Monday, February 29, 2016

Alicia De Larrocha Plays Mompou

Alicia de Larrocha shows herself a splendid champion of Mompou in this elegantly salon-like series of songs and dances based on traditional Catalan melodies.
For the benefit of those who may not know the elegantly salon-like series of 13 Songs and dances (plus one for guitar, not included here), composition of which was spread out over more than 40 years, let me say that with only very few exceptions each consists of a coupling of two traditional Catalan melodies, freely arranged with artfully expressive harmonies. (RCA confuse the trail a little by identifying the tunes by their first words rather than their titles — e.g. ''Dotze cavallers'' instead of ''La Senyora Isabel'' for N° 2 ; and the Dance of N° 9 is classified as original Mompou whereas it is surely ''El barretinaire'' ?) The earlier pieces, from the 1920s, reveal influences of the Parisian composers with whom Mompou was friendly (the piled-up fourths of N° 3 unmistakably point to Milhaud), but the idiom becomes rather more personal later (and N° 6, which is entirely original, goes to Latin America for its inspiration). More individual than this series, however, are the Preludes : No. 6, the longest piece here, is somewhat Scriabinesque (apart from the similarity of its being for the left hand alone) and N° 7 by far the most impressionist and virtuosic.
As one who knew Mompou well and was the dedicatee of some of his pieces (including the Prelude N° 11 — sometimes erroneously listed as N° 7 — which was written as a wedding present for her in 1949), Alicia de Larrocha is in an almost unique position as an interpreter of his music, of which she again shows herself here a splendid champion. Being the artist she is, and like the best artists not content simply to repeat a previous interpretation without further thought, she offers readings noticeably different from her now nearly ten-year-old Decca performances of some of the Songs and dances. For the most part she adopts somewhat faster speeds, and as compared with the composer's own performances, recorded for the Musical Heritage Society, her approach is more direct, with more cohesive phrasing and without his habit (which becomes increasingly tiresome) of playing left-hand-before-right on almost every chord. In general she brings more vivacity to the Dance sections—markedly so in N° 7 and 8, though she is quieter and gentler in N° 10 ; she takes the 6/8 section of N° 4 with a charming lightness. Accentuation is sometimes different, as in No. 1 and in the bell-sounds of No. 5 ; but a compelling feature throughout this disc is her subtle tonal gradations. Larrocha's performances and the warm, natural recorded piano sound are both in the highest class.
Lionel Salter, Gramophone [11/1994]

Source :

Alicia De Larrocha


Cançons i dansas
(Spanish Songs & Dances)

1 N° 1, Canço - Petiteta l'han casada/Dansa - La dansa de Castelltersol  3:39
2 N° 2, Canço - Dotze cavallers/Dansa - Galop de cortesia  2:39
3 N° 3, Canço - El noi de la mare/Dansa - Sardana (original)  3:53
4 N° 4, Canço - A la vora de la mar/Dansa - Ball del ciri  4:10
5 N° 5, Canço  & Dansa - original  3:52
6 N° 6, Canço  & Dansa - original  3:45
7 N° 7, Canço - Muntanyes regalades/Dansa - L'hereu Riera  2:56
8 N° 8, Canço - El testament d'Amèlia/Dansa - Un Pobre pagès  3:29
9 N° 9, Canço - Rossinyol que vas a França/Dansa - original  4:19
10 N° 10, Canço & Dansa - Cantigas de Alfonso X  3:24
11 N° 11, Canço & Dansa - Tema de la "Patum" de Berga  3:50
12 N° 12, Canço - La dame d'Arago/Dansa - La mala nova  3:07
13 N° 14, Canço - Quan jo era petitet/Dansa - original  4:15


14 Prelude n° 11  1:56
(dedicated to Alicia de Larrocha)
15 Prelude n° 5  1:54
16 Prelude n° 6  4:44
(for the left hand)
17 Prelude n° 7  2:37


Alicia de Larrocha - p

Recorded at Manhattan Center, New York & American Academy and Institute of Arts and Lettres, New York ; betwen November 28, 1992 & April 3, 1993


Luciano said...

Thx Mel=)

fcapeau said...

SPLENDID ! What a beautiful and elegant interpretation. Many thanks, Mel.

Melanchthon said...

alfred venison said...

wonderful pianist, wonderful repertoire. many thanks. -a.v.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This one is a true gem, thanks so much Mel!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous, unrivalled musician, beautiful music, great post, thanks MM!