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ClassicsOnline Home » Grand Tango and Other Dances for Cello and Piano (Le)
"Maria Kliegel is a cellist with a strong, rich tone, ideally partnered by Bernd Glemser who both enter completely into the spirit of each delightful work"
Le Grand Tango and other Dances for Cello and Piano
The title of the present collection of music for cello and piano is taken
from the work of the twentieth century Argentinian master of the dance form,
Astor Piazzolla (b. 1921), who has written tangos for a wide variety of
instrumental groupings. The collection starts with another popular musical form
associated with the Spanish motherland, Huguety Tagell's evocation of the spirit
Gaspar Cassadó was also Spanish, or, more specifically, Catalan by birth. He
was born in Barcelona in 1897, the son of the organist and composer Joaquin
Cassadó 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 with
some of the most famous musicians of the present century. He died in Madrid on
Christmas Eve 1966. As a composer Cassadó was greatly influenced by his
contemporaries in Paris, Maurice Ravel and Manuel de Falla, the first the son of
a mother from the Basque country and the second the most influential of
contemporary Spanish composers. His Solo Suite includes, as its second
movement, the most characteristic of Catalan dances, the Sardana.
Manuel de Falla was a native of Cádiz, where he was born in 1876, moving
later to Madrid and then to Paris, where he remained until the outbreak of war
in 1914. He later settled in Granada, where he formed a friendship with the poet
Federico 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 in
Argentina, where he died in 1946. Orchestral music from his stage-works La
vida breve (Short Life), El sombrero de tres picos (The
Three-cornered Hat) and El amor brujo (Love the Magician) form a frequent
part of concert programmes, with their characteristic dances and turns of
melody. The Ritual Fire Dance, with its growing tension and excitement,
has dramatic importance in the last of these, a ballet of gypsy love, jealousy
Sergei Rachmaninov spent the latter part of his career, after the Russian
Revolution, as a virtuoso pianist, with relatively little leisure for
composition. After earlier abortive musical training in St. Petersburg, he
became a student at the Moscow Conservatory, graduating in piano in 1891 at the
age of eighteen and in composition the following year, the year of his Oriental
Dance, written, possibly, with the cellist Brandukovsky in mind, the latter
a former pupil and protégé of Tchaikovsky.
The Austrian cellist David Popper was born in Prague in 1843. By 1868 he had
become principal cellist at the Vienna Court Opera and was for some years
cellist in the Hellmesnerger Quartet. In later years he taught at the Budapest
Conservatory and was cellist in the Hubay Quartet. As a composer he wrote a very
considerable quantity of cello music, some seventy pieces in all, in addition to
his four concertos for the instrument and his Requiem for three cellos
and orchestra. The five pieces here included are taken from various groups of
works, ranging from the Drei Stücke of 1874, the year after he left the
Court Opera Orchestra, to a series of dances of varying date, with a Dance of
the Gnomes taken from his 1882 collection Im Walde (In the Forest).
Short piano pieces of only mode rate difficulty intended for amateurs of
varying musical ambitionere a continuing source of profit to composers and
publishers in the nineteenth and well into the present century. Tchaikovsky
wrote 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 a
variety of arrangements.
Maria Kliegel achieved significant success in 1981, when she was awarded the
Grand Prix in the Rostropovich Competition. Born in Dillenburg, Germany, she
began learning the cello at the age of ten and first came to public attention
five years later, when, as a student at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, she
twice won first prize in the Jugend Musiziert competition. She later studied in
America with János Starker, serving as his assistant, and subsequently appeared
in a phenomenal series of concerts in America, Switzerland and France, with
Rostropovich as conductor. She has since then enjoyed an international career of
growing distinction as a soloist and recitalist, offering an amazingly wide
repertoire, ranging from Bach and Vieuxtemps to the contemporary.
A prize-winner on no less than seventeen occasions in international
competitions, the young German pianist Bernd Glemser was born in Dürbheim and
was still a pupil of Vitalij Margulis when he was appointed professor at the
Saarbrücken Musikhochschule, in succession to Andor Foldes, himself the
successor of Walter Gieseking. In 1992 he won the Andor Foldes Prize and in 1993
the first European Pianists' Prize. With a wide repertoire ranging from the
Baroque to the contemporary, Bernd Glemser has a particular affection for the
virtuoso music of the later nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries, the work
of Liszt, Tausig, Godowski, Busoni, and especially that of Rachmaninov. His
career has brought appearances at major music festivals and leading concert
halls throughout Europe and further afield.
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