Robert Casadesus – Quintet for Piano And Strings – Gaby Casadesus and The Pascal String Quartet –
Back to French Radio transcriptions this week with a work by legendary pianist Robert Casadesus, who was not as well known as a composer as he was a musician. His Piano Quintet in D Minor op. 16 for Piano and Strings featuring, in this broadcast recording, his wife Gaby Casadesus is joined by The Pascal String Quartet in a performance recorded approximately 1958.
The eminent French pianist and composer, Robert Casadesus, was born into a musical family. As the oldest in the second generation of a prestigious musical family, he inherited the tradition and the potential for an outstanding performance career. He did not follow the family tradition of playing stringed instruments but chose, instead, the piano. His Aunt Rose Casadesus, herself a pianist, instructed him until he entered the Paris Conservatory at the age of ten. At the Conservatory he studied solfege and piano with Louis Diémer, a pupil of Franz Liszt, and with Antonin Emile Marmontel. He achieved the first prize in piano in 1913. From 1913 to 1917, he studied harmony with Xavier Leroux. During this period, he earned a livelihood by playing the celesta and extra percussion effects at the Opera Comique. In 1917, he made his debut as a concert pianist in Paris, with a recital at the Salle des Agriculteurs. He was drafted into the army in 1918. After starting in the Artillery, he was transferred to the Engineers Corps band where he was a drummer. In 1919, he was awarded the first prize for harmony at the Paris Conservatory, having finished his study with Leroux. He received the Prix Diémer from the Conservatory the following year.
Like all of these posts via French Radio, I’m not sure if this one has been commercially released, or reissued via the French Radio archives, but it’s a noteworthy recording of a piece that’s been sadly neglected and composed by one of the great musicians of the 20th century.
Reason enough to give it a listen.
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