The influence of Pablo Casals on the history of the cello -- even the history of music itself -- cannot be overstated. He was responsible in large part for establishing the cello's prominence as a solo instrument in the twentieth century and rediscovered the Six Solo Suites of J.S. Bach. Although continually active as a performer, he was also an established composer, conductor, and even diplomat. This collection of shorter works spans more than a quarter century of Casals' recorded legacy, from the 1925 recording of The Swan with pianist Nikolai Mednikov to the 1953 performance of de Falla's Nana with pianist Eugene Istomin. The album stands as a testament not only to Casals' ever-developing technical and musical abilities, but also to the improvement of recording technology. By today's standards, much of Casals' playing may be characterized as being somewhat slow and deliberate, but this certainly does not negate the historical importance of this recording or of the technical and musical trailblazing for which Casals was responsible. The restored sound quality achieved on this Regis disc is rather remarkable considering the age of some of these performances. Attentive listeners will even be able to detect some of Casals' powerful finger strikes and occasional humming along with the music.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Popular Spanish Songs (7), for voice & piano, G. 40|
|Piano Trio in B flat major ("Archduke"), Op. 97|
|Keyboard Trio in G major ("Gypsy Trio") H. 15/25|
|Suite for solo cello No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007|
|Suite for solo cello No. 3 in C major, BWV 1009|
|Suite for solo cello No. 6 in D major, BWV 1012|