BBC Music Magazine
Casadesus and Van Cliburn classics
This month’s round-up also sees more Berlioz, plus rousing recorders
He was a remarkable pianist and in Robert Casadesus – The Complete Columbia Album Collection (Sony 19075853652) we are given quite the gift. Across 65 discs of recordings, this intuitive, disciplined and powerfully talented player is celebrated. The earliest recordings (1940) are made with his wife and duo partner, Gaby, and it is she who is given the final word: CD 65 is her solo performance of his own Piano Sonata and Etudes, recorded two years after his death.
Sony was slightly late to the party in releasing its Berlioz Anniversary Edition (Sony 19075938792), which is seemingly presented in association with the Berlioz Festival. That said, there appears to be no discernible reason for the connection, other than festival director Bruno Messina’s insightful liner note. The ten discs, though, cover notable recordings made between 1957 and 1998 by big hitters such as the LSO, Boston Symphony and New York Philharmonic. Baton-wielders include Charles Munch, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Seiji Ozawa, Daniel Barenboim and Sir Colin Davis, so it is an impressive line-up.
An American winning the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958 was quite something, given the political atmosphere. In
Van Cliburn – An American Wins in
Russia (Profil Hanssler PH18080) we’re transported back to that sensational win. Ten discs chart the pianist’s winning performance and the recordings that came in the wake of his victory, including notable turns with Kirill Kondrashin and a solo 1959 recital at the Albert Hall.
If ever you wanted to discover the versatility of the recorder, you’d be hard pushed to find a more thorough display than Anthology of the Recorder (Brilliant Classics 95799). This 26-disc collection serves to dust off an underestimated instrument, doing so with all manner of recorders and some of Early and Baroque music’s star composers. It’s on CD 26 that the music at last steals itself away from the 16th and 17th centuries, but only just. Works by Max Reger, Frans Geysen, Fulvio Caldini and Aspasia Nasopoulou are token ‘modern’ additions, representative of the fact that it’s an instrument that relatively few composers are writing for today.
We’re transported back to that sensational win in Moscow