September 25, 2009

Alicia de Larrocha "cultivated a poetic interpretive style in which gracefulness was prized over technical flashiness or grand, temperamental gestures."




"But her approach, combined with her small stature — she was only 4-foot-9 — was deceptive: early in her career she played all the big Romantic concertos, including those of Liszt and Rachmaninoff, and she could produce a surprisingly large, beautifully sculptured sound. Even so, it was in music that demanded focus, compactness and subtle coloristic breadth that Ms. de Larrocha excelled."

RIP.

16 comments:

Alex said...

Beautiful music making. Just goes to show that talent doesn't necessarily have anything to do with physical beauty.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Virtuosa

RIP

Albatross said...

Her renditions of Isaac Albeniz's pieces were exquisite.

Revenant said...

I'd never heard of her before, but I'm glad I have now.

Joan said...

Awesome. Can't wait to play it for my kids. My daughter is probably taller now than de Larrocha was as an adult.

Aside -- whoever decided the camera angles (director or editor) for this recording should be shot. There is minimal utility in seeing the pianist's face during the performance. I want to see hands, and body language! The long shot across the piano was way over-used, reminding me yet again of how I chafe at watching recorded music and dance. I'm forced to watch through the director's and editor's eyes, which seldom align with what I would choose to focus on. Frustration notwithstanding, that was a beautiful performance.

hdhouse said...

Three times in my orchestral life I had the opportunity to be in the accompanying side of her performance. She played easily and never ever strained.

Rehearsals were a breeze as she new the music from all angles, not just her part but ours as well.

She made the orchestra play better and we were always well served by the honor of being on a stage with her.

traditionalguy said...

Thank you Professor. That was a refreshing piece of beauty and much needed. The great musicians are the greatest givers of pure pleasure in this life. I Thank God for this artist's abilities and of course for giving us the one and only Mozart.

rhhardin said...

I have several LPs of her Albeniz; this Granados is nice.

A piece I meant to learn but never did.

Bissage said...

The fact that Ms. de Larrocha overcame her limitations, to achieve great success, serves as a welcome inspiration to all those who were was born in Barcelona on May 23, 1923.

Ern said...

She was one of the great musicians of our time. I've heard that she wasn't a very nice person, but perhaps that, or at least severe eccentricity, is frequently associated with being a great pianist, e.g., Horowitz, Gould, Michelangeli.

miller said...

Beautiful music and beautiful playing.

I can't imagine anything else from the 18th century that can be reproduced as-is that still can reach people.

Books are in a language that's hard to understand and read

Plays are overly long and dated in their references.

Visual arts perhaps, but the style is static.

But you can still hear Mozart played as background music in elevators, restaurants, and doctors' offices because it still is relevant.

sonicfrog said...

What tremendous touch and feel to her playing. I aspire to be at least 1/N'th the musician she was.

PS. As a musician, I gravitate to players who exhibit the qualities I mentioned above. I'm learning guitar, and my most favorite guitarist, the one who I would like to rip off stylistically more than any other, is Dire Straits guitar God Mark Knopfler.

Kirk Parker said...

Ern,

I'm not so sure that musicians, or even specifically pianists, are worse than any other genre of human being--think sports stars or (if you have a very strong stomach) politicians.

And for every Kathleen Battle out there in the music world, there's a Richard Stoltzman or Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, who come across as wonderful and unpretentious folks who, off-stage, are just as interested in you as you are in them.

Now, going back to the realm of politics, is there some wonderful analog of these latter two musicians who anyone would like to put forward as a counterweight to Harry Reid or John F'n Kerry???


... I didn't think so ...


wv: Hilter: a failed Austrian painter who also suffered from dyslexia (see also Gowdin's Law.)

Ralph L said...

I've heard that she wasn't a very nice person
She was constantly irritated by people asking about her son, Lyndon.

If the music demanded compactness, she sure had it.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

My favorite pianist, especially for the slow movements in the Mozart 25th and 27th (though the LP was better than the CD). As if an angel were hovering over every note.

dick said...

One of my favorites. I loved the concert she and Victoria de Los Angeles did a few years back. The two of them were magical together.