Casals/Szell: Dvorak Cello Concerto in B minor Op. 104 (r. 1937) - Electrola E 80614
Jacket VG+ / LP EX
This handsome LP from Electrola (E 80614, German pressing, red label, mono) features Pablo Casals' classic account of Dvorak’s glorious Cello Concerto in B minor Op. 104, recorded by HMV’s Fred Gaisberg in the Deutsches Haus, Prague on 28 April 1937 with George Szell and the Czech Philharmonic.
This justly famous recording has remained a staple of the catalog since its first appearance on shellac.
Wrote Lionel Salter in his August 1990 review, for The Gramophone, of its appearance on an EMI Références CD:
"It scarcely seems necessary to write anything further about Casals's famous recordings of the Dvorak and Elgar concertos, which have long been recognized as classics of the recorded repertoire. The former, hailed in Grove V as ''destined to mark a standard for generations'' and described at the time as ''seemingly played with a sword rather than a bow'', still exercises a powerful effect: the incandescent solo playing is so mesmeric that one can accept the rather harsh and dry orchestral sound which betrays its age (from 1937). Some of Casals's passionate quality may have been due to his decision to break out of his self-imposed restricted activities caused by the Spanish civil war: the astute Fred Gaisberg, hearing that he had consented to appear with Szell in Prague, swung into action and talked them into making a recording the day after the concert. Casals allowed himself to be persuaded the more readily since the only concertos he had previously recorded were the Boccherini/Grdtzmacher and the Brahms Double with his old friend Thibaud."
There are fine liner notes (uncredited) on the reverse side of the jacket, printed in German only. The memorable cover photo of Casals is similarly uncredited.