Saturday, September 26, 2009

Adios, Alicia

Alicia de Larrocha y de la Calle has died at 86. I just read that on Twitter. I love her full name so I am writing that instead of just plain Alicia de Larrocha. Her mother was a pianist with the beautiful name of Maria Teresa de la Calle. Hence, Alicia de Larrocha y de la Calle. The "y" means "and."

I wish we had that tradition!

I would be Mary Kunz and Rodems Goldman.

Alas, it does not have the same ring.

De Larrocha y de la Calle's death was confirmed by piano historian and record producer Gregor Benko who was described as a close family friend. It makes me think of when I was in that situation, being the go-to person when Pennario died. There is a feeling of fulfillment in that, doing that for someone you love.

These great pianists, falling like giant oaks.

I had not realized de Larrocha y de la Calle was as old as she was. Reading her obituary I also had not realized she was only 4-foot-8! I knew she was petite, but that is really petite.

Recently I have begun listening more to de Larrocha y de la Calle's interpretations of Spanish music because Pennario's Spanish albums got me into that. But I always liked her Mozart, going back to when I was growing up.

To me this is a good piece to go out with.


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    Former Buffalo Phil. Music Dir. MTT and Alicia de Larrocha (try to ignore Dudely Moore, if you can!)


    This is actually the FIRST part of that video. :-)

  4. Mary,
    Thank you for posting this remembrance of Alicia de Larrocha. I had somehow missed this in the newspapers I look at until I saw it here yesterday. Has there been any reflection on her performance(s) in Buffalo? During my days as the evening classical host on the old WHLD-FM (back in the late 70's) she played at Kleinhans and a large audience turned out to see and hear her. I especially recall her Domenico Scarlatti Sonatas that evening, and the 3 Dances from "El Sombrero de Tres Picos" by Manuel de Falla. Strangely I don't recall the other works these 30+ years later. She was interviewed not too long after on CBC radio Toronto and it was fascinating to hear her talk a bit about something so pianistic as pedal technique! And of course, there are some wonderful videos of her with Michael Tilson Thomas, both in performance and rehearsal conversation, about various concerti (if memory serves). Beethoven I think? It's been a while -- but I know samples of these are available for viewing on YouTube. Though her passing is a huge loss, we are fortunate that she was so well recorded by major labels -- her "Iberia" by Albeniz, "Goyescas" by Granados, and works by de Falla are a treasure -- not to mention the Mozart concerti she recorded (I liked the earlier recordings best). - Steven in San Diego

  5. Steven, I am sorry to have had to break the news to you of this pianist's passing! I am always so happy to hear from you - have deadline looming right now but will be in touch again later today. You know what, I listened to you on WHLD-FM is those days. My mom would put me on dish duty and as I began to wash the dishes the show would typically be just starting - 7 p.m., right? And wait, I'll remember the theme...

  6. Mary, This is why I read your blog! Glad I saw the news here first.

    As for WHLD-FM - glad to know that my Mother was not the only one listening! :-) Actually, we had a pretty good audience in those days for classical on that station (this was before WNED went public, and classical). We actually got REAL letters (US Mail & Canada Post) and phone calls then. The phone sat right next to me and if it rang while I was talking on air you heard it! Oh - and if you remember the theme for the show, please remind me (I've forgotten but think we used one of the big Vivaldi concerti - the LP is probably still in a box here at home). Yes - 7:00pm to 11:00pm (or so). And you may not recall this, but I played a LOT of Alicia de Larrocha in those days.