2 Pianos in E major, K 365
with Amparo Iturbi, piano
José Iturbi conducting the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

i Allegro (cadezna by José Iturbi)
09:44ii Andante
16:59iii Rondo - Allegro (cadezna by José Iturbi)

recorded in 1940




Beethoven  Andante Favori in F major, WoO 57

recorded in the early 1930s




Beethoven  Für Elise




Beethoven  Piano Concerto 3 in C minor, Op 37
José Iturbi conducting the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

recorded in 1941


i Allegro con brio



ii Largo



iii Rondo - Allegro




Chopin  Étude in C minor Op 10~12




Chopin  Fantaisie-Impromptu in C minor, Op posth (Op 66)


recorded live in 1941



recorded in 1945 (for the movie "A Song to Remember)




Chopin  Polonaise 6 in A major, Op 53 "Heroique"




Chopin  Waltz in C minor Op 64~2


Edward Isaacs
02:50José Iturbi
06:06Cor de Groot
09:09Moura Lympany
12:51Géza Anda




Liszt  Piano Concerto 1 in E major
José Iturbi conducting the RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra

recorded in 1953




Liszt  "Les jeux d'eau à la Villa d'Este" from "Années de pèlerinage - Troisième Année - Italie"

recorded in 1956




Liszt  Hungarian Rhapsody 11

recorded live in 1940




Tchaikovsky  Piano Concerto 1 in B minor, Op 23
Donald Vorhees conducting the Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra
00:35 iii Allegro con fuoco

recorded live in 1943




Grieg  Piano Concerto in A minor, Op 16 (fragment)
Iturbi playing and conducting

i Allegro molto moderato
ii Adagio
iii Allegro moderato molto e marcato. Quasi presto. Andante maestoso

filmed in 1944




Chabrier  "Romantic Waltz"
with Amparo Iturbi




Albéniz  "Sevilla" from Suite española 1, Op 47 (rec 1933)
03:57Albéniz  "Córdoba" from Cantos de España, Op 232 (rec 1938)
10:04Granados  "The Maiden and the Nightingale" from Goyescas (rec 1933)
14:48Navarro  "Pequeña" (rec 1933)




Albéniz  Sevillana

recorded live in 1941




Albeniz  "Malagueña"from Suite España, Op 165




Albéniz  Cadiz (Canciòn)

recorded in 1960




Debussy  "Clair de lune" 3 from Suite Bergamasque

recorded in the late 1930s




Debussy  Deux Arabesques

1 in E major
3:52 2 in G major

recorded in 1946




Debussy  "Rêverie"

[followed by a dreamy performance by Monique Haas at 03:25]




Granados  Allegro de Concierto

recorded in 1959




Rachmaninoff  Prelude in C minor, Op 3~2
04:20 Paderewski  Minuet in G, Op 14~1




de Falla  "Danza del Terror" from El Amor Brujo




de Falla  "Ritual Fire Dance" from El Amor Brujo

recorded in 1944




de Falla  "Ritual Fire Dance" from El Amor Brujo
version for two pianos with Amparo Iturbi

recorded in 1944




Manuel Infante (1883-1958)  Spanish Dance for two pianos
with Amparo Iturbi




José Iturbi  Fantasy for piano and orchestra (1942)
the composer is both pianist and conductor in this recording

recorded in 1956




Gershwin  from Three Preludes

00:181 Allegro ben ritmato e decisoin B major
01:583 Agitato in Eminor

recorded live in 1954










For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.



And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse



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