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Prades Chamber Music Festival - Exhibition - Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound

Prades Chamber Music Festival - Exhibition

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Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound

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Summertime is Chamber Music Festival Time!

The Chamber Music Festivals in Norway have established themselves as important events in Norwegian musical life during the past 20 years. In August 2009,the Stavanger International Camber Music Festival takes place, and The Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound warms up with old recordings from the "father" of chamber music festivals, the Casals festival in Prades in 1950.

From 1950 and onwards, the South French town of Prades and the nabouring town Perpignan was the scene for one of the most legendary festivals of all time. The Spanish cellist Pablo Casals and his internationally acclaimed collegues arranged the festival in the little town north of the Pyrenees. Pablo Casals is recognized as one of the most distiguished cellists of the 20th. Century, and a key person in the development of a modern and free technique of cello playing. Casals was born in 1876 and studied at the conservatoires in Barcelona and Madrid. From 1897 he was professor of cello in Madrid, and in 1905, he formed a piano trio together with the pianist Alfred Cortot and the violinist Jacques Thibaut. This trio soon obtained international legendary status through concert tours and gramophone recordings. In addition to his extensive concertizing, he founded his own orchestra in 1919, Orquestra Pau Casals in Barcelona as well as composing his own music.

In 1938, Casals emigrated from Spain in protest to the Facist regime of General Franco, and setled in the little town Prades in France. He also cancled all his public performances, and for the next 10 years, he reamined in self imposed silence. When in 1949 the American violinist Alexander Schneider visited Casals, he persuaded Casals to step out of his silence by suggesting to him to arrange a festival in Prades commemorating the 200 years of Bach's death.

The initiative resulted in a series of legendary festivals, both in Prades and Perpignan, but also in Puerto Rico where Casals setled in 1957. The concept of musicians meeting and rehearsing a repertoar in a few hectic summer weeks gives room for many exiting experiences, and it is this from of organizing a festival that still today makes Norwegian chamber music festival so renewing and vigorous. Casals headed the Prades festival until 1966.

Casals died in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1973 at the age of 96. After the death of General Franco, he was honoured posthumously in 1976 by the new Spanish government and King Juan Carlos I.

Many concerts were recorded live during the first festival in Prades in 1950 and subsequently published on a series of 10 LP's by the record company Columbia. These recordings are since published in new versions, and the original records have become collector's items. At the Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound, 7 of these 1950's LP's are found in the collection and forms the basis of a little exhibition in Stavanger as well as this web page with sound files.

Volume 1 (Columbia ML 4345)

Brandenburg Concerto no. 1 in F major

A. Schneider, violin; L. Thevet and G. Coursier, horn; M. Tabuteau, L. Storch og J. Mack, oboe; M. Allard, bassoon; Prades festival orchestra, conductor Pablo Casals.

Brandenburg Concerto nr. 2 in F major

M. Mule, sopransaxophone; A. Schneider, violin; J. Wummer, flute; M. Tableau, oboe; P. Tortelier, cello; Prades festival orchestra, conductor Pablo Casals.

Brandenburg Concerto no. 3 in G major

Prades festival orchestra, conductor Pablo Casals.

Volume 3 (Columbia ML 4347)

Brandenburg Concerto no. 6 i B flat major

Prades festival orchestra, conductor Pablo Casals.

The Musical Offering (excerpts)

Ricercare a 3

Leopold Mannes, piano

Sonata a 3

Alexander Schneider, violin; J. Wummer, flute; L. Teraspulsky, cello; L. Mannes, piano

Ricercare a 6

A. Scheider og O. Pernel, violin; M. Thomas og K. Tuttle, viola; L. Teraspulsky og D. Saideberg, cello; J. Rotenberg, double bass.

Volume 4 (Columbia ML 4348)

Suite no. 1 in C major for orchestra

Prades festival orchestra, conductor Pablo Casals.

Suite nr. 2 in b minor for flute og strings

John Wummer, flute; Prades festival orchestra, conductor Pablo Casals.

Volume 5 (Columba ML 4349)

Sonata no. 1 i G major for cello and piano

Pablo Casals, cello; Paul Paumgartner, piano

Sonata no. 2 in D major for cello og piano

Pablo Casals, cello; Paul Paumgartner, piano

Volume 6 (Columbia ML 4350)

Sonata no. 3 in g minor for cello og piano

Pablo Casals, cello; Paul Paumgartner, piano

Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in d minor

Rudolf Serkin, piano

Italian Concerto in F major

Rudolf Serkin, piano

Volume 7 (Columbia ML 4351)

Concerto for violin and oboe in c minor

Alexander Schneider, violin solo: Marcel Tabuteau, oboe; Prades festival orchestra, conductor Pablo Casals.

Concerto for 2 violins and strings in d minor

Isaac Stern and Alexander Schneider, violin; Prades festival orchestra, conductor Pablo Casals.

Volume 10 (Columbia ML 4354)

English Suite no. 5 in e minor

Mieczyslaw Horszowski, piano

Sonata for flute and piano in b minor

John Wummer flute; Leopold Mannes, piano

Prelude and Fugue in e flat minor from The Well Tempered Klavier

Yvonne Lefebure, piano

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