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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Alicia de Larrocha - Concertos from Spain


Composer: Isaac Albéniz; Joaquín Turina; Xavier Montsalvatge; Carlos Surinach
  1. Albéniz - Rapsodia española (arr. Cristóbal Halffter)
  2. Turina - Rapsodia sinfónica, Op. 66
  3. Montsalvatge - Concerto Breve for Piano & Orchestra: I. Energico
  4. Montsalvatge - Concerto Breve for Piano & Orchestra: II. Dolce
  5. Montsalvatge - Concerto Breve for Piano & Orchestra: III. Vivo
  6. Surinach - Concerto for Piano & Orchestra: I. Allegro
  7. Surinach - Concerto for Piano & Orchestra: II. Larghetto
  8. Surinach - Concerto for Piano & Orchestra: III. Vivace con fuoco

Alicia de Larrocha, piano
London Symphony Orchestra (1, 2)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (3-8)
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, conductor

Date: 1976 (3-8), 1983 (1, 2)
Label: Decca Eloquence



This is not going to be an “objective” review, because I specifically asked that Australian Eloquence issue this compilation for the express purpose of bringing back into the catalog the Surinach Piano Concerto, a dazzling, hell-for-leather contemporary Spanish romp that would bring the house down in a live setting, and that has never been released on CD until now. The truth is, I heard it on my car radio in 1984 and sat transfixed in a parking lot, engine running, late for work, until it was done. Then I ran to my local Tower Records to buy it, only to find that it was out of print (it was recorded in 1977). I couldn’t find it used, and never heard it again. I was extremely annoyed that Decca Legends released the equally gorgeous and little-known Montsalvatge Concerto Breve (which isn’t so “breve” after all, lasting about 25 minutes) in tandem with a miscellany of solo works, when the Surinach would have made the perfect coupling.

All of the material included here is vintage Larrocha. The Albéniz and Turina performances are famous and highly regarded anyway, making this CD the ultimate 20th-century Spanish piano concerto collection that does not include the ubiquitous Nights in the Gardens of Spain. So aside from saying that the performances are spectacular, the sonics are terrific, and coming clean about my complicity in this enterprise, I’m just going to limit myself to a heartfelt “Thank you!” I hope that you agree. [4/23/2005]

-- David HurwitzClassicsToday

More reviews:


Alicia de Larrocha (23 May 1923 – 25 September 2009) was a Spanish pianist and composer. She was considered one of the great piano legends of the 20th century. She is credited with bringing greater popularity to the compositions of Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Granados. De Larrocha made numerous recordings of the solo piano repertoire and in particular the works of composers of her native Spain. As she grew older she began to play a different style of music; more Mozart and Beethoven. De Larrocha won several individual awards throughout her lifetime.


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