Notes and Editorial Reviews
Though Bach, Handel and Mozart are not the composers with whom I'd immediately associate Larrocha, this recital is none the less welcome for that. In Handel's Fifth Suite she makes no pretense that her piano is anything other than a piano. All four movements are played with vivid contrasts of dynamics, color and touch, plus quite a show of bravura in the famous concluding Harmonious Blacksmith Variations.
Mozart she plays with great authority and conviction. To try to place her style more precisely I got out another recent Decca contender, Andras Schiff, in K475 and K457. From him the composer emerges a bit younger, more mercurial, more vulnerable, whereas she seems to see this C minor drama through Beethoven's sturdier eyes.
Her opening movement sounds less fleet, and her faster tempo for the central Adagio elicits unusually rich cantabile.
The outstanding performance for me is nevertheless Bach's Chaconne. Firm rhythmic underpinning is perhaps its basic source of strength. But the sumptuous tone she brings to it without any loss of textural clarity, coupled with her intimate response to its spiritual confidences no less than its grander gestures, and all with so sure a view of its overall architectural shape, somehow doubled my respect for Busoni as much as Bach. The recording (made in London's Henry Wood Hall) is closer and more full-bodied than what I'd call the usual Decca "house" sound, but it's somehow right for this warm-hearted artist.
-- Joan Chissell, Gramophone [9/1987]
Works on This Recording
Featured Sound Samples
Harpsichord Suite no 5, HWV 430 (Handel): IV. Air and Variations "The Harmonious Blacksmith"
Violin Partita no 2 (Bach): V. Chaconne
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