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Pablo Casals: Encores and Transcriptions 5 (Complete Acoustic Recordings 3)
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Nocturne in E flat arr. Popper [3:52]
Frederick CROUCH (1808-1896)
Kathleen Mavourneen [2:56]
Thomas MOORE (1779-1852)
Believe me if all those endearing young charms [3:06]
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Salut d’amour [2:29]
Katharine Tynan HINKSON
Would God I were the tender apple blossom [3:08]
David POPPER (1843-1913)
Gavotte in D, Op. 23 [4:05]
Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894)
Romance in E flat [2:59]
Edward MACDOWELL (1860-1908)
To a Wild Rose [2:47]
Giovanni SGAMBATI (1841-1914)
Serenata Napoletana, Op. 24, No. 2 [3:16]
Teresa Clothilde Del RIEGO (1876-1968)
Oh, dry those tears [3:23]
Max BRUCH (1838–1920)
Kol Nidrei [9:03]
Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936)
Mélodie arabe, Op. 20, No. 1 [3:15]
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Adagio from Concerto in D [4:36]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
Serenade, Op. 67, No. 6 [2:25]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Sapphische Ode [3:27]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Mélodie  Op.42 No.3 [3:10]
Autumn Songs. Op. 37, No. 10 [3:55]
Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Minuet [2:22]
Cesar CUI (1835-1918)
Berceuse, Op. 20, No. 18 [3:09]
Johann Sebastian BACH  (1685-1750)
Adagio from Adagio and Fugue in C BWV 564 arr. Siloti [4:16]
Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916)
Intermezzo from Goyescas - arr. Gaspar Cassadó [4:41]
Pablo Casals (cello)
Walter Golde (piano); Romano Romani (piano); Edouard Gnedron (piano)
Unnamed orchestral accompaniment
rec.1920-25
NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110987 [76:22]



This is a great series for lovers of mouthful titles. And the longer it proceeds – to all our musical benefit – the more complicated it gets.  Firstly it falls under the rubric of  Naxos’s Great Cellists series. Then it also represents the fifth volume of the Casals Encores and Transcriptions run, as noted on the booklet cover. Turn to the back of the jewel box and you can see it’s also the third volume in Casals’ Complete Acoustic Recordings series. Confused? Over-complicated? My advice is not to worry; just make sure you note which particular volume takes your eye and don’t mix up your Encores with your Acoustic series numbers and then you’ll be fine. 
 
The fact is that as technology improved companies sought to re-record morsels from their catalogues. You’ll find a number of such examples here – where earlier 1915-16 recordings were reprised in better studio conditions or similarly a number of these late or late-ish acoustics were themselves superseded by later early electrics. Since a complete Casals concerto performance was still some years in the future American Columbia and for two tracks here, Victor, issued a varied selection of items  ranging from romantic staples to Irish song, encore pleasers, the slow movement from Haydn’s Concerto in D and other such things.
 
His Chopin-Popper is vibrantly romanticised – it was a favourite recital and disc encore for him. The Irish songs encroach on McCormack territory accompanied by an orchestra of tenuous commitment. The Moore is especially elastic in phraseology. The Elgar is more Salut vitesse than Salut d’amour. Tully Potter is right to draw attention to its good taste – by which I infer he means questions of portamento and style – but that doesn’t include tempo or phrasing in my book.  But listen to the viola-like tonal qualities, Casals displays in the higher positions in  the Rubinstein Romance – a rather shop-spoiled piece even then but one that takes on new and vibrant life in his hands.  He lightens his tone to touching effect in the Haydn and there’s rich lyricism in the Brahms Sapphische Ode. His approach to Handel as ever is one of buoyant romanticism. The Cui is graceful and elegant – the slides are perfectly graded and stylistically apt; a most sympathetic performance. Naturally the  Victor Bach performance is saturated in great nobility. He also plays the Granados Intermezzo in the arrangement by his erstwhile pupil Gaspar Cassadó, on whom Casals was later to pour such unbridled contempt.
 
The transfers are sympathetically done. Obviously they are reflective of the condition of the originals so, for example, the Del Riego has increasing noise toward the end of the side. If you’ve reached thus far in this series you’ll inevitably want to acquire E & T 5/CAR 3 - as perhaps one shouldn’t refer to it.
 
Jonathan Woolf

Naxos Historical series - Pablo Casals page 



 


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