- Gaspar Cassadó (b. 1897 - d. 1966)
- Composition Year
- Work Movements
- 1. Preludio-Fantasia
3. Intermezzo e Danza Finale
- David Cohen [cello]
|Composer||Gaspar Cassadó (b. 1897 - d. 1966)|
|Work Title||Suite for Solo Cello|
|Work Movements||1. Preludio-Fantasia
3. Intermezzo e Danza Finale
|Artist(s)||David Cohen [cello]|
|Performance Date||Sunday 28th June 2015|
|Performance Venue||St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland|
|Recording Engineer||Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm|
|Programme Note Writer||© Francis Humphrys|
Gaspar Cassadó is often compared to the violin-virtuoso, Fritz Kreisler, who also wrote and performed his own concertos, showpieces, and finger-stretching recital encores that display the performer's wit, agility, and lighter side. Cassadó was a child prodigy and, when only nine years old, had the good fortune to be taken on by the 21-year-old cellist Pablo Casals as his first student. Cassadó considered Casals to be his greatest musical influence and his spiritual father.
Cassadó later moved to Paris to continue his studies with Casals at the same time also pursuing his studies in composition, working closely with such masters as Manuel de Falla and Maurice Ravel. Their stylistic influence can be heard in Cassadó's 1926 Suite for Solo Cello, which was inspired by Casals' legendary performances of the Bach Cello Suites. The story of Casals passionate advocacy of these extraordinary works is well-known and his performances served as a catalyst for a vast outpouring of 20th Century solo cello works by major composers as diverse as Zoltán Kodály, Max Reger, Paul Hindemith, Benjamin Britten, George Crumb, and Gaspar Cassadó.
Cassadó's Suite for Solo Cello combines the Baroque formalism and dance orientation of Bach's suites with his own native Spanish flair. The first movement begins with a free Preludium that evolves into a Zarabanda, a dignified Spanish dance related to the Baroque Sarabande. The movement quotes Zoltán Kodaly's Sonata for Cello Solo and, reflecting Cassadó's studies with Ravel, makes extensive use of the motive that begins the famous flute solo from the ballet Daphnis et Chloe.
The second movement is written in the form of a two-part Sardana. Beginning with a characteristically slow, introductory section (in classic saradanas the first tirada was danced with the arms down), the music soon breaks into an animatedly rustic dance in 2/4 (the second tirada was usually danced with the arms up). The jauntily rhythmic flavor of the movement makes this the most overtly danceable of the three.
Cassadó continues to honour antique Spanish folkdance styles by basing the final movement largely on the jota, a dance originally performed in colourful costumes and accompanied by castanets. The movement begins slowly with a ruminative Intermezzo featuring lyrical, five-beat phrases. This gradually gives way to the more vigorous, swinging jota. The movement alternates between the introspection of the intermezzo and the extroverted, flamenco-like jota, bringing the suite to a lively, Spanish-style conclusion.