Archive for September, 2009

OBITUARY PICS: ALICIA DE LARROCHA, Spanish pianist, 23 May 1923 – 25 September 2009

Thinkin’ bout Alicia – From Slipped disc by Norman Lebrecht

Long before I listened to records for a living, I remember coming out of a store with an album I had chosen purely for the sum of its parts.

Unlike any compilation known to buffs, it combined a harpsichord concerto by Bach with a keyboard work of Haydn’s and a Mozart piano concerto, the 12th in A major, K414. I am not sure if it has ever been reissued on CD.

The conductor was David Zinman, the orchestra the London Sinfonietta and the soloist – who clearly dictated the quirky, uncommercial choice – the Spanish pianist Alicia de Larrocha, who has just died at the age of 86.

What burst off the project was the creative intelligence behind it and, the moment I heard the tender yet steely touch of its soloist, I was converted for life into a de Larrocha fan. She was quite unlike any other pianist, with a tone all her own and a taste that had to be taken on its own terms. Unmatchable in Granados, Albeniz and Turina, she brought a lilt of light and heat to non-Iberian music – Chopin, Schumann and Mozart, most of all.

She was treated with great reverence at Decca and left a discrete and indelible legacy on that label until it was corporatised in 1990. Herbert Breslin, her US manager, once said: There are two kinds of repertory Alicia plays … Things she plays extremely well, and things she plays better than anyone else.’ I would not dispute a word of that assessment.

Allan Kozinn captures her well in a New York Times obit.

Lebrecht Music & Arts September 2009 Newsletter

The Lebrecht Garden Party at the end of August was a great success. Don Hunstein, iconic photographer of the freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash in his classic black attire, and Billie Holiday in the recording studio, was a modest and humble speaker . Norman Lebrecht, writer and broadcaster, with careful and intuitive questions, ennabled him to explain how he worked with these artists. Don also provided a number of his classic prints for sale. These were created specially for the garden party and printed in a limited edition.

Lebrecht is delighted to announce that we are now representing the work of distinguished classic rock photographer Philip Grey. We have a selection of his rock group photos from the late seventies and the eighties, including Debbie Harry, Adam Ant, Bono, and The Clash plus his photos of world music at the renowned Womad festivals.


György Ligeti’s ‘Le Grand Macabre’ is being staged at the English National Opera from 17th September with amazing new sets.

September anniversaries:

Samuel Johnson, English essayist and author’s 300th birth anniversary 18 September 1709.

Don Hunstein at Lebrecht Garden Party 2009

Lebrecht enjoyed another successful garden party this year as renowned American music photographer, Don Hunstein, took to the mic. Despite having taken some of the most iconic music photographs of all time – the album cover of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Leonard Bernstein at work, Johnny Cash in his classic black attire, Billie Holiday recording in the studio – Don was a modest and humble speaker. Norman Lebrecht, writer and broadcaster, with careful and intuitive questions, enabled him to explain how he worked with these artists. It became clear in the interview that by quietly watching and waiting from the outside he gained artists’ trust and was able to take such personal portraits.

Gathered around with wine and strawberries, the audience was treated to tales of Columbia Records during the 1960s, road trips with Glenn Gould and how National Service in England first introduced Don to the possibilities of photography. Many thanks to Don and his wife Deanne for making the trip from New York and to all our guests for attending. Looking forward to next year…

Photographs by © Kit Ryall