This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
De Larrocha employs rubato but possesses the ability to make it sound as natural as breathing; yet she also preserves a stimulating tautness of rhythm. This is true classical playing, free from any superimposed striving for effect but responding fully to the music's sense of color.
Alicia de Larrocha has been playing these works, the greatest in the repertoire of Spanish piano music, all her life - one of her very first recordings, 40 years ago, was of some of the Goyesca.s, and I had the pleasure of welcoming her first Iberia ten years after that (10/65); and immersed as she was from her earliest childhood in the authentic tradition (her mother, her aunt and she herself were all trained at Granados's own school, of
which she later became director), she has several times been asked to re-record them. She once said, rather wistfully, that she didn't consider herself a specialist but that Spanish music was what the public constantly demanded of her. One can sympathize with her if she feels inescapably cast in this mould - but then she shouldn't be so wonderfully persuasive in it!
Complete technical assurance in these extremely demanding works (Albéniz himself, a brilliant pianist, was on the verge of withdrawing some of the Iberia pieces, such as "Lavapies", as being unplayable) has now become taken for granted, and Larrocha is not unique in mastering their terrors; but though there have been other distinguished interpreters, her readings have consistently remained a touchstone. She employs plenty of subtle rubato (for example in Albéniz's "Almeria" and Granados's "Los requiebros") but possesses the ability to make it sound as natural as breathing; yet she can also preserve a stimulating tautness of rhythm, as in "El puerto". In the true sense of that much-misused word, this is classical playing, free from any superimposed striving for effect but responding fully to the music's sense of colour; and even in the densest of textures (as in "Eritafla") she is able to control conflicting tonal levels. Goyescas, which can tempt the unwary into exaggerated 'expressiveness', brings forth a wealth of poetic nuance, without losing shape - as for instance in the splendid "El amor y la muerte". The recorded quality throughout always was good and here emerges as fresh as ever.
-- Gramophone [4/1996]
Works on This Recording
Suite Iberia by Isaac Albeniz
Alicia De Larrocha (Piano)
Written: 1906-1908; France
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