ALBENIZ - STARR; Zortzico in E Minor, a Basque dance for string orchestra and percussion (ad libitum)

Isaac Albeniz
Year of composition
Year of arrangement
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
6 minutes
Classical music
String orchestra
Instrumental parts
Not available

A zortzico is a Basque round dance in quintuple meter in which the five beats are always grouped 3 + 2. The dance is hypnotic and sensual in character. The repetitive pattern of a zortzico has dotted rhythms on beats 2 & 4. Albeniz was Catalan, not Basque – but evidently he was fascinated by the seductive rhythm of the zortzico, since he composed two of them. The present one, in E minor, is a evocative and mesmerizing piece of about 5 minutes in duration. In my opinion, the string orchestra is an ideal medium for this luscious music. Only sustained instruments, such as strings, can execute the numerous extended crescendos and diminuendos on long tones that fill the central section of the work. The string orchestra, especially in the sections with mutes, imparts a mysterious tone to this beguiling dance. Browsers who would like to know molre about this beguiling work are directed to my essay on page 2 of the full score. The page is accessible with Scorch by using the player’s page arrows.

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Orchestral parts are available on rental from Noteworthy Musical Editions. For more information about renting orchestral performance materials for this work, please visit Noteworthy Musical Editions’ website at

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