By Request: Mozart and Alicia

Alicia de Larrocha (1923-2009) By Request on Classical 101, but guard your dessert!(Photo: EMI)
Alicia de Larrocha (1923-2009) By Request on Classical 101, but guard your dessert!(Photo: EMI)

Those wonderful requests keep coming from our listeners. The broadcast family allows me to learn more and more in the variety of their requests! Everything so far from electric flutes (who knew?) to Maria Callas.

A performance of Mozart’s Concerto for 2 Pianos, K. 365 has been requested, with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Andre Previn and Alicia de Larrocha. I used to tend bar for the Orchestra of St. Luke’s fund-raising soirees back when OSL was a community-based orchestra in the Village. They’ve since moved uptown to their own rehearsal and performance space, and can now presumably afford union bartenders. Back in the day, my friend Moy was their development director. She hustled us all from the NYU Arts Management class over to tend bar, sweep up,  cook (our late friend Charles made the wicked chili-people were writing checks with tears in their eyes), and help charm the do-re-mi out of guests.

Alicia de Larrocha’s (1923-2009) name was always spoken with great reverence by friends and colleagues. I heard her several times in Carnegie Hall-with and without the OSL. Last year, I broadcast the famed 1971 Hunter College Recital with Victoria de los Angeles.

Here’s Alicia de Larrocha in a bit of Mozart:

But I had to come to Columbus to work with Mme de Larrocha. She appeared several times with Alessandro Siciliani and the Columbus Symphony, either in Mozart or Ravel. Once, during a live broadcast no less, she stopped mid performance. There were ‘ensemble issues’ that lost control. You could hear the lady distinctly: “So? What do we do now?”

She returned a few years later. This time, I was invited to dinner. A well-to-do patron had a ‘do’ attended by the lady, the maestro, and a few others. And me! I had to leave early. I broadcast opera Sunday nights in those days. I remember that evenings’ fare was Verdi’s Il trovatore with Jussi Bjoerling and Zinka Milanov. Mme de Larrocha knew both of them and began lustily singing the Anvil Chorus over mussels and prime rib. She was not five feet tall and spoke broken English, but my goodness, the lady did love her food. Dessert was served (creme brulee!) and she ate mine!

Oh yes, Mozart. I’ve run out of space. To learn more, tune in!

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