Since none of Mendelssohn's cello and piano works were currently available on CD, this disc would have been welcome enough even without the tenderly nostalgic little unpublished Assai tranguillo (written by the 26-year-old Mendelssohn for his good young friend, Julius Rietz) recorded here for the very first time. Lasting only just over two minutes it ends inconclusively on the dominant, as if intended to preface something bigger.
This single CD contains 12 performances by pianist Russ Freeman (with either Joe Mondragon or Monty Budwig on bass and drummer Shelly Manne) plus the one regular studio session (eight songs) that illfated pianist Richard Twardzik led (in a trio with bassist Carson Smith and drummer Peter Littman). Due to its rarity, the Twardzik date is more important historically but actually Freeman generally takes solo honors. Fine, straight-ahead music from two of the mid-'50s' more promising pianists.
Despite his advanced age and the chaos surrounding him, Richard Strauss remained highly productive well into the 1940s. As the Second World War was coming to an end in 1944-45, the eighty-year-old composer was working on his Oboe Concerto and Sonatina No. 2 for winds, as well as the Metamorphosen for strings. While the latter work was an explicit response to the destruction Strauss was witnessing, in the Concerto and the Sonatina the composer seemed to be turning his mind away from the events surrounding him. There is a pastoral quality to the oboe concerto, with a highly tuneful solo part and more than occasional touches of nostalgia for the 18th century. Similarly, Strauss headed the score of the sonatina with a dedication ‘to the spirit of the immortal Mozart at the end of a life full of thankfulness’.
L'historien ne peut manquer de s'interroger sur ce paradoxe: angevin par son père Henri II et aquitain par sa mère Aliénor, Richard Ier, roi d'Angleterre de 1189 à 1199, ne résida dans l'île que six mois au total et n'en parla sans doute jamais la langue…
When soprano Claudia Galli first encountered Strauss, it was love at first sight (or, rather, sound). It soon became clear that Strauss should form the foundation of this recital programme, lovingly compiled by Claudia Galli and her duo partner, pianist Grégory Moulin.