Friday, February 24, 2017

Manuel de Falla - Piezas españolas; etc. (Alicia de Larrocha)


Information

Composer: Manuel de Falla
  • (01-04) Cuatro piezas españolas
  • (05) Fantasia Baetica
  • (06-08) El sombrero de tres picos - Suite
  • (09-13) El amor brujo - Suite

Alicia de Larrocha, piano
Date: 1973
Label: Newton Classics (original recorded by Decca)

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Review

A much-missed pianist sparkles in music with which she was closely associated

"... The Falla programme is a reissue of the pianist’s 1973 Decca recording (Kingsway Hall again) rather than her harsh-sounding selection for Hispavox/EMI made in the late 1950s. Larrocha does not play the music as much as inhabit it. The Cuatro Piezas españolas, inspired by Albéniz’s Ibéria, are given peerless performances. It’s a wonder they are not better known. The fourth of them, “Andaluza”, aptly prefaces the Fantasia Baetica (“Baetica” being the Roman name for Andalusia). Composed for Arthur Rubinstein, who gave the premiere and then abandoned it, it is not the most gratefully written piece for two hands but its vibrant colours, astringent harmonies and piquant, ever-changing rhythms make it one of the most evocative of showpieces. The suites derived from Falla’s two ballet scores, ending with the “Ritual Fire Dance”, round off this shortish but exceptional disc."

-- Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone

More reviews:
http://www.classicstoday.com/review/reference-recording-larrocha-plays-falla/
http://www.classical-music.com/review/falla-cuatro-piezas-espa%C3%B1olas
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/classical/reviews/album-alicia-de-larrocha-manuel-de-falla-suites-from-el-sombrero-de-tres-picos-el-amor-brujo-2033220.html
https://www.amazon.com/Falla-Sombrero-Fantasia-Baetica-espanolas/dp/B003NEQAGI

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Manuel de Falla (23 November 1876 – 14 November 1946) was a Spanish composer. He attended the Real Conservatorio de Música y Declamación, studied piano with José Tragó and composition with Felipe Pedrell. His first important work was the one-act opera "La vida breve". Among his best known works are two ballets ("El amor brujo" and "El sombrero de tres picos") and the nocturne for piano and orchestra "Nights in the Gardens of Spain". With Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Granados he is one of Spain's most important musicians of the first half of the 20th century.

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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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