Alicia de Larrocha was the last in a line of distinguished Catalan pianists : Liszt’s pupil Pedro Tintorer (a Majorcan) taught Juan Bautista Pujol who taught Enrique Granados. Granados taught Frank Marshall (1883-1959), a Catalan despite his Anglo-Saxon name, and the mother and aunt of Alicia de Larrocha. Marshall inherited Granados’s piano academy and taught Larrocha — who inherited the academy from him.
This album celebrates that heritage, not merely in the choice of composers but in the distinguished performances described by critic Max Loppert as a ‘marriage of tonal warmth, rhythmic exactitude, and a melodic understatement’. To open proceedings, the charming Sonata in D major by the little-known composer-priest Mateo Albéniz (1755-1831) has hints of a zapateado dance, as well as the
unmistakable influences of Haydn, Mozart and Scarlatti. lt is heard more frequently on the guitar, but Larrocha’s is the definitive recording of the keyboard original.
Mateo was no relation of his great namesake lsaac (1860-1909) whose piano works constitute one of the most important bodies of music by a Spanish composer. Best known for Iberia, his monumental collection of tone poems, he composed numerous other works inspired by the folk music of his country. 'Rumores de la caleta’ (subtitled ’Malagueña’) — surely one of the most effective imitations of the guitar ever written for the piano — and ’Puerta de tierra’ (‘Bolero’) come from Recuerdos de viaje (Travel Memories) composed in 1886-87. ’Malagueña’ (not to be confused with 'Rumores’, above) and the celebrated ‘Tango in D’ are numbers 3 and 2 respectively of Albéniz's collection España, Op. 165 composed in 1890.
Pavana capricho in E minor, Op. 12 is Albéniz's earliest verified extant piano work dating from c.1883, a little salon piece which he wrote for the price of a ticket to a bull-fight ; to it Larrocha brings her usual subtlety and affection. The group is completed by another enticing evocation of the guitar, Sevilla (’sevillanas’) n° 3 of the Suite espanola, Op. 47 from 1886.
Another composer-priest, Antonio Soler (1729-83), whose little Sonatas Larrocha championed throughout her career, contributes two to this recital.
From Soler we fast forward to 1930 and the dramatic ferruca rhythm of ’Sacromonte’, the last of the five Danzas gitanas, Set 1, by Joaquín Turina (1882-1949) followed by the coruscating demands of ’Zapateado' from his earlier Tres danzas andaluzas of 1912...Jeremy Nicholas, from the booklet
Alicia de Larrocha
1 Sonata in D MInor 3:02
2 Rumores de la caleta. Malagueña (N° 6 from Recuerdos de Viaje, Op. 71) 3:43
3 Pavane-Capricho, Op. 12 3:29
4 Puerta de tierra. Bolero (N° 5 from Recuerdos de Viaje, Op. 71) 3:30
5 Malagueña (N° 3 fom España, Op. 165) 3:34
6 Tango (N° 2 from España, Op. 165) 2:40
7 Sevilla. Sevillanas (N° 3 from Suite española, Op. 47) 4:39
8 Sonata in G Minor, R. 87 5:53
9 Sonata in D Major, R. 84 3:35
Joaquín Pérez Turina
10 Sacromonte (N° 5 from Danzas gitanas, Set. 1, Op. 55) 2:02
11 Zapateado (N° 5 from Danzas españolas, Op. 37) 4:17
12 Valenciana o Calesera (N° 7 from Danzas españolas, Op. 37) 4:57
13 Andaluza (N° 5 from Danzas españolas, Op. 37) 4:17
14 Quejas ó la maya el ruiseñor (N° 4 from Goyescas) 6:36
15 El Pelele 4:29
Manuel de Falla
16 Danza de los vecinos (from El Sombrero de tres picos) 3:09
17 Danza ritual del fuego (from El Amor burjo) 4:31
18 Danza de la pastora 3:31
19 Danza de la gitana 3:55
Joaquín Maria Nin-Culmell
20 Cancion otoñal (N° 19 from Tonadas, vol. 2) 1:57
21 Divertimento n° 2 'Habanea' 2:24
Alicia de Larrocha - p
Recorded at Kingsway Hall, London ; January 26/30, 1970 [# 18-21] ; June 25/28, 1973 [# 16 & 17] ; May 13/18, 1974 [# 1-13] ; & at Decca Studio, West Hampstead, London ; December 10/13, 1976 [# 14 & 15]