ROBERT CASADESUS (1899–1972) : Les partitions oubliées - Six Enfantines, Etudes op. 28, Berceuses op. 8, Impromptu and Berceuses op. 67, Suite op. 52.

Catalogue Number: 01Y030

Label: Da Vinci Classics

Reference: C00534

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Casadesus' fame as a major pianist and renowned performer of the French repertoire has almost entirely eclipsed his substantial output as composer, with numerous pieces for solo piano, for ensembles, and for voice and orchestra. This is a pity, because his compositions are attractive and highly accomplished. Shades of Ravel and Debussy are, unsurprisingly, frequently to be hear. His style as performer is reflected in these piano works, with fluid technical eloquence and an emphasis on sonority, balance and elegance. The six educational pieces for children are sophisticated, charming and whimsical, including " Renard d’Espagne (The Spanish Fox)" (which includes a passage marked "Poules d’Espagne” (“Spanish chicken”)! ), a piece based on a musical monogram of Charlie Chaplin, and a Schumannesque march. Like all good concert studies, the Études are character pieces of real musical value beyond their ostensible technical raison d'être - virtuosic studies in thirds, octaves, legato playing, fourths and fifths, and so on. One employs Latin rhythms, another a Spanish dance, and there is another musical cryptogram on the name of the dedicatee, Claude Pasquier, a pianist. The early (1932) Berceuses are very impressionistic, the first using the blues harmonies and reflecting the popularity of jazz in France at the time. The second set, Op.67, are from late in the composer’s life, and are very different from the Op.8; more harmonically astringent and autumnal in mood; they contain more musical cyphers, and the last is dedicated to Casadesus' grandson, who was born on the same day as the moon landing, hence the title Berceuse lunaire and the appearance of the American national anthem. The accompanying Impromptu, Op.67 No.4, is impressionistic but rather melancholy, and is dedicated to the memory of Dinu Lipatti. The immensely attractive 1956 Suite is structured as a Baroque Suite, in traditional dance forms, though the music is Romantic rather than neo-Baroque (with a jazzy Caprice as the fifth movement), and full of Gallic elegance and lightness of touch. Mauro Cecchin, piano.

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