C1680. GEORGE SZELL Cond. Cleveland Orch.: Amor und Psyche - Overture (Hindemith); w.ROBERT CASADESUS: Piano Concerto #2 in A (Liszt); w.LYNN HARRELL: Cello Concerto in a (Schumann). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-620, Live Performances, 1968-70, Severance Hall. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
"Robert Casadesus was the quintessential French musician, a passionate perfectionist who carried the Gallic virtues of precision, clarity, and elegance into the mid-twentieth century as an embodiment of the living spirit of classicism - precision animated by passion, clarity attained through sensuous scintillance, and elegance as the expression of the most lucidly aware animation. Born in Paris to a distinguished family of musicians - his father and three uncles enjoyed careers as performers and composers - Robert took first prize for piano at the Paris Conservatoire at age 14. Studies with Louis Diémer - early enthusiast of the French clavicenistes, premiere soloist and dedicatée of Franck's Variations symphoniques for piano and orchestra - graced Casadesus with the mantle of the inheritor. In 1921 he married fellow Diémer pupil Gabrielle (Gaby). The following year he earned Ravel's friendship with his performance of 'Gaspard de la nuit', which led to European tours with the composer and legendary soprano Madeleine Grey. 'You are a composer', Ravel wrote, 'because you have the courage to play 'Gibet' as I imagined it, that is, as a slow piece...And virtuoso pianists do not want to play it like that. They double the tempo and make it much faster. That is why I think you are a composer'. Indeed, Casadesus' catalogue eventually embraced some 68 works, including seven symphonies, concerti for two and three pianos and orchestra, 27 chamber works, and 20 works for piano. It is music for connoisseurs, music of formal concision not devoid of passionate expression, but highly wrought, suggestive, and understated in, typically, lyrically attenuated slow movements, tender and strange, and conclusions of fastidious tumult. It is the antithesis of Mahler's confessional expansiveness, while Stravinsky's neo-Classical manner seems gimmicky and carnivalesque by comparison. Casadesus was a distinguished teacher, beginning his career as Professor of Piano at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau in 1921, and replacing Isidor Philipp as its head in 1935. But it is primarily as a touring pianist and recording artist that Casadesus is remembered, appearing throughout Europe and the United States over 2,000 times in a career spanning half a century, often in duo-piano recitals with his wife. His authoritative, exhilarating recordings of the Mozart piano concerti with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra, the Beethoven violin sonatas and the Franck Sonata with Zino Francescatti, Franck's 'Variations symphoniques' and d'Indy's 'Symphonie sur un chant montagnard français' with Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the piano works of Ravel - to name but the most prominent - are among the very greatest."
- Adrian Corleonis, allmusic.com
Cellist Lynn Harrell studied cello with Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School of Music and with Orlando Cole at the Curtis Institute of Music, and attended the master classes of Gregor Piatigorsky in Dallas, Texas, and Pablo Casals in Marlboro, Vermont.
Harrell made his performing debut in a 1961 New York Philharmonic Young People's Concert. At the age of eighteen he became a member of the Cleveland Orchestra, later attaining the position of principal cellist. In 1975, Harrell and pianist Murray Perahia were joint recipients of the first Avery Fisher Prize.
Harrell began his teaching career in 1971, at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He was appointed to the faculty of the Juilliard School of Music in 1976, and in 1986 he was named the Gregor Piatigorsky Chair at the University of Southern California. Concurrently, he held the International Chair for Cello Studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he also served as principal from 1993 to 1995. For decades he has taught, performed, and conducted master classes at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado and the Verbier Festival in Switzerland.
In addition to making extensive tours as a recitalist, Harrell is a frequent guest - performing under the direction of conductors such as James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Kurt Masur, and others - of the world's major orchestras. In recent years he has enjoyed a partnership with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and her husband, pianist André Previn.
Harrell's extensive discography of more than thirty recordings includes two Grammy Award-winning Angel/EMI recordings.
- Library of Congress
"It must be remembered that when George Szell came to prominence in the United States in the mid 1940s (and his mid-forties) he was a highly respected conductor and musician in Europe. He had a very solid grip on his repertoire which soon expanded to new works which he was debuting and championing. However, all that most music lovers around the world today know about Szells artistry they have divined from the recordings made by Columbia in Cleveland from the late 1940s on. In an interview with Szell as an intermission feature in one of the weekly broadcast concerts he stated that Columbia allowed him to record items that he requested only if they were not in conflict with Ormandy or Bernstein. Those he did make revealed meticulously prepared performances which could be misinterpreted as being somewhat objective. The lean balances of those LPs and then CDs only reinforced that impression."
- Bruce Surtees