Casadesus and Van Cliburn clas­sics

This month’s round-up also sees more Ber­lioz, plus rous­ing recorders

BBC Music Magazine - - Brief Notes -

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

Mu­si­cal mat­ri­mony: Robert Casadesus and his wife Gaby in 1936

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