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Friday, September 25, 2009
Alicia de Larrocha, 1923-2009
The great Spanish pianist Alicia de Larrocha died today. She was 86. Ms. de Larrocha was one of the premiere Mozart stylists of the 20th century. She also did much for the piano music of her native Spain, recording major works by Albéniz and Granados, cementing their place in the repertory. While famous for her Mozart and Haydn, she could tackle the big works of Liszt and Rachmaninoff with ease.
Ms. de Larrocha was born in 1923 and made her American recital debut in 1955. She died in a hospital in Barcelona. According to family friend Gregor Benko, her health had been declining since she suffered a broken hip two years ago.
On a personal note, I had the privilege of seeing Ms de Larrocha play in a concert performance at Carnegie Hall, about ten years ago. A diminutive woman, (she stood only 4'9") she was a formidable musical presence, whose liquid legato and precise phrasing infused joy into all of her performances. Over the course of her long career (she made her concert debut at 5 and her first Chopin recordings at the age of 9), she was a beacon of elegance and refinement in the often showy, male-dominated world of concert pianism.
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats
- Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.