Τρίτη, 21 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

Rare Recordings No1 - Schumann Concerto for Cello and Orchestra


Schumann
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra op.129  (1951)
10 inch 33rpm
Andre Navarra Cello
Andre Cluytens conducts  
L'Orchestre de L'Association des Concerts Colonne
Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.
Columbia 33FC-1006  
Made in France

André-Nicolas Navarra (October 13, 1911 Biarritz, France – July 31, 1988 Siena, Italy) was a French cellist and cello teacher.

He was born into a musical family, his father a bassist of Italian descent.[citation needed] His parents took steps to prepare him for music before setting him up with an instrument, teaching him scales and solfège before he began studying cello at age seven. Two years later, he was accepted as a student at the Toulouse Conservatory, and graduated in 1924 with first prize at age thirteen. He then continued his studies at the Conservatoire de Paris, learning cello from Jules Leopold-Loeb and chamber music from Charles Tournemire. He graduated two years later at age fifteen, again taking first prize.

After the completion of his lessons at the Conservatoire de Paris, Navarra stopped taking lessons entirely something very unusual for first-rate soloists. Instead, he worked out his own course of study, and practiced at it. This included transcribing many of the violin technical methods to make up for a lack of decent cello études, including those of Carl Flesch and Otakar Ševčík.

Navarra remained in Paris for this period of self-study, and used the opportunity to meet and observe the playing of musicians such as Emanuel Feuermann, pianist Alfred Cortot, and violinist Jacques Thibaud. Navarra also developed friendships with composers Jacques Ibert, Florent Schmitt, and Arthur Honegger. Later on, he was mentored by Pablo Casals in regard to artistic matters.



In 1929, at the age of eighteen, Navarra joined the Krettly Quartet, and remained with them for the next seven years. He also helped form an ensemble called the B.B.N. Trio with pianist Joseph Benvenuti[verification needed] and violinist René Benedetti. Two years later, he made his solo debut with Paris's Colonne Orchestra, performing Édouard Lalo's Cello Concerto in D minor. In 1933 he became principal cellist of the Paris Opéra Orchestra, in addition to continuing to appear as a soloist with various European orchestras.

During these years, Navarra was exceptionally athletic. His favorite sport was swimming, but he also enjoyed boxing. This led to Navarra developing an extremely strong and stocky physique which he kept for years afterward. He regarded this as ideal for a cellist, allowing him to dominate the relatively large instrument.

Navarra slowly continued to establish his career throughout the 1930s, receiving a major boost in 1937 when he won first prize at the Vienna International Competition. However, his career was abruptly halted by World War II in 1939. During this time he abandoned his cello and served with the French infantry.


 In 1945, after a period of practice to regain his physical skills, André Navarra resumed his career. In 1949, he accepted a professorship at the Conservatoire de Paris as a successor to Pierre Fournier, and meanwhile toured extensively in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Soviet Union, playing with the era's great conductors. His performances included premieres of cello concertos written for him. Among them was one by André Jolivet, which Navarra recorded for Erato; it received release in the United States on Westminster XWN-19118 (mono) and WST-17118 (stereo). He also recorded a particularly well-received version of Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto with Sir John Barbirolli conducting.

In addition to his position at the Conservatoire de Paris, Navarra taught summer courses at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana Siena from 1954, fall courses in Saint-Jean-de-Luz and accepted an additional professorship at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold in 1958. He also taught in London and Vienna.


Navarra recorded Antonín Dvořák's 'Cello Concerto in 1954 with the New Symphony Orchestra of London, conducted by Rudolf Schwarz. Capitol Records released it in 1955, catalog number P 8301.

*******

The Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129, by Robert Schumann was completed in a period of only two weeks, between 10 October and 24 October 1850, shortly after Schumann became the music director at Düsseldorf.

The concerto was never played in Schumann's lifetime. It was premièred on 9 June 1860, four years after his death, at the Leipzig Conservatory in a concert in honour of the 50th anniversary of Schumann's birth, with Ludwig Ebert as soloist.The length of a typical performance is about 25 minutes.

This concerto is considered one of his more daring and adventurous works, due to the length of the exposition and the transcendental quality of the opening. On the autographed score, Schumann gave the title Konzertstück (concert piece) rather than Konzert (concerto), which suggested he intended to depart from the traditional conventions of a concerto from the very beginning.


 Andre Navarra

Like Schumann's other concertos, the first movement of the cello concerto begins with a very short orchestral introduction followed by the presentation of the main theme by solo, which in turn is followed by a short tutti that leads into a lyrical melody.

The second movement is a very short lyrical movement in which the soloist occasionally uses double stops. It also features a descending fifth, a gesture used throughout the piece as a signal and homage to his wife, Clara Schumann.

The third movement is a lively rondo which contrasts with the first two movements. At the end of the movement, there is an accompanied in-tempo cadenza, something unprecedented in Schumann's day, that leads into the final coda. In recent years, some cellists have chosen instead to include their own unaccompanied cadenza at this point, although there is no indication that Schumann wished for one.

Schumann famously abhorred receiving applause between movements. As a result, there are no breaks between any of the movements in the concerto.

Movements :


The piece is in three movements, which follow on from each other without a pause:

Nicht zu schnell (A minor)
Langsam (F major)
Sehr lebhaft (A minor – A major)


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