The German composer Eugen d’Albert was born in Glasgow and had his early musical training in London, where his father had formerly been ballet master at the King’s Theatre and at Covent Garden. He enjoyed a career as a virtuoso pianist, later turning his attention to opera, a form in which he won immediate if ephemeral success. He died in Riga in 1932.
The best known of d’Albert’s stage works is his music drama Tiefland, based on a Portuguese original and first staged in Prague in 1903. This was followed by a musical comedy on the subject of the flautist king Frederick the Great, Flauto Solo. His final work for the stage, Mister Wu, was left unfinished at his death.
D’Albert’s two piano concertos provide an interesting addition to Romantic piano repertoire, testimony also to the composer’s own skill as a performer. His Overture to Grillparzer’s Esther also retains an occasional place in orchestral repertoire.
D’Albert made transcriptions and arrangements for piano, as expected of any virtuoso. Original compositions include the Suite, Op. 1, the Sonata, Op. 10 and a number of shorter genre pieces.