Notes and Editorial Reviews
A delightful collection. Casadesus plays Rameau to the manner born. Highlights include a comically zippy Le Rappel des Oiseaux and a lusciously flowing Les Niais de Sologne--the latter featuring a particularly impressively sculpted, sensitively balanced left hand. The Scarlatti sonatas rise to the same level. Casadesus achieves a harpsichord-like clarity of articulation while never denying himself the sensitive dynamic shadings unique to the piano. In the hugely virtuosic K. 533 and K. 14 his trills and runs rival Horowitz's, and he understands the need to project the horn imitations in K. 430 with brassy brilliance and verve. On the other hand, Casadesus' legato but always pointed phrasing in the great B minor sonata, K. 27, projects just the right smooth elegance. Recorded in 1952, the mono sound has been nicely remastered and in no way limits the impact of the performances.
The second half of the recital jumps ahead to the Classical Period, and to the early 60s sonically speaking. The Haydn sonata sports an especially lovely central Adagio, and Casadesus catches its simple eloquence without a trace of affectation. He also takes Haydn at his word in the dazzling Presto finale, playing with a breezy velocity that enhances the music's good-humored sense of fun. The Mozart quintet unites Casadesus with some distinguished partners, including John de Lancie (oboe) and Mason Jones (horn). It's a sincere compliment to say that they play the music like Poulenc: in other words, the performance has pungent wit, urbanity, and a nicely modern, "sec" quality that perfectly marries classical poise with surprising touches of sentiment (in the last two movement particularly). Sony France's ongoing tribute to Casadesus has come up with another intelligently planned, essential installment.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com