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8.550785 - Grand Tango and Other Dances for Cello and Piano (Le)
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 of flamenco.
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 and haunting.
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.
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