Sardana and Jota from Suite for Solo Cello
September 24, 2017: Rafael Figueroa, cello
Young prodigy Gaspar Cassadó began his music training early with his organist-composer father. The family moved to Paris to insure the best teachers—the great Jacques Thibaud for his violinist brother and Casals for him. Casals’s playing and mentoring left an indelible impression on the young Gaspar, who became acquainted with all the leading musicians in Paris—he also studied composition with Ravel and Falla. Influenced by his mentor’s legendary performances of the Bach solo cello suites, Cassadó composed one of his own in 1926, successfully transferring the idea of Bach’s stylized Baroque dances to dance forms of his own Spanish heritage. The Sardana, reflecting the national Catalonian circle dance, unfolds in two parts: slow and stately (dancer holding hands with arms down) and fast and exuberant (arms up).
The final movement alternates an introspective Intermezzo with a lively triple-meter Jota, which evokes the guitars and castanets of the dance’s northern Spanish roots.
© Jane Vial Jaffe