Music of Casella and Szymanowski
- CDR 90000 003
Cedille Selects tracks are designed to provide a representative overview of the album
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Pianist Easley Blackwood, celebrated for his performances of transcendentally difficult modern works, made his solo recording with this imaginative excursion through works by two early modernists.
The program combines works by Italian composer Alfredo Casella and Polish master Karol Szymanowski. Both absorbed the cosmopolitan influences of pre-World War I Paris, Vienna and Berlin. With the outbreak of war, both retreated into isolation in their homelands and began to write their finest music.
As Easley Blackwood elaborates in his notes: "The pairing of the Italian composer Alfredo Casella and the Polish Karol Szymanowski is not as unlikely as it might seem at first glance. Both absorbed the cosmopolitan influences of pre-World War I Paris, Vienna, and Berlin, and correspondingly were at first thoroughly committed to an international modernism. Both were active in promoting the new music of the day in their own countries, later to become ardent patriots who absorbed and helped to redefine the musical heritage of their respective lands. Both Casella and Szymanowski, like Stravinsky, Berg, Webern, and Bartók, were born in the early 1880s, and came to maturity just before the First World War. The relatively stable social and political situation before the war enabled a whole generation to spend its formative years in an environment highly conducive to cross-fertilization and interaction among artists and patrons. Once the war started, most were forced abruptly into isolation . . . Perhaps as a consequence of being thrust onto their own resources, composers during this period extended their musical languages beyond all previous limits."