Robert Casadesus

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Robert Casadesus
Robert Casadesus 1972.jpg
Robert Casadesus performing in 1972
Background information
Born (1899-04-07)7 April 1899
Paris, France
Died 19 September 1972(1972-09-19) (aged 73)
Paris, France
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) Pianist, composer
Instruments Piano

Robert Casadesus (7 April 1899 – 19 September 1972) was a renowned 20th-century French pianist and composer. He was the most prominent member of a famous musical family, being the nephew of Henri Casadesus and Marius Casadesus, husband of Gaby Casadesus, and father of Jean Casadesus.

Biography[edit]

Robert Casadesus was born and died in Paris, and studied there at the Conservatoire with Louis Diémer, taking a Premier Prix (First Prize) in 1913 and the Prix Diémer in 1920. Robert then entered the class of Lucien Capet, who had exceptional influence. Capet had founded a famous quartet that bore his name (Capet Quartet) and in which two of Robert’s uncles played: Henri and Marcel. The Quartet often rehearsed in the Casadesus home, and so it was that Robert was initiated into chamber music. The Beethoven Quartets held no secret for him—he knew them backwards and forwards without ever having played them.

Beginning in 1922, Casadesus collaborated with the composer Maurice Ravel on a project to create piano rolls of a number of his works. Casadesus and Ravel also shared the concert platform in France, Spain and England. Casadesus toured widely as a piano soloist and often performed with his wife, the pianist Gaby (L'Hôte) Casadesus, whom he married in 1921.

From 1935 Casadesus taught at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau. He and his family spent the Second World War years in the United States and had a home in Princeton, New Jersey. He and Gaby established the Fontainebleau School at Newport, Rhode Island after the fall of France. In 1942 the Fontainebleau School was moved to Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in the Berkshires. After the war, in 1946, Robert Casadesus, now Director of the American Conservatory oversaw its return to Fontainebleau. His pupils included Claude Helffer, Grant Johannesen, Monique Haas, Mary Louise Boehm and William Eves, who appeared on the Bell Telephone Hour fine arts documentary TV series and was a longtime piano instructor at Bowdoin College.

Robert and Gaby Casadesus had three children, Jean, Guy and Therese. Casadesus died in Paris, 19 September 1972, after a brief illness and only a few months after the death of his son Jean in an automobile accident. Gaby Casadesus died in Paris on 12 November 1999. In her later years she edited the works of Ravel for G. Schirmer, Inc.

Legacy[edit]

A product of the school of French pianism, his style of playing was classical and restrained with a very delicate approach to melody and line. He is especially noted as an interpreter of Mozart. Among his other recordings are those of the complete piano music of Ravel (for which he was awarded the Grand Prix de l'Academie Charles Cros and the Grand Prix de l'Academie du Disque,) and the Beethoven Violin Sonatas with Zino Francescatti (of which the Kreutzer Sonata was filmed and has been released on DVD). The Bell Telephone Hour (a fine arts-related television series broadcast on NBC for many years) produced a one-hour television film, in 1967, on Robert, Gaby and their son Jean, titled "The First Family of the Piano."

Recordings[edit]

Casadesus recorded several of Mozart’s piano concertos with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra (sometimes billed as the Columbia Symphony for contractual reasons). Casadesus was joined by his wife Gaby and their son Jean in recordings of Mozart's concertos for two and three pianos, accompanied by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy. The recordings have been reissued on CD several times by Sony Classical. There were also recordings of four of Bach's two and three Keyboard Concertos, issued by Columbia, under the baton of Eugene Ormandy, Pierre Deveux and Edmund de Stoutz.

Casadesus recorded Mozart’s piano concerto No. 27 in B flat with Sir John Barbirolli and the New York Philharmonic in 1941.

Works[edit]

Robert and Gaby Casadesus

Orchestral[edit]

  • Suite No. 1, Op. 11 (1927)
  • Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 19 (1934)
  • Suite No. 2, Op. 26 (1937)
  • Symphony No. 2, Op. 32 (1941)
  • Suite No. 3, Op. 33 (1942)
  • Symphony No. 3, Op. 41 (1947)
  • Symphony No. 4, Op. 50 (1954)
  • Trois danses (3 Dances), Op. 54b (1956)
  • Symphony No. 5 "sur le nom de Haydn" (On the Name of Haydn), Op. 60 (1959)
  • Septet for string orchestra, Op. 64 (1961); original for 2 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos and double bass
  • Symphony No. 6, Op. 66 (1965)
  • Symphony No. 7 for chorus and orchestra, Op. 68 (1967)

Concertante[edit]

  • Concerto No. 1 for piano and orchestra, Op. 7 (1926)
  • Concerto for violin and orchestra, Op. 15 (1931)
  • Concerto for 2 pianos and orchestra, Op. 17 (1933)
  • Concertstück (Concert Piece) for piano and chamber orchestra, Op. 27 (1937)
  • Concerto for flute and chamber orchestra, Op. 35 (1942)
  • Concerto No. 2 "for Dimitri Mitropoulos" for piano and orchestra, Op. 37 (1944)
  • Concerto for cello and orchestra, Op. 43 (1947)
  • Capriccio for piano and string orchestra, Op. 49 (1952)
  • Concerto No. 3 for piano and orchestra, Op. 63 (1961)
  • Concerto for 3 pianos and string orchestra, Op. 65 (1964)

Chamber music[edit]

  • Introduction et polonaise for cello and piano, Op. 4 (1924)
  • Piano Trio No. 1, Op. 6 (1924)
  • Sonata No. 1 for violin and piano, Op. 9 (1927)
  • Quintet for flute, violin, viola, cello and harp, Op. 10 (1927)
  • Sonata for viola and piano, Op. 12 (1928)
  • String Quartet No. 1, Op. 13 (1929)
  • Piano Quintet, Op. 16 (1932)
  • Sonata for flute and piano, Op. 18 (1934)
  • Deux pièces (2 Pieces) for harp, Op. 20 (1935)
  • Sonata for cello and piano, Op. 22 (1935)
  • Sonata for oboe (or clarinet) and piano, Op. 23 (1936)
  • Trois intermezzi (3 Intermezzi) for woodwind quintet, Op. 24 (1936)
  • String Trio, Op. 25 (1937)
  • String Quartet No. 2, Op. 29 (1940)
  • Piano Quartet, Op. 30 (1940)
  • Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano, Op. 34 (1942)
  • Suite for 2 solo violins, Op. 39 (1944)
  • Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon, Op. 42 (1947)
  • Nonetto for string quartet, wind quartet and piano, Op. 45 (1949)
  • String Quartet No. 3, Op. 46 (1950)
  • Hommage à Chausson (Homage to Chausson) for violin and piano, Op. 51 (1954)
  • Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 53 (1956)
  • String Quartet No. 4, Op. 55 (1957)
  • Sextet for woodwinds and piano, Op. 58 (1958)
  • Fantaisie for flute and piano, Op. 59 (1959)
  • Deux pièces (2 Pieces) for bassoon and piano, Op. 61 (1960)
  • Septet for 2 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos and double bass (or string orchestra), Op. 64 (1961)

Piano[edit]

  • Le voyage imaginaire (The Imaginary Trip), Op. 1 (1916)
  • Six pièces (6 Pieces) for 2 pianos, Op. 2 (1920)
  • Vingt-quatre préludes (24 Préludes), Op. 5 (1924)
  • Trois berceuses (3 Lullabies), Op. 8 (1926)
  • Sonata No. 1, Op. 14 (1930)
  • Huit études (8 Études), Op. 28 (1939)
  • Sonata No. 2, Op. 31 (1941)
  • Trois danses méditerranéennes (3 Mediterranean Dances) for 2 pianos, Op. 36 (1943)
  • Chant pour la libération de Paris (Song for the Liberation of Paris) for 2 pianos, Op. 38 (1944)
  • Toccata, Op. 40 (1946)
  • Sonata No. 3, Op. 44 (1948)
  • Six enfantines, Op. 48 (1950)
  • Variations d'après l'hommage à Debussy de M. de Falla (Variations on Manuel de Falla's "Hommage à Debussy"), Op. 47 (1951)
  • Suite en La (Suite in A), Op. 52 (1956)
  • Trois danses (3 Dances), Op. 54a (1956)
  • Sonata No. 4, Op. 56 (1957)
  • Sonata for 2 pianos, Op. 62 (1960)
  • Trois berceuses (3 Lullabies), Op. 67 (1966)
  • Impromptu, Op. 67 No. 4 (1967)

Vocal[edit]

  • Spleen for voice and orchestra, Op.3 (1923)
  • Trois rondels pour après for voice and piano, Op. 21 (1935)
  • Sept épigrammes sur des tombeaux grecs for voice and orchestra, Op. 57 (1958)

External links[edit]