NOTES about unexplored
The four works on this premiere recording represent a wide spectrum of musical styles, and do so while introducing the listener to new additions of the recorded cello oeuvre. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky(1840-1893) is regarded as one of the great melodic composers of the 19th-century. The genesis of Six French Songs, Op. 65 was a result of his failed engagement with the Belgian mezzo-soprano Désirée Artôt-Padilla in 1868. Twenty years later they met again, and she requested he write a romance for her. The Six French Songs, Op. 65 are based on poems by Turquety, Collin, and Blanchecotte. Captivated by these passionate works, Nada Radulovich transcribed this song cycle for her instrument. (Published by Ovation Press.) The ‘cello lends it’s voice beautifully to these songs of love and enchantment.
The composer and cellist, Gaspar Cassadó (1897-1966), studied composition with Maurice Ravel and Manuel De Falla, and was concurrently a leading student of Pablo Casals. Cassadó had a fraught relationship with his famous mentor Casals, who mistakenly accused him of being a collaborator with the Italian Fascist government during and after WW II. The present work, written in 1924 and dedicated to Giulietta Gordigiani von Mendelssohn, is not the only cello sonata written by Cassadó. This is the first recording of this sonata (to our knowledge). Four movements represent various Spanish moods and dances. The alternatingly poignant and dramatic “Rapsodia” opens the Sonata and sets the atmosphere for the work, whose last 3 movements explore difference aspects of ethnic Spanish music. The listener will be able to identify the 2nd movement “Aragonesa” as a tune utilized by many composers, including Liszt in his Spanish Rhapsody for solo piano. Cassadó’s treatment of this "Jota Aragonesa" is playful and has an intricate interplay between the cello and piano. The bright character of this 2nd movement is a perfect foil between the discursive Rapsodia and the songful and mesmerizing “Saeta” (a type of religious Spanish song), with its soaring poignancy. The lively and direct character of the 4th movement, in the style of a “Paso-Doble” (a Spanish bullfighting two-step dance, believed to have originated in 1930’s southern France), closes the sonata on an uplifting note. Compositionally, this compelling work is an effective synthesis of tradition cast in striking harmonic turns. It is stunning and somewhat puzzling that almost 100 years after it’s composition this appealing work has not become part of standard cello literature.
With Romantic Fantasie for Cello and Piano, Op. 43, by Antin Rudnytsky (1902-1975), we enter the world of the 20th-century Ukrainian composer. Rudnytsky was a highly accomplished pianist (student of Artur Schnabel,) composer (student of Franz Schreker and Ferrucio Busoni), and conductor. The present work, written in 1966, displays a conservative 20th-century harmonic language, while exploring the folk idioms of his native land. The intricate dialogue between the instruments shows the composers highly developed skills and calls for further exploration of his compositions. This piece is dedicated to his youngest son, Dorian. It was discovered as a partial manuscript on the shelves of the New York Library of Performing Arts by our cellist Nada Radulovich, who resurrected the missing pages and performed the U.S. premier of the piece at Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter auditorium in 2011. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) was a composer, orchestrator, and educator. The interlude "The Flight of the Bumblebee" comes from his fantastical opera, “The Tale of Tsar Sultan”, in which a Prince is transformed into an insect so that he can visit his father (who does not know he is alive) without being seen. The intended effect of the music is to evoke the frenzied flight of the insect, whose tiny wings beat an effortless fan of driven emotion . Despite its trivial importance in the opera, this piece became one of the composers best known works, and has been transcribed by numerous musicians for various instruments. This unique transcription, truer to the original than previous arrangements of this work, was created by pianist Cullan Bryant on request from cellist Nada Radulovich.
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