A very short one this weekend; a little over a minute. But a charming piece nonetheless. Robert Casadesus’ Etudes as performed in this radio studio recording by Gaby Casadesus; wife, sometimes other half of a piano duo as well as a virtuoso piano soloist in her own right.
Robert is probably best known these days as a legendary pianist – his recitals, recordings and performances with every major orchestra in the world made him one of the great French keyboard players of the 20th century. But he was also a very prolific composer, although his compositions have been largely neglected over the years, since his death in 1972.
This piece – the Etudes, is from 1939 and part of a larger work, 8 Etudes, op. 28, and I believe it has been recorded several times over the years, as well as recorded commercially by Gaby.
Aside from her association with Robert by way of marriage and also by way of a prolific and internationally celebrated duo, Gaby was also a noted teacher, who had also known many important composers, including Debussy, Ravel, Florent Schmitt and Moriz Moszkowski. She had also co-founded the Robert Casadesus International Pano Competition, begun in 1975, three years after Robert’s death. As a pianist, she studied with Louis Diemer and Marguerite Long and made her debut, winning first prize in a piano competition at 16.
A few years earlier I posted a Piano Quartet by Robert featuring Gaby with the Pascal String Quartet; another very attractive piece which has gone largely neglected in recent years.
No doubt, if you’re a collector you probably have at least one recording of Robert, or the duo of Robert and Gaby in your record collection. Sony have reissued most of this work with that label over the years. But if you aren’t familiar with Robert as a composer, here is a good, albeit very short, introduction to what is a very rewarding output of works.