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Gaspar Cassadó (1897-1966)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



The first edition of Dvorak's Cello Concerto with Gaspar Cassado and conductor Kurt Wöss on RLP-199-38
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Cello Sonata No. 1 by Johannes Brahms with Otto Schulhof at the piano.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dvorak's Konzert H-Moll, Op. 104 released in Gernany on the Diamant label (Bestellnummer BL 745).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 6 Cello Suites of Johann Sebastian Bach on 3 LPs were recorded in the late nineteen fifties by VOX (Vox Box VBX 15).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 70 Gaspar Cassado recorded with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and pianist Louis Kentner for EMI: Ravel's Piano Trio and Mozart's K 542.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the era of the shellac record, the leading cellists were Pablo Casals (1876-1973), Emanuel Feuermann (1902-1942), Gregor Piatigorsky (1903-1976), Pierre Fournier (1906-1986), André Navarra (1911-1988), and of course Gaspar Cassadó (September 30, 1897 – December 24, 1966).

Cassadó was not only known for his stylish interpretations but also because he himself was a composer and arranger. Among his compositions were "Danse du diable", "Requiebros", and "Serenade". He made arrangements of "Intermezzo" from Goyescas (Granados), Laserna's "Tonadilla" and of Schubert's "Sonata for Arpeggione" with an orchestral accompaniment.

He appeared with Willem Mengelberg, made several recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt for the Polydor label (Deutsche Grammophon) and was often accompanied by then famous pianist Michael Raucheisen (1898-1984).

The following titles of 78 RPM recordings are compiled from two editions of The Gramophone Shop Encyclopedia of Recorded Music, Simon & Shuster, New York 1942, and Crown Publishers, New York, 1948, respectively.

Chopin: Cello Sonata - Polydor PD 95027
Chopin: Nocturne No. 2 - Polydor PD95027
Schubert: Sonata for Arpeggione, arranged for 'cello and orchestra by Gaspar Cassadó, performed by Gaspar Cassadó and Symphony Orchestra conducted by Hamilton Harty - Columbia CM139
Dvorak: Cello Concerto in B minor Op. 104, Berlin Philharmonic, Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt - Telefunken E1893/7

Haydn's Concerto with Schmidt-Isserstedt and gems by Méhul, Schumann, Fauré, Dvorak, Albeniz, Saint-Saëns, Elgar, accompanied by pianists Michael Raucheisen, Willie Hammer and Giuletta Mendelssohn Giorgiani.
78 RPM recordings transferred to Lp.
Melodiya M10-43343-4.

Mehul: Gavotte - Telefunken A0283
Albeniz: Cadiz with Michael Raucheisen - Gramophone DA4885
Saint-Saëns: Le cygne (The Swann) - Columbia D1600
Cassado: Requiebros, with pianist Michael Raucheisen - Telefunken E1820
Tcherepnin: Ode, with Michael Raucheisen at the piano - Telefunken A1830
Laserna: Tonadilla, Berlin Philharmonic, Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt conducting - Telefunken A 1830
Haydn: Cello Concerto, Hans Shmidt-Isserstedt - Telefunken SK3222/4
Händel: Largo - Columbia C-L2046, CQX-10487
Schumann: Träumerei - Polydor PD95027
Tartini: Cello Concerto, Berlin Philharmonic, Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt - Telefunken E1820

No wonder that the liner notes of Remington R-199-128 with "Encores" accompanied by pianist Otto Schulhof read:


As we can hear in this selection of "Encores", GASPAR CASSADO has earned an international reputation as a cellist of great sensitivity of expression. Born in 1897 in Barcelona, Cassado became an outstanding pupil of Pablo Casals. He has appeared as soloist in memorable performances with all the great orchestras of Europe and regularly makes triumphant concert tours throughout the world. He is a successful composer and arranger, though most renowned for the singing tones of his cello, of which Olin Downes in a New York article said: "great singers could envy him for his belcanto."

And there is a short paragraph about Otto Schulhof, the accompanist who does not always get the attention he deserves:


OTTO SCHULHOF, the pianist on both sides of this recording, was born in Vienna in 1889. He has toured Europe with such notable instrumentalists as Fritz Kreisler, Huberman and Kubelik and he served for thirty years as accompanist to the famous cellist, Pablo Casals.

On His Master's Voice D.B.1404 Otto Schulhof accompanies cellist Pablo Casals playing Aria from J.S. Bach's Suiite in D minor. On the other side Casals plays Andante (Bach) with pianist Blas-Net.

Information on the covers of Cassado's Remington discs is scarce. Even the liner notes on a later Vox recording (Vox lp PL 9360) with Dvorak's Concerto and Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations) just add a few more names and details:


Gaspar Cassado, was born in Barcelona in 1897, when he was only 5 years old he entered the music school of "Los Mercedes" of which his father was the director. He soon showed his preledition for cello. After only two years of study he gave his first recital with great success, and the Barcelona authorities decided to award him a scholarship for study abroad with some famous cellists. He went to Paris where he pursued his studies and came in contact with Ravel and de Falla. He played with Alfredo Casella and Ricardo Vines and made a sound reputation for himself. After the first World War, Cassado began his brilliant career touring Europe and South America and he played with all the famous orchestras and conductors such as Furtwangler, Mengelberg, Weingartner, Beecham, Gaubert and many others. Cassado is also active as a composer and many of his works have been performed on both sides of the Atlantic.

Gaspar Cassadó around 1950.
Image taken from Don Gabor's early Masterseal MW 45.

His successful career was interrupted by the Second World War as so happened for many artists living in Europe. After World War II most people wanted to continue were they had left off just before the war broke out. Not every artist could build upon the laurels earned before the war. Cassadó had stayed in Italy and was later accused by Pablo Casals, his former teacher, of having collaborated with the fascist rulers, or at least had sympathised with them. This was a strain on the further development of Cassadó's career. For Cassadó, like for so many artists, any concert booking was welcome, any recording issued helped. He had the opportunity in 1948 to make a recording for Deutsche Grammophon (68383 LM) together with Adrian Aeschbacher (piano) and Max Strub (violin) of Piano Trio No. 1 by Joseph Haydn, a recording which did not have a long life; it was not ransferred to LP.

The cover of the first edition of Dvorak's Cello Concerto played by Gaspar Cassadó and conducted by Kurt Wöss on Remington R-199-38.

To make recordings for the new vinyl medium was especially important to further one's carreer. No artist wanted to miss the opportunity to be connected to the modern medium. It was already in 1950 that producer Marcel Prawy arranged for the recording of Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B minor Op. 104, with conductor Kurt Wöss and the Austrian Symphony Orchestra to be issued on the Remington label. The performance was released in the fall of 1951 on Remington R-199-38. It was probably the first recording Gaspar Cassado made for the new microgroove medium. That same recording was later issued in Germany on the Diamant label, and in France on Concerteum. The performance was also issued on Gabor's Etude label (Ref. 702).

In July 1952 the Cello Sonata No. 1 Op. 38 of Johannes Brahms, accompanied by Otto Schulhof at the piano, was released on R-149-53. It was a welcome addition to the catalog as only the Second Sonata Op. 99 in a reading by Gregor Piatigorsky had been available till then. In that same month the Haydn Concerto with Hans Wolf conducting was released on R-199-79.

In 1953 R-199-128 was released with Gaspar Cassadó playing short pieces.
On Side One it is violinist Michèle Auclair performing Kreisler Favourites: Praeludium & Allegro (Pugnani-Kreisler); Melodie (Gluck-Kreisler); Rondino On A Theme Of Beethoven (Kreisler); Songs My Mother Taught Me (Dvorak-Kreisler); Serenade Espagnola (Chaminade-Kreisler); Danse Espagnole (de Falla-Kreisler).
On the B-Side it is violoncellist Gaspar Cassadó who plays these 'cello encores:

*Spinning Wheel (Mendelssohn-Bartholdy)
*Nocturne Op. 9, No. 2 (Chopin)
*Gavotte, Op. 23 (Popper)
*Melody (Rubinstein)
*Valse Sentimentale (Tchaikovsky)
*Improvisations on "The Blue Danube" (Strauss-Cassado).

Both performers were accompanied by Otto Schulhof.

A remarkable release was on Gabor's Masterseal record label with Gaspar Cassadó playing solo and at instances accompanying baritone Paul Schoeffler (MW-45).

At right the luxurious gatefold edition of Masterseal MW 45 with Gaspar Cassadó and Paul Schöffler. In Ave Maria (Franz Schubert), Morgen (Richard Strauss), and Elegie (Jules Massenet) Cassadó plays together with baritone Paul Schoeffler.The pianist who accompanies Cassadó and Schoeffler is not explecitly mentioned but should be the great Otto Schulhof.

These are the titles:
Granados: Andalusian Dance (Spanish Dance No. 5)
Saint-Saens: The Swan (from Carnival of Annimals)
Bach-Gounod: Ave Maria
Tchaikovsky: Valse Sentimentale Op. 51 No. 6.
Rubinstein: Melody Op. 3 No. 1.
Strauss-Cassado: Improvisations on "The Blue Danube"
Chopin: Nocturne in E-flat Op. 9 No. 2
Strauss: Morgen Op. 27 No. 4
Wagner: Albumblatt
Schubert: Moment Musical Op. 94 No. 3
Bach: Air
Mendelssohn: Spinning Song Op. 67 No. 4
Massenet: Elegie (from Les Erinyes)
Schumann: Träumerei Op. 15 No. 7
Popper: Gavotte

Haydn's Cello Concerto with conductor Hans Wolf.

Bien étonné de se trouver ensemble: Michèle Auclair and Gaspar Cassadó, both accompanied by Otto Schulhof.

The Remington recordings eventually led to a contract with Vox Productions for which Gaspar Cassadó recorded, together with conductor Jonel Perlea, Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B minor Op. 104, plus Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations (PL 9360), the Cello Concertos of Lalo and Saint-Saëns (PL 10.920), and Cello Concertos by Haydn, Vivaldi and Boccherini (STPL 510.790). On Vox VBX-15 are his performances of Bach's Complete Cello Suites (BWV 1007-1012). Some of these Vox recordings were also released on the German Orbis label, like his arrangement of the Sonata for Arpeggione (Schubert) performed with Jonel Perlea conducting the Symphony Orchestra of Bamberg (Bamberger Symphoniker) on CX-11030.

Cassado is soloist in his own orchestral arrangement for cello and orchestra of the 'Sonate für Arpeggione und Klavier' (Franz Schubert) with Jonel Perlea conducting.
There is also a wonderful performance by Cassado and Willem Mengelberg and the Concertgebouw Orchestra from 1940, issued with other recordings of Mengelberg in the Michael G. Thomas ARCHIVE DOCUMENTS AD. 103/4, Limited Edition.

In his Long Playing Record Guide from 1955 Warren De Motte evaluates the earlier Remington recording of the performance of Dvorak's Concerto. He says: "Cassado-Wöss suffer from harsh recording; the music is well played by the cellist, but poorly realized by the skimpy orchestra." And about the Haydn Concerto: "Cassado's vigourous performance is weakly supported by a coarse-toned orchestra."

This characterization by the reviewer was correct. After the tapes had arrived in the US, Gabor made copies by dubbing the recording to a consumer tape recorder with a lower speed and from those tapes the lacquers were cut. As so many record companies, also Remington used its own frequency characteristic which needed - when played back - extra use of the tone controls. By adjusting the treble knob, surface noise was reduced as well. In those early days of the LP, the RIAA curve had not yet been chosen as the standard curve for all LP recordings. However with the modern cartridges of today, a better signal can be retreived from the groove if the disc has not been treated in a bad way and for all sorts of anomalies a editing program can give a solution.

The January 7, 1967, issue of Billboard announced:


"Casado Dies in Madrid. Gaspar Casado, internationally known cellist and composer, died of a heart attack in a hotel here on Christmas Eve. He was 69. A former pupil of Pablo Casals, his fellow Catalan, Casado split with the maestro after Cassado continued to play in Spain, Italy and Germany during World War II.
Casado made his American debut in 1936 with the Philharmonic Symphony under Sir John Barbirolli at Carnegie Hall. He also played under Lamoureux, Furtwaengler, Beecham, Weingartner, Wood and Arbos." (The spelling Casado instead of Cassado is Billboard's.)

See also the Japanese website with the Extensive Discography of Gaspar Cassado.

Rudolf A. Bruil, Fall 2005


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