Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|ROBERT CASADESUS / ZINO FRANCESCATTI|
Actors: Beethoven, Casadesus, Francescatti
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Two dapper Romantics
Mike Birman | Brooklyn, New York USA | 01/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have an old Columbia LP of Casadesus playing Mozart's Piano Concertos nos. 21 and 24 with George Szell conducting the Cleveland Orchestra. It was my introduction to those stunning works. I treasure them for their elegance and beauty and no other recording has ever replaced them in my heart. His two disc set of Ravel's complete piano music is another favorite, highlighting the affinity between Mozart and Ravel (at least to his Gallic ears). Zino Francescatti, on a recording he made in 1963 with Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic, introduced me to Brahm's Violin Concerto. It was a refined, Classical performance that remains with me to this day; still a sentimental favorite. Funny how music allows one to revisit the past.
This DVD, another in EMI's Classic Archive series, features some shorter works by Ravel (his Sonatine in a fine performance), Debussy (excerpts from Preludes Books 1 and 2) and Chabrier (Bouree Fantasque). The emphasis is on Beethoven, however. Casadesus plays the Beethoven Sonatas in D Major Op.10 no.3 and A Major Op.101. They are eminently Classical readings, even austere, with hints of Bach around the edges in the Op.101. If you like your Beethoven performed with objectivity and grace, you will treasure these recordings. If not, well, you may still enjoy these readings for their sheer sonic beauty.
Francescatti joins in for two Beethoven Violin Sonatas: in A Major "Kreutzer" and G Major Op.96. The Sonatas possess the two performer's (longtime friends as well as collaborators) customary musical elegance; seasoned with refined beauty and circumspect power. I like my Beethoven this way. The overblown Romanticism of some readings strikes me as a fatal misjudgement of Beethoven's intentions. You won't find that here! The disc also includes Beethoven's two Romances for Violin, op.40 and 50.
These videos date from 1960 and 1970. Their quality, with images in black and white and color, is clear enough, though obviously below today's digitally stark standards. They are of archival quality and that must be taken into account when evaluating them. Sound is a clear mono, perfect for such intimate music.
This is a fine DVD which I can recommend highly as long as you make allowances for the age of these films. Performers such as Casadesus and Francescatti were once part of our musical landscape. Maybe we took them for granted. Pickings are much slimmer today. As I write this, a commercial is exhorting me to pick-up the latest CD by 50 Cent, containing some of the greatest "tunes" ever recorded! If this DVD sells 5000 copies it will be a smash hit in the dwindling commerce associated with Classical Music. We are blithely discarding hundreds of years of hard-won beauty and grace. What are we gaining in return?