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(1860 - 1909)

ZORTZICO, for symphony orchestra

arranged for symphony orchestra
(or chamber orchestra) by Mark Starr
from Albeniz's work 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 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 then 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 of Albeniz's Zortzico is NOW available for purchase on Amazon.com at this link.


Zortzico, in E minor

a Basque dance for string orchestra

arranged for symphony orchestra by Mark Starr (2009)

arrangement copyright 2009 by Mark Starr


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




2 flutes

2 oboes

2 clarinets

2 bassoons

4 horns

3 trumpets




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 symphony orchestra.  In addition, Starr has made an alternate arrangement for string orchestra (which is also available on rental from Noteworthy Musical Editions.)

The orchestra (including both the string orchestra and the symphony orchestra) is an ideal medium for this luscious music. Only sustained instruments -- such as strings, woodwinds and brass -- can execute the numerous extended crescendos and diminuendos on very long tones that fill the central section of the work.  The muted strings in the final section impart a mysterious tone to this beguiling dance.

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

Symphony orchestras interested in performing or recording Mark Starr's orchestral arrangement of this work should consult our FEES webpage, and contact Noteworthy Musical Editions for a quote on rental of instrumental parts and the performance fee..