One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Alicia de Larrocha: Complete EMI Recordings
see end of review for details
rec. Barcelona, 1962-92
EMI CLASSICS ICON 6294862 [8 CDs: 557:44]

Experience Classicsonline

It would hardly be possible to imagine a more headily performed collection of Spanish piano music than this eight disc box of Alicia de Larrocha’s EMI recordings made for Hispavox, over a thirty year span. Her earliest LPs, barring a couple of American releases, were made for this company in the 1950s and she remained loyal over the years. Her later Deccas (and RCAs) are probably the better known and were immeasurably better recorded, but there isn’t necessarily a correlation between performance excellence and recorded sound, no matter how splendid those later remakes may have been; and they were indeed excellent.
In matters of pinpoint accenting and in terms of the ultimate in phraseology, these early recordings are often just about superior. Many may not have caught her performances of Soler, since she was so closely associated with Granados and Albéniz and Turina, but these highly individual statements open up a continuum of Spanish keyboard excellence back to the eighteenth century. Vivid and strongly sculpted, there is an intensity about these sonata traversals that immediately both excites and detains one. I think it would be fair to point out a degree of romanticisation in some of the performances that may not appeal to more austere tastes, but I happen to find this buoyancy and generosity an attractive feature of the performances.
Her GranadosSeis Piezas Sobre Cantos Populares Españoles are splendidly nuanced, whether the guitar strum is evoked, as in the Preludio, or in the swaying control of her rhythm, for which you really need to sample Ecos de la Parranda or indeed the declamatory personalisation of Zambra, numbered fifth in the cycle. It would be pertinent to note at this juncture that the Hispavox recordings were hardly state of the art. In fact they were often downright poor, boxy and occasionally distorted. Nevertheless, despite these drawbacks, the essential core of the music emerges as vividly as one could reasonably hope. The dark, dank sonorities that permeate the funereal ethos of El amor y la muerte is just one highlight from her reading of Goyescas, which is housed in the second disc - these are card sleeves by the way, as per usual in the Icon series. It is the sense of naturalness of timbre and rhythm that is so compelling, as it assuredly is in Iberia’s El Puerto, a brilliantly realised reading by the way.
Her 1992 recording of Albeniz’s Suite Española is fully poetic, with a genuinely festive kick to Sevilla though even here, at this late date, the recording quality is clangy. There’s also very bad wow during Oriental in the Cantos De España cycle that was presumably impossible to remedy. Her Danzas Españolas are equally convincing and also somewhat sonically superior, the music oozing with personality, élan and sheer charm. The various voices of the third, in D, are richly but unselfconsciously bought out, from gruff bass to treble chatter, whilst in the Valses Poéticos lyricism and dynamism are held in scintillating accord. It’s a shame that the 1953 tapes of Escenas Románticas are in dullish sound, but we can still appreciate the refined quality of the playing and the fine dynamics she employs and, not least, the dancing voluptuousness of Granados’s inspiration.
One should on no account overlook her dazzling Turina, a small sample of which she recorded here. Exciting repertoire - not that Turina isn’t - comes via Montsalvatge’s Concerto, a 1992 Barcelona recording with its rich Debussian inheritance amorously projected. Collectors will know that she’d already recorded this work back in 1977 with de Burgos, but this EMI is with García Navarro directing. Finally, as if this isn’t riches enough, we have the concert at Hunter College, City University of New York, given by de Larrocha and Victoria de los Angeles in 1971. From Spanish baroque pieces to Granados and de Falla, this is a formidable and masterly recital with the three cycles - de Falla’s Siete canciones populares español and Granados’Nueve Tonadillas and Canciones amatorias - demonstrating how adept a collaborative pianist de Larrocha could be, and of course how marvellous was de los Angeles.
There are full recording details in the booklet which has two articles, one by de Larrocha’s daughter, Alicia Torra de Larrocha, and the other by Gregor Benko, and both are affectionate, insightful and well worth reading.
Jonathan Woolf  

CD 1 [67:15]
Antonio SOLER (1729-1783)
Sonata No.24 in D minor (Nin, I No.1) [8:48]
Sonata No.84 in D (Nin, I No. 5) [3:18]
Sonata No.85 in F sharp minor (Nin, I No. 6) [5:09]
Sonata No. 89 in F (Nin, I-No.10) [3:20]
Sonata No. 90 in F sharp (Nin, I-No. 12) [5:19]
Sonata No. 21 in C sharp minor (Nin, I-No. 2) [5:33]
Sonata No. 87 in G minor (Nin, I-No. 8) [5:36]
Sonata No. 88 in D flat (Nin, I-No. 9) [4:20]
Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)
Seis Piezas Sobre Cantos Populares Españoles [25:19]
CD 2 [72:47]
Los requiebros [8:22]; Coloquio en la reja [10:21; El fandango de Candil [5:30];
Quejas o la maja y el ruiseñor [6:23]; El amor y la muerte (Balada ) [12:22]; Epilogo: La serenada del espectro [7:34]
El pelele [4:13]
Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909)
Iberia book 1
Evocación [5:35]; El puerto [4:09]; El Corpus en Sevilla [8:06]
CD 3 [73:57]
Iberia book 2
Rondeña [7:10]; Almería [9:01]; Triana [5:16];
Iberia book 3
El Albaicín [6:45]; El polo [6:44]; Lavapiés [6:18]
Iberia book 4
Málaga [4:30]; Jérez [8:41]; Eritaña [5:25]
Navarra - completed by Déodat de Séverac [5:28]
Azulejos [8:30]
CD 4 [74:58]
Suite Española
Granada [4:51]; Cataluña [2:29]; Sevilla [4:35]; Cádiz [4:51]; Aragón [4:03]
Capricho: Pavana [3:29]
Tango [2:46]
Recuerdos de viaje Op.71 - Rumores De La Caleta [3:45]
Recuerdos de viaje Op.71 - Puerta De Tierra [3:26]
Cantos De España
Preludio (Asturias) [6:20]; Cantos De España- Oriental [3:27]; Cantos de España- Bajo La Palmera (Cuba) [4:08]; Cantos De España- Córdoba [6:00]; Cantos De España- Seguidillas (Castilla) [2:48]
Zaragoza [3:45]
Malagueña [3:48]
Mallorca (Barcarola) [6:23]
Zambra Granadina [3:19]
CD 5 [76:19]
Danzas Españolas
Nº 1 in G [2:52]; Nº 2 in C minor (Oriental) [4:49]; Nº 3 in D [3:53]; Nº 4 in C (Villanesca) [5:28]; Nº 5 in E minor (Andaluza) [4:10]; Nº 6 in D (Aragonesa) [3:38]; Nº 7 in G (Valenciana) [4:39]; Nº 8 in C [3;17]; Nº 9 in B flat [4:43]; Nº 10 in G [4:04]; Nº 11 in G minor [5:23]; Nº 12 in A minor [5:22]
Danza Lenta [3:45]
Allegro De Concierto [7:42]
Valses Poéticos
Introducción Nº 1 "Melódi [2:36]; Nº 2 "Tempo De Vals Noble” [1:13]; Nº 3 "Tempo De Vals Lento [1:52]; Nº 4 "Allegro Humorístico” - Nº 5 Allegretto (elegante) [1:49];
Nº 6 "Quasi Ad Libitum (Sentimental) [1:21]; Nº 7 "Vivo" [0:43]; Coda (Presto - Tempo Del Primer vals) [2:07]
CD 6 [76:33]
Escenas Románticas
I "Mazurca" [3:03]; II "Recitativo - Berceuse [4:12]; III *** (El Poeta Y El Ruiseñonor) [4:32]; IV"Allegretto (Pequeña Danza) [0:54]; V "Epílogo (Allegro Appasionato-andantino spianato) [8:49]
Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)
Piezas Española
Aragonesa [3:08]; Cubana [3:50]; Montañesa [4:08]; Andaluza [4:13]
La Vida Breve - Danza Nº 2 [4:17]
El Sombrero De Tres Pico - Danza De Los Vecinos [3:12]
El Sombrero De Tres Pico - Danza De La Molinera [3:52]
El Amor Brujo - Danza Del Terror [2:14]
Fantasía Bética [11:33]
La Vega [13:39]
CD 7 [67:41]
Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949)
Sanlúcar De Barrameda
I "En La Torre del Castillo [6:23]; II "Siluetas De La Calzada” [3:17]; III " La Playa - IV “Los pescadares en Bajo de Guia” [11:30]
Danzas Fantásticas
I "Exaltación" [4:42]; II"Ensueño" [6:07]; III "Orgía" [4:41]
Danzas Andaluzas - "Zapateado" [4:05]
Danzas Gitanas - "Sacromonte" [1:55]
Xavier MONTSALVATGE (1912-2002)
Concierto Breve Para Piano Y Orquesta [24:16] ¹
CD 8 [48:14]
Concert at Hunter College with Victoria de los Angeles
Antonio LITERES (1673-1747)
Confiado jilguerillo (arr. Tarragó): from 'Acis y Galatea [3:29]
Blas de LASERNA (1751-1816)
El Tripili arr Roma [1:47]
Nueve tonadillas
La maja de Goya [3:22]; Amor y odio [2:04]; El majo tÍmido [0:55]; El mirar de la maja [2:33]; Callajeo [1:20]; El tra-la-la y el punteado [1:05]; Las currutacas modestas [1:13]; El majo olvidado [2:52]; El majo discreto [1:31]
Canciones amatorias
Llorad, corazón [2:00]; Iban al pinar [1:51]; No lloréis, ojuelos [1:06] Mañanica era [2:26]; Mira que soy niña [2:34]; Gracia mía [2:36]
Manuel de FALLA
Siete canciones populares español
El paño moruno [1:08]; Seguidilla murciana [1:10]; Asturiana [2:25]; Jota [2:38] Nana [1:29] Canción [0:58] Polo [1:51]
Gerónimo GIMÉNEZ (1854-1923)
La Tempranica - “La tarántula é un bicho mú malo” (Zapateado) [1:40]
Alicia de Larrocha (piano)
Victoria de los Angeles (soprano)
Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona/García Navarro¹



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.