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 Post subject: Alicia de Larrocha
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 2:22 am 
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I've recently discovered her Granados Spanish Dances. I just fallen in love with her. She exudes a warmth and innate musicianship that is almost entirely unique, IMO.

What are your opinions on this little Barcelonian lady who makes such a huge sound?!



OT, PS: I've been rehabilitating myself for the last five months after a shoulder injury; It's mind-bogglingly frustrating to not be able to move the way I want to at the piano. But it is getting better all the time. Patience....doctor says I'll eventually regain 100% use of the shoulder.

I'll try not to be a stranger, but I've been a bit low in spirits; with a useless left arm, I don't much feel like playing anymore. Well at least I pulled of a few nice recordings. Sorry for blogging.

Pete


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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 7:50 am 
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She's always been one of my favourite pianists although I have to add that is largely in Spanish repertoire. Nobody touches her there. In other repertoire she is good without being especially excellent. Her playing is so incredibly supple, vital, vibrant, colourful, intense.... all that one wants in Spanish music, and much more.

So did you manage to get your shoulder hurt ? Been playing American football again ?

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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 12:05 pm 
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Location: Obamanation, unfortunately...
Her Albeniz and Soler are quite pleasant to the ears :)

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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 1:06 pm 
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techneut wrote:
She's always been one of my favourite pianists although I have to add that is largely in Spanish repertoire. Nobody touches her there. In other repertoire she is good without being especially excellent. Her playing is so incredibly supple, vital, vibrant, colourful, intense.... all that one wants in Spanish music, and much more.

So did you manage to get your shoulder hurt ? Been playing American football again ?


I love her personality; she's like a sweet little granny, the one who always has milk & cookies waiting for you. :lol:

OT PS: No football, but I am in the habit of engaging in risky activities (I should know better!) I was riding my bike (a road bike with the skinny tires) going about 40kph; I hit a rock and went flying into a ditch shoulder-first, nothing was torn or broken, but I bruised my joint really badly, so I look a bit like John McCain when I try to lift my arm. Thank God (ironic) there were no cars around! Physical therapy WILL fix it; it's just such a long, drawn-out process---I want to play!!! (Yells in frustration) At least I can still rip the Chopin 10/1 :lol: :x


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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 2:30 pm 
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I wish she were my 'granny'.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 2:54 pm 
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:lol: that sounds dirty :roll: ... maybe it's the 'quotation marks'

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 3:07 pm 
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I said 'granny', not 'daddy' (sugar-daddy, that is). (Although I wouldn't mind one of those too. :lol: :lol: )

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 10:42 pm 
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nathanscoleman wrote:
:lol: that sounds dirty :roll: ... maybe it's the 'quotation marks'


Leave it to Nathan to find quotation marks "dirty". :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:37 pm 
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Alicia de Larrocha has very small hands, and that somewhat limits her repertoire; for example, I don't believe she plays much Rachmaninoff. She did manage to play the Rachmaninoff 3rd Concerto though. In situations like that, she frequently does considerable redistribution of the music between the hands where practical.

She's always been very hard on herself for being a sometimes wife and mother due to her long periods away from home while on tours. She feels that she and her family have missed a lot for that reason, and she always feels remorseful about her career in that particular regard.

I do think she's a wonderful artist. I once saw/heard her at the Tanglewood Music Festival where she played the Schumann Piano Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, William Steinberg conducting. My wife and I had a box left of center with a perfect view of the stage. It was a marvelous performance that drew a very enthusiastic reaction from the audience.

In Spanish music, I think she's tops.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 19, 2008 12:14 pm 
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Rachfan wrote:
Alicia de Larrocha has very small hands


I did not know that. Too bad, now I can't use that as an excuse. :wink:

Rachfan wrote:
In Spanish music, I think she's tops.


I've listen to a lot her playing Granados, lately. Also Douglas Riva, another fine player.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 4:44 am 
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R.I.P. Alicia. :( Sad news: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/26/arts/ ... ted=1&_r=1

I've been listening to her a lot lately, so this came as a shock.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 8:18 am 
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This shocks me too. I did not realize she was that old already. She was always one of my favourite pianists, and I'd give anything to be able to play a Spanish piece like she did. I wonder who will take her place as the undisputed doyen of the genre.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:28 pm 
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techneut wrote:
I wonder who will take her place as the undisputed doyen of the genre.


Probably no one. And amazing to me is the article mentions that even with small hands, she could reach a 10th!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:46 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
Probably no one.

Seems likely. There are plenty of people who can play Spanish musc excellently, but there's not one that stands out so far as she did.

pianolady wrote:
And amazing to me is the article mentions that even with small hands, she could reach a 10th!

I doubt that. I have not got small hands (well, not real big either) and I have to stretch wide to take a 10th, as well as go in front of the keys instead of above them. Even if one could get the thumb and pinky in one horizontal line (I can almost but not quite) a small hand would just not cover the distance. I read that she had developed a special technique to facilitate these sort of things.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:55 pm 
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techneut wrote:
I doubt that. I have not got small hands (well, not real big either) and I have to stretch wide to take a 10th, as well as go in front of the keys instead of above them. Even if one could get the thumb and pinky in one horizontal line (I can almost but not quite) a small hand would just not cover the distance. I read that she had developed a special technique to facilitate these sort of things.


What – you mean not everything you read in the papers is true? :wink:

I can play a 9th fairly comfortably, but a 10th I can only touch the edges of the keys and I mash down a few keys in between too. So if you say that even you can’t reach a 10th, then she must not have been able to either. I wish there was something like a button we could press and then some kind of extension would pop out of our thumb and pinky. :idea:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:02 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
I can play a 9th fairly comfortably, but a 10th I can only touch the edges of the keys and I mash down a few keys in between too. So if you say that even you can’t reach a 10th, then she must not have been able to either.

I can reach a 10th, but I would not say it's comfortable, and I would not be able to do so if my hands were any smaller. But maybe it's all size that counts. the most.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:43 am 
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Just for the sake of being a bastard I'll let you know that my hands let my reach a 13th. :twisted:


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:57 am 
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Lukecash wrote:
Just for the sake of being a bastard I'll let you know that my hands let my reach a 13th. :twisted:

That would come in handy some times :roll:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:45 am 
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Actually, that brings to mind: Is it true that Chopin slept with wine works between his fingers in his youth?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:28 am 
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Lukecash wrote:
Actually, that brings to mind: Is it true that Chopin slept with wine works between his fingers in his youth?


:?: We're supposed to be talking about Alicia de Larrocha here...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:21 am 
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Great Spanish pianist, not to mention her Chopin and Beethoven was great too :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 11:52 am 
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Gregor Benko (founder of the International Piano Archives and friend of the Spanish pianist) has recently reported an incident he witnessed that I share with you.

"In November 1982 she played a recital in New York's Avery Fischer Hall - she was in a particularly virtuosic vein and managed to even overcome, or give the illusion of overcoming, the hall's poor acoustics. The audience was lifted up and she was particularly happy with her performance. In Fischer Hall the artist comes to the greenroom backstage off an elevator, and as she was playing her last encore I rushed to greet her at that elevator door. A few other insiders also were permitted - standing next to me waiting were a couple other friends, as well as Claudio Arrau, John Browining, and Vladimir Horowitz. The elevator doors opened, she came out beaming, and came to us to greet her friends - as she was talking with us (in French, Spanish and her adorable English) she looked up and saw Arrau and Browning and smiled even more broadly, beginning to talk animatredly with Arrau - then suddenly she saw Horowitz. Her whole demeanor changed in an instant, her faced looked as if she were about to be executed - she left off talking and dropped to her knees and kissed the hem of Horowitz's pants! It was an entirely spontaneous and sincere gesture, but it seemed to embarrass Horowitz. One of us had a camera but missed that great shot - the photo that was taken was just after she stood up. It was published in a few journals at the time. Horowitz, by the way, apparently was impressed with what he had heard, but it was a little hard to tell, since he was slurring his words and seemed to be over medicated. His outfit for the evening was also more
than a little bit "off," as one can see in the picture - he looked almost clownish."

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 1:46 pm 
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Interesting story, Alfonso. I wonder if that photo is still around somewhere...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:12 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
Interesting story, Alfonso. I wonder if that photo is still around somewhere...


I think it is, but as Benko said, not particularly poignant.

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 Post subject: Re: Alicia de Larrocha
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:19 am 
Definitely in my top 10! Extremely passionate playing style!


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 Post subject: Re: Alicia de Larrocha
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:22 pm 
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fastpara wrote:
Definitely in my top 10! Extremely passionate playing style!

You sure have been making the rounds of the piano sites...Piano World, then Piano Street, and now Piano Society. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Alicia de Larrocha
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:33 pm 
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fastpara wrote:

Definitely in my top 10! Extremely passionate playing style!

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 Post subject: Re: Alicia de Larrocha
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 7:40 pm 
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Today is her birthday. One of the few pianists I wish I would have been able to see perform in person.

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 Post subject: Re: Alicia de Larrocha
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 8:20 pm 
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Yes definitely. One of the absolute top pianists of all times. Happy to be a grand-grand-pupil :D
I stumbled upon this delightful clip featuring dear Alicia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNjJYxsP ... ure=relmfu

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 Post subject: Re: Alicia de Larrocha
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 3:29 am 
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I sort of remember talking about us being pupils of famous pianists, is that what you mean? And that video is darling! I can't believe I had not seen it before!!

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 Post subject: Re: Alicia de Larrocha
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 7:56 pm 
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Yes that is what I meant. Time to get some Spanish music under the fingers again.
I find many nice video's by subscribing to interesting YT channels and following YT's suggestions which are always to the point.

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 Post subject: Re: Alicia de Larrocha
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 10:26 pm 
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Topic bump. I stumbled on this delightful photo of Sir Georg Solti and Alicia de Larrocha, two artists I hugely admire, looking as if they are thoroughly pissed off with each other :D I think this is priceless, and would love to know the story behind that photo. I guess it could be related to their recording of Mozart concertos, the only thing they recording they made together AFAIK. Photo by Suzie Maeder. Hope I don't violate some copyright by posting it here. Just could not resist sharing it.


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File comment: Sir Georg Solti with Alicia de Larrocha :)
solti-larrocha.jpg
solti-larrocha.jpg [ 110.82 KiB | Viewed 2796 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Alicia de Larrocha
PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 3:47 am 
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I love it.


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 Post subject: Re: Alicia de Larrocha
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 2:19 am 
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That's a great picture! Leaves one wondering about their separate and silent thoughts. Larrocha was a superb pianist, but probably few know that Solti was a highly capable pianist in his own right, having been a piano student of Dohnanyi. He was a highly successful opera repapiteur. But instead of using that experience to propel himself into the world of a touring artist, he instead used his operatic expertise to move into conducting. It might be that if he said something to Larrocha that made her a bit dour (from the looks of things), perhaps it's something she needed to hear. Solti would have known. There are many surprising stories like that. We all think of Prokofiev, for example, as a great composer and conductor. But he was also virtuoso pianist who could show almost any other pianist of his day how to play the piano.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Alicia de Larrocha
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 9:33 pm 
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Solti's statue as a pianist is well-known. He occasionally teamed up with the likes of Ashkenazy and Perahia. There are quite some conductors who are accomplished pianists, even apart from pianists-turned-conductor. Tilson Thomas, Pappano, and many more I can't think of right now.
I don't believe Solti would have interfered with Larrocha's playing. As if she needed that, and he was too professional for that. But I think he could be quite a fierce creature. Probably had a row with Alicia about some interpretative detail. I bet the ever-sweet Alicia could also show her teeth if needed. Neither of them were real Mozart specialists and perhaps wanted different things. Ah well, nice to speculate on something like this :)

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 Post subject: Re: Alicia de Larrocha
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 5:04 am 
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Hi Chris,

Yes, another conductor/composer/pianist was Leonard Bernstein. He had studied piano with Vengerova, and was very able and accomplished. (He was also a Baldwin Artist.) I read an interview long ago when he mentioned that in his earlier years he thought a lot about which path he should best follow among the three main choices. As it turned out, of course, he was best known and remembered as a symphonic conductor, although occasionally he would conduct from the piano. You could tell that he enjoyed every moment of it. He did make time to compose some big works like "Age of Anxiety". For the piano he wrote what he called "anniversaries". These were very personal pieces. Some were elegies for departed friends while others were dedicated to living friends and could be humorous or witty. He also wrote the "contemporary piece" for one of the Van Cliburn Competitions.

David

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