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Cat. No. CHAN 10263 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10263 - Casadesus: Symphonies Nos 1, 5 & 7
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Available From: 15 November 2004
"Robert Casadesus studied piano with Louis Diémer (who had himself been a pupil of Liszt) and won his first prize at the age of fourteen. He composed his first work when he was seventeen. Fifty years later, his bequest to posterity was a catalogue that had grown to sixty-nine works. Though as a pianist he performed the music of his contemporaries, he never concealed his taste, as a composer, for music of the classical era. Contemporary trends such as serialism did not suit him. He once remarked, ‘I look to Fauré, Roussel and Saint-Saëns as my models, for their form is absolutely classical’.

Symphony No. 1 was composed in 1935. It already contains the hallmarks of Casadesus’s compositional style: the music is forthright and well-crafted structurally and reveals the particular fondness he had for writing for the woodwind section. Symphony No. 5, composed in 1959, reveals another facet of Casadesus’s musical personality, namely his desire to bring to wider public notice certain composers whose work was seldom performed in the first part of the twentieth century. The symphony was written to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of Haydn and his homage takes the form of a musical theme made up of the letters of Haydn’s name, and in the formal and proportional conception of the symphony. Symphony No. 7 is Casadesus’s last completed work. He wrote it as a tribute to the people of Israel and more precisely to the historical events associated with the Six Day War. Already ill, and deeply affected by the death of his son in January 1972, Casadesus found the strength to attend a read-through of the symphony in New York in April. He died on 19 September, and the emotionally charged first performance, dedicated to his friend George Szell, was given two months later.

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Reviews

Stylish, characterful performances from soloists and orchestra alike…
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9925 (Hummel) ***** performance ***** sound

Howard Shelley as conductor proves the most compelling advocate, drawing warm, committed performances from his players.
Gramophone on CHAN 9893 (Reinecke)

It would be hard to find more persuasive advocates than Howard Shelley and the brilliant Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
The Guardian on CHAN 9893 (Reinecke)

Howard Shelley, who is well known as an excellent pianist, is a surprising choice for conductor, but he and his cohorts from the Northern Sinfonia do very well by this genuine but unpretentious music. They allow its innate refinement and elegance ample opportunity to declare and confirm its intensely Gallic temperament. We look forward to the remainder of this unexpected but significant undertaking fro which many Francophiles will remain eternally grateful. ‘Vive la France!’
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