Obituary: Pianist Alicia de Larrocha, 86

Posted on: September 28, 2009

In Saturday’s (9/26) New York Times, Allan Kozinn writes, “Alicia de Larrocha, the diminutive Spanish pianist esteemed for her elegant Mozart performances and regarded as an incomparable interpreter of Albéniz, Granados, Mompou and other Spanish composers, died on Friday evening in a hospital in Barcelona. She was 86. … In a career that began when she was a child—she made her concert debut at 5, and her first recording at 9—Ms. de Larrocha cultivated a poetic interpretive style in which gracefulness was prized over technical flashiness or grand, temperamental gestures. … Her Mozart performances, as well as her readings of Bach and Scarlatti, were so carefully detailed and light in texture that even as public taste shifted toward the more scholarly interpretations of period-instrument specialists, Ms. de Larrocha’s readings retained their allure. … Ms. de Larrocha’s most enduring contribution, however, was her championship of Spanish composers. Although Arthur Rubinstein played some of this repertory, few other pianists outside Spain did, and none with Ms. de Larrocha’s flair. She made enduring recordings of Albéniz’s ‘Iberia’ and Granados’s ‘Goyescas,’ and helped ease those works into the standard piano canon."

Posted September 28, 2009