Notes and Editorial Reviews
...Achucarro offers Falla's earliest and latest keyboard music—three pieces from his precocious teens plus the Homenaje a Paul Dukas of 1935, a sombre and touching memorial to a friend.
Falla's Piezas were first heard in 1908 and are dedicated to AlbCniz, whom he had met in Paris through Dukas. They are more sparselynoted than the older composer's work, sharper in outline: "Aragonesa" is an animated jota, "Cubana" a sensuous habanera-styled piece reminiscent of Cadiz where Falla was born, "Montanesa" is a bell-haunted Catalonian landscape, and "Andaluza" is harsh, percussive, carrying hints of the Fantasia Baetica. Achucarro's performances have winning grace and clarity... Fantasia Baetica [is] Falla's major keyboard piece, and in my view the finest piano work to come out of Spain. It was written during 1919 and marks his last involvement with regional music ("Baetica" was the Roman name for Andalusia); after this came the emancipation from local concerns demonstrated in El Retablo de Maese Pedro and in the Harpsichord Concerto. In the Fantasia vocal phrases and guitar figures from canle hondo are marvellously translated into pianistic terms; this is a harsh, inward-looking, sometimes bitter piece, and the distillation of a long creative process.
[Alicia] de Larrocha's performance [on Decca] is superbly alive with colour and the feeling of physical movement, and though Achucarro's tempos are very close to hers (he takes 13' as against her 12' 57), his reading is quieter, more intimate. They take complementary views, in fact, and it is good to have both. Falla devotees will already have the Decca LP but will no doubt want to add this new one for the sake of the beautiful Homenaje and the three items (all dated 1890) from the composer's youth. The Nocturno reveals Chopin's beneficial, and not excessive influence, while Serenata Andaluza, though just as charming as the Vals, is slightly more personal.
-- Gramophone [12/1976]
reviewing these recordings on LP