Alicia de Larrocha

About Alicia de Larrocha

Alicia de Larrocha was the best-known Spanish pianist of the 20th century. Tiny in stature, with small hands that could barely stretch a tenth, her supple technique and combination of luminous tone and crystalline clarity brought magical results. She played a central role in promoting Spanish piano music as a core part of the instrument’s repertoire, most notably through her recordings of Albéniz’s fearsomely demanding Iberia (1909) and Granados’ colorful Goyescas (1911). Born in Barcelona in 1923, she began studying as a young girl with Frank Marshall, who insisted on a thorough grounding in Baroque and Classical composers. Beyond her influential advocacy of the music of her homeland—not only Albéniz and Granados, but Soler, Falla, Turina, and Mompou—there is far more to Larrocha’s legacy. Her Bach sings and dances, her Mozart is poised and exquisitely proportioned—and she also played music usually associated with larger physiques, including a beautifully melancholic account of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 In D Minor, Op. 30 (1909) and a smoldering Bach-Busoni: Chaconne (1893). Before her death in 2009, she also recorded, among others, Chopin, Liszt, Schubert, and Schumann—performances that reveal an eloquent individuality admired by colleagues including Horowitz, Arrau, Bolet, and Previn.

Barcelona, Spain
May 23, 1923

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