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[1860 - 1909]

Zortzico (1887)

arranged  by Mark Starr  
for string orchestra (with optional percussion)
from Albeniz's composition for pianoforte, 2-hands.


link to biography of Isaac Albeniz

A demo recording of this arrangement -- realized with digital musical sounds -- will begin to play automatically upon opening this page.  The audio may take from a few seconds up to a minute to load -- depending on the speed of your internet connection.  If you do not wish hear it, please click on the STOP button (or PAUSE button) on the media player, below.  Also, you may wish to adjust your volume control to a more comfortable level.

If you would like to download a copy of this audio demo in wma format (playable with Windows Media Player and other media players,) please right-click on this link: here.  and select "Save Target As..."  Copies of this wma file may be freely distributed not-for-profit and unaltered.


The full score of Mark Starr's arrangement for string orchestra (with optional percussion) is now available for purchase on amazon.com at this link.   With Amazon's LOOK INSIDE feature, you can browse among the pages.


Zortzico, in E minor

a Basque dance for string orchestra 

arranged for string orchestra (with optional percussion) by Mark Starr (2009)

arrangement copyright 2009 by Mark Starr


music composed by Albeniz for the pianoforte (2-hands) and first published in 1887

A zortzico is a Basque round dance (or line dance) in quintuple meter.  The five beats are always grouped 3 + 2. The dance is hypnotic and sensual in character. The repetitive rhythmic pattern of a zortzico has dotted rhythms on beats 2 & 4.



Zortzico bailado en la Plaza de Elorrio

Museo Zumalakarregi Museoa

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 an evocative and mesmerizing piece that lasts about 5-6 minutes.

Mark Starr has made two different orchestrations of Albeniz's piano piece.  The present one is for string orchestra.  In addition, Starr has made an alternate arrangement for symphony orchestra (it, too, is available on rental from Noteworthy Musical Editions.)

The orchestra (both string orchestra and symphony orchestra) are ideal mediums for this luscious music. Only sustained instruments, such as strings (and winds,) can execute the numerous extended crescendos and diminuendos on very long tones that fill the central section of the work.  The strings with mutes impart a mysterious tone to this beguiling dance.

Technically, this music is of only moderate difficulty for string players.  The work poses challenges to the musicians for intonation and string tone.  However, the quintuple meter can be rather tricky for student musicians.

String orchestras interested in performing (or recording) either of Mark Starr's arrangements of this work should consult our FEES webpage, and then contact Noteworthy Musical Editions for a quote on the rental of parts and performance fee.