No pianist of our time makes music more freely or spontaneously than Alicia de Larrocha. It is as natural as breathing to her and as essential to her well-being. She played a Schumann recital in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Tuesday night, supplemented by three of her inimitable Spanish encores, and rarely does an artist communicate as directly as Larrocha did with her adoring audience.
Larrocha is no keyboard thunderer. She has no need to roar or tear passion to shreds. She seems to depend as much on suggestion as she does on reality. She hints rather than expounds. Her playing is really small-scaled, but it can give the illusion of inclusiveness; nothing obvious is ever lacking.
Instinct and perceptiveness predominate, yet the playing and the musicality are under unerring control. It would require an aural microscope to detect a miscalculation.
Larrocha is also one of the most versatile of musicians. In advance, one might have wondered how her hypersensitivity would take to Schumann's boisterousness and Romantic sentiment. Not to worry. The extroversion was a deftly handled as the introversion. She conveyed strength and vigor without effort or exertion, and she floated melodies on edgeless moonbeams.