“For lovers of the great mind of Spanish cellist Pablo Casals, this digitally restored Archipel Records album is sure to be of great interest. The first half of the disc finds Casals at the helm of an orchestra comprised of a staggering 102 cellists including such dignitaries as Paul Bezalaire and Gaspard Cassadó. Track 1 is by far the most intellectually stimulating track, featuring a full 24 minutes of rehearsal time preparing a transcription (that we can only assume to be of Casals' hand) of the Fauré Élegie. While there may be a language barrier for some listeners, the actual words that he says are unimportant. Simply hearing him "singing" certain passages to the orchestra, the guttural vocalizations he makes, and the steady transformation that can be heard is more than enough to convey the point he is trying to get across. The large ensemble also gives engaging and stylized performances of two of Casals' own pieces: Les Rois Mages and Sardana. Another treasure to be found on the disc, although its existence is somewhat obscured on the jacket, is Casals performing the Schumann Cello Concerto in live concert with the Prades Festival Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy. While recordings from this rehearsal would have been an exciting find to be sure, Casals performance alone is testament to his intense musicality and heartfelt sentiment throughout the poignant concerto.”
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