This is not the first
recording of Casadesus as composer.
the site is a Sony collection mixing
chamber and concertos and another
of music for violin and piano (Koch).
It is however the first disc to present
any of the symphonies. We know Casadesusís
name as a pianist although now his CDs
are not that often found on shop shelves.
His recordings for CBS of the late Mozart
piano concertos were once core to the
LP stable. It was Ravel who first recognised
something special in Casadesus's talents
as a composer and later the budding
composer dedicated his 24 Preludes to
The First Symphony
is dedicated to Casadesusís wife
Gaby. The music is characterised by
clarity of aural layout, an athletic
and coolly serenading disposition and
a creative tension between romance and
neo-classicism. Darting and probing
strings course hither and thither. At
various times you may well be reminded
of Paray (his Symphony), Wirén
(Serenade for Strings), Rawsthorne (lighter
music) and Lambert (ballets) in what
is a lithe and lyrically inventive work.
For a First Symphony it speaks volumes
of the composerís self-confidence that
he is happy to end on a gentle, modest
yet utterly beguiling downbeat. It was
premiered in Paris at the Salle Pleyel
with Charles Munch conducting.
The Fifth Symphony
was written for the one hundred and
fiftieth anniversary of the death of
Haydn and is written for the sort of
orchestra Haydn used. Though a quarter
of a century has passed, Casadesus is
still noticeably the same composer who
wrote the First Symphony. There is an
Elysian calm about this music; nothing
ill comes near. The closest he comes
to an occluded mood is in the pensiveness
that pervades the Lento. The
Menuet takes some of the impress
of neo-antiquity works such as Masques
et Bergmasques. You will love this
if you like fruity neo-classical music
or that elusive mood of intoxicated
nostalgia in which Constant Lambert
was so proficient.
and final symphony is dedicated to the
memory of Georg Szell with whom Casadesus
worked in his many CBS recordings of
the Mozart piano concertos (there is
a French Sony bargain box). It is a
work written as a tribute to the people
of Israel at the of the Six Day War.
It differs from the other two works
in requiring voices both choral and
solo - vocalising - there are no words.
It is still a work of lyrical release
avoiding dissonance. However there is
a new profundity about the music. It
continues to avoid searing emotion and
there is a sense of standing a pace
back from tragedy; a very emotionally
rigorous work. The premiere was given
on 8 November 1972 conducted by Frederic
Waldmann (he of the Musica Aeterna orchestra)
in New York. Casadesus heard a read-through
but died before the concert on 19 September.
His son Jean had died in January that
The notes by Bruno
Talouarn are helpful in 'placing' Casadesus
however thought-through conclusions
must await the final volumes in this
engaging series. Plaudits for Chandos
for once again being first and doing
it in style.