Le Grand Tango and Other Dances for Cello and Piano

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Le Grand Tango and other Dances for Cello and Piano

The title of the present collection of music for cello and piano is takenfrom the work of the twentieth century Argentinian master of the dance form,Astor Piazzolla (b. 1921), who has written tangos for a wide variety ofinstrumental groupings. The collection starts with another popular musical formassociated with the Spanish motherland, Huguety Tagell's evocation of the spiritof flamenco.

Gaspar Cassado was also Spanish, or, more specifically, Catalan by birth. Hewas born in Barcelona in 1897, the son of the organist and composer JoaquinCassado Valls and studied the cello in Paris with his compatriot Pablo Casals.

He began his concert career in 1918, appearing as a soloist, recitalist and,with the greatest distinction over many years, in chamber music together withsome of the most famous musicians of the present century. He died in Madrid onChristmas Eve 1966. As a composer Cassado was greatly influenced by hiscontemporaries in Paris, Maurice Ravel and Manuel de Falla, the first the son ofa mother from the Basque country and the second the most influential ofcontemporary Spanish composers. His Solo Suite includes, as its secondmovement, the most characteristic of Catalan dances, the Sardana.

Manuel de Falla was a native of Cadiz, where he was born in 1876, movinglater to Madrid and then to Paris, where he remained until the outbreak of warin 1914. He later settled in Granada, where he formed a friendship with the poetFederico Garcia Lorca and was deeply influenced by the cante jondo of Andalusia.

Although neutral in the Civil War, he left Spain in 1939, to settle inArgentina, where he died in 1946. Orchestral music from his stage-works Lavida breve (Short Life), El sombrero de tres picos (TheThree-cornered Hat) and El amor brujo (Love the Magician) form a frequentpart of concert programmes, with their characteristic dances and turns ofmelody. The Ritual Fire Dance, with its growing tension and excitement,has dramatic importance in the last of these, a ballet of gypsy love, jealousyand haunting.

Sergei Rachmaninov spent the latter part of his career, after the RussianRevolution, as a virtuoso pianist, with relatively little leisure forcomposition. After earlier abortive musical training in St. Petersburg, hebecame a student at the Moscow Conservatory, graduating in piano in 1891 at theage of eighteen and in composition the following year, the year of his OrientalDance, written, possibly, with the cellist Brandukovsky in mind, the lattera former pupil and protege of Tchaikovsky.

The Austrian cellist David Popper was born in Prague in 1843. By 1868 he hadbecome principal cellist at the Vienna Court Opera and was for some yearscellist in the Hellmesnerger Quartet. In later years he taught at the BudapestConservatory and was cellist in the Hubay Quartet. As a composer he wrote a veryconsiderable quantity of cello music, some seventy pieces in all, in addition tohis four concertos for the instrument and his Requiem for three cellosand orchestra. The five pieces here included are taken from various groups ofworks, ranging from the Drei St??cke of 1874, the year after he left theCourt Opera Orchestra, to a series of dances of varying date, with a Dance ofthe Gnomes taken from his 1882 collection Im Walde (In the Forest).

Short piano pieces of only mode rate difficulty intended for amateurs ofvarying musical ambitionere a continuing source of profit to composers andpublishers in the nineteenth and well into the present century. Tchaikovskywrote a set of six such pieces in the late summer of 1882, the sixth of the set,Valse sentimentale, retaining its familiar place in repertoire in avariety of arrangements.

Maria Kliegel

Maria Kliegel achieved significant success in 1981, when she was awarded theGrand Prix in the Rostropovich Competition. Born in Dillenburg, Germany, shebegan learning the cello at the age of ten and first came to public attentionfive years later, when, as a student at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, shetwice won first prize in the Jugend Musiziert competition. She later studied inAmerica with Janos Starker, serving as his assistant, and subsequently appearedin a phenomenal series of concerts in America, Switzerland and France, withRostropovich as conductor. She has since then enjoyed an international career ofgrowing distinction as a soloist and recitalist, offering an amazingly widerepertoire, ranging from Bach and Vieuxtemps to the contemporary.

Bernd Glemser

A prize-winner on no less than seventeen occasions in internationalcompetitions, the young German pianist Bernd Glemser was born in D??rbheim andwas still a pupil of Vitalij Margulis when he was appointed professor at theSaarbr??cken Musikhochschule, in succession to Andor Foldes, himself thesuccessor of Walter Gieseking. In 1992 he won the Andor Foldes Prize and in 1993the first European Pianists' Prize. With a wide repertoire ranging from theBaroque to the contemporary, Bernd Glemser has a particular affection for thevirtuoso music of the later nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries, the workof Liszt, Tausig, Godowski, Busoni, and especially that of Rachmaninov. Hiscareer has brought appearances at major music festivals and leading concerthalls throughout Europe and further afield.

Disc: 1
Le Grand Tango
1 Flamenco
2 Prelude - Fantasia
3 Sardana - Danza
4 Intermezzo e danza finale
5 Spanish Dance (arr. G. Pekkera)
6 Ritual Fire Dance (Amor brujo)
7 Oriental Dance, Op. 2, No. 2
8 Gnomentanz, Op. 50, No. 2
9 Mazurka, Op. 11, No. 3
10 Gavotte, Op. 23
11 Menuetto, Op. 65, No. 2
12 Tarantella, Op. 33
13 Valse sentimentale in F minor, Op. 51, No. 6
14 Le Grand Tango
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