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Albeniz: Iberia, Navarra, Suite Española / De Larrocha


Release Date: 10/25/1990 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 417887   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Alicia De Larrocha
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 6 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

One of the great keyboard interpretations of our day -- each of Iberia's dozen movements is here perfectly, that is completely, realized, so that one feels the music's full implications have been searched out.

All connoisseurs must welcome this issue, for Alicia de Larrocha's performance of Iberia is one of the great keyboard interpretations of our day; this work, together with Falla's Fantasia Baetica and the Goyescas of Granados, reveals her art at its truest. Each of Iberia's dozen movements is here perfectly, that is completely, realised, and, after a number of listenings, one feels the music's full implications have been searched out. Much is gained from hearing the work complete and when played like this, Iberia'
Read more s depth and variety and its position as the climax of Albeniz's relatively short yet intensive life of composing and piano playing, are very apparent. He is less concerned here than elsewhere with national identification marks, but if this work leaves one less ready than usual to categorise about 'minor' composers that is because of the diversity of expression Albeniz achieves within strict stylistic limits. Over-emphasis, in a musical or pianistic sense, is the last thing such pieces need, and we are fortunate that Miss de Larrocha is so much inside the idiom that she can afford to indulge at times in understatement. This, in a sense, matches the way that Albeniz takes Spanish musical conventions for granted and thereby, somewhat paradoxically, makes more out of them. The playing is extremely refined, with a wide range of unfailingly apt colour. So much can be taken for granted from Miss de Larrocha, but the warmth of her performances must be remarked, and the feeling they convey of breadth, of amplitude, the unflagging sense of movement, of rhythms that are absolutely accurate yet sound casually natural. Thus "Evocacion" is not merely relaxed but has a still, quiet centre from which the music unfolds. In "El Puerto" this feeling is animated from within, the polo, bulerias and seguidilla rhythms deftly alternating. "Fete-Dieu a Seville" is memorably atmospheric while "Almeria" is almost hypnotic in its subdued warmth. "El Albaicin" is a good example of rhythms which are exact yet always dancing, and "El Polo" and "Lavapies", too, are sublimated dances, their piled-up pianistic complications notwithstanding. All the executive difficulties, in fact, are so fully encompassed that scarcely are we aware of them. Cantos de Espaiia are smaller canvasses and make lesser demands, although they, also, are full of justly proportioned and always characteristic detail. The graceful charm of "Cordoba" is well-known, and some of these pieces, such as "Orientale", are possessed of considerable force. Miss de Larrocha's earlier account of Iberia has been available as an import, but this new recording is in every way an improvement, giving an accurate idea of how she sounds in the concert hall. These discs should go straight on the the shelves—or, rather, the turntables—of all who care about fine piano playing.

-- Gramophone [10/1973]
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Works on This Recording

1. Suite Iberia by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Alicia De Larrocha (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906-1908; France 
Date of Recording: 12/1986 
Venue:  University Music School, Cambridge 
Length: 82 Minutes 55 Secs. 
2. Suite Iberia: no 13, Navarra [unfinished] by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Alicia De Larrocha (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906-1908; France 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  University Music School, Cambridge 
Length: 5 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Notes: This work was completed by Déodat de Séverac. 
3. Suite española, Op. 47 by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Alicia De Larrocha (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Madrid, Spain 
Date of Recording: 10/1986 
Venue:  University Music School, Cambridge 
Length: 33 Minutes 35 Secs. 
4. Serenata española, Op. 181 by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Alicia De Larrocha (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; London, England 
Venue:  University Music School, Cambridge 
Notes: This piece was added to the Suite española and retitled "Cadiz" (Op 47,
no 4) nine years after the composer's death. 
5. Cantos de España, Op. 232: no 1, Preludio [Asturias, Op. 47 no 5] by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Alicia De Larrocha (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Paris, France 
Venue:  University Music School, Cambridge 
Notes: This piece was added to the Suite española and retitled "Asturias" (Op 47,
no 5) nine years after the composer's death. 
6. Morceaux charactéristiques (2), Op. 164: no 1, Jota aragonesa by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Alicia De Larrocha (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  University Music School, Cambridge 
Notes: This piece was added to the Suite española and retitled "Aragon" (Op 47,
no 6) nine years after the composer's death. 
7. Cantos de España, Op. 232: no 5, Seguidillas by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Alicia De Larrocha (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Paris, France 
Venue:  University Music School, Cambridge 
Notes: This piece was added to the Suite española and retitled "Castilla" (Op 47
no 7) nine years after the composer's death. 

Sound Samples

Iberia - Piano (Pub.1906) - Book 1: 1. Evocación
Iberia - Piano (Pub.1906) - Book 1: 2. El Puerto
Iberia - Piano (Pub.1906) - Book 1: 3. Fête - Dieu à Seville
Iberia - Piano (Pub.1906) - Book 2: 4. Rondeña
Iberia - Piano (Pub.1906) - Book 2: 5. Almería
Iberia - Piano (Pub.1906) - Book 2: 6. Triana
Iberia - Piano (Pub.1906) - Book 3: 7. El Albaicín
Iberia - Piano (Pub.1906) - Book 3: 8. El Polo
Iberia - Piano (Pub.1906) - Book 3: 9. Lavapies
Iberia - Piano (Pub.1906) - Book 3: 10. Málaga
Iberia - Piano (Pub.1906) - Book 3: 11. Jerez
Iberia - Piano (Pub.1906) - Book 3: 12. Eritaña
Navarra
Suite española, Op.47: Granada (Serenata)
Suite española, Op.47: Cataluña (Corranda)
Suite española, Op.47: Sevilla (Sevillanas)
Suite española, Op.47: Cádiz (Canción) (Op. 181)
Suite española, Op.47: Asturias (Leyenda) (Op. 232/1)
Suite española, Op.47: Aragón (Fantasia) (Op. 164/1)
Suite española, Op.47: Cuba (Capricho)
Suite española, Op.47: Castilla (Seguidillas) (Op. 232/5)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 One of the finest Iberia ever recorded March 2, 2013 By Daniel Rose (Shrewsbury, MA) See All My Reviews "The ArkivMusic notes and review information on this recording appear to refer to an earlier release, as it is dated 1973, and I would disagree with its conclusions anyway. This particular recording was made in 1986. It apparently includes the third recording of Iberia by Alicia de Larrocha since her first effort in the 1960's, and it is by far her best. Until I heard this particular release, I was convinced that the finest recording of Iberia available was from Aldo Ciccolini's recordings of both Iberia and Goyescas (by Enrique Grandados) made for EMI in 1966. By the time she made this recording, de Larrocha had distilled, both technically and architecturally, the essential elements of the work to a point of pristine clarity. And the new digital recording technology available was then able to capture that highest expression of the work that she had achieved. I now count this effort, along with Ciccolini's made 20 years earlier, as among the finest expressions of the work, though with very different views of its structure. As in her earlier recordings, de Larrocha meanders into many more tempo changes and textures, where Ciccolini maintains a far clearer lyrical sweep from beginning to end, that seems to tell a simpler story, while never quite leaving out any of the subplots. Yet with this final attempt, de Larrocha achieves a similar clarity in her own way, not losing focus on the main melodic and rhythmic line, as I feel she had done in earlier attempts. Perhaps one could say that de Larrocha's is an appropriately more feminine approach, than the more powerful and matador-like approach from Ciccolini. To my mind they both represent the noblest expressions of the Spanish art, with few peers. (I might add that a more recent recording by Martin Jones on Nimbus also approaches this bar.)" Report Abuse
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