Saint-Saëns: Concerto No. 4 in C Minor for piano, Op. 44. Franck: Symphonic Variations . Both with ORTF, Jascha Horenstein Montreux Festival Sept. 26, 1961. Ravel: Concerto pour la main gauche (17:08) Het Concertgebouworkest, Eduard van Beinum Concertgebouw Amsterdam October 23 or 24, 1946. Total time = 54:45 Technical Reconstruction (2004): Maggi Payne. AAD UPC # 017685-11332-1
BUZZ: The pianism of Robert Casadesus (1899-1972) is well documented on the numerous recordings he made over a span of some 40 years. This legacy embraces most of the major works from his repertoire and fortunately almost all of Casadesus's studio activity is, or has been, available on compact disc reissues. The three performances offered herewith, however, provide a glimpse of this great French pianist in live settings. Furthermore, the works by Saint-Saëns and Franck bring us a collaboration with Jascha Horenstein, a major conductor not represented among Casadesus's studio ventures (where the majority of his concerto discs were led by Munch, Rodzinski, Mitropoulos, Ormandy, Szell, or Bernstein).
Casadesus was able to boast a direct line of influence going back to the gestation of César Franck's Variations symphoniques via an early teacher of his, and he knew Ravel and was the first to record Ravels complete piano music. These performances are authoritative and admirably executed. Technical reconstruction by Maggi Payne; liner notes by Donald Manildi.
"This Music & Arts release is valuable, both for giving us a convenient way to gather all three together and for giving us a glimpse of Casadesus in concert.
"The sound is fine for the vintages, and Donald Manildi's notes are, as always, both elegant and informed. All in all, if his interpretations are not already on your shelves, this CD will make an excellent addition to your collection."
-Peter J. Rabinowitz, Fanfare
"Excellent notes by Donald Manildi of the International Piano Archives enhance this fine Music & Arts release, and the remastered sound by Maggi Payne is impressive, especially in the Saint-Saens and Franck."
-David Mulbury, American Record Guide
"Even in the light of other versions by the same pianist, this is a remarkable performance, strong yet elegant (though not always note-perfect) with eager support from Horenstein and his players."
-Tully Potter, Gramophone
"?valuable release for the collector."
-Robert Benson, Classicalcdreview.com
"Given a choice between a note-perfect performance with no particular atmosphere and an imperfect performance with special excitement or insight, I'll always take the latter. Modern conservatories teach young musicians to be athletes, not poets or magicians. Hearing Casadesus, one is reminded that there is more to getting to the bottom of a work than just playing the right notes at the right time."
-Raymond Tuttle, Classical Net