by Peter Cates
Dvorak Cello Concerto: two different renditions. A. Anja Thauer, cellist, with Zdenek Macal conducting the Czech Philharmonic; Australian Eloquence, CD, recorded 1968.
Anja Thauer (1945-1973) was an extraordinarily talented cellist who left only two LPs, one of the Dvorak and another containing short works by Max Reger and Jean Francaix; all three are included on this one CD.
The Dvorak is considered by many, including myself, to be the most beautiful cello concerto ever composed. It has had numerous very fine recordings by just about every player in the profession since the earliest ‘20s and ‘30s breakable 78s by Emannuel Feuermann and Pablo Casals. I own a number of prized ones – Leonard Rose, Mstislav Rostropovich – six times, Anne Gustinel, Gregor Piatagorsky – twice, Edmund Kurz, Pierre Fournier – twice, Maurice Gendron, Zara Nelsova, Andre Navarra, Lyn Harrell – twice, Casals, Feuermann, Yo Yo Ma, Enrico Mainardi, etc.
Thauer delivered a most extraordinarily beautiful performance, one of the top three or four, while Macal provided powerful, rugged support. Her accomplished playing of the Max Reger searing Suite in A Minor and the Jean Francaix charming Fantasy for Cello and Piano, with the composer at the piano, add up to a generously filled cd very much in print.
Thauer committed suicide at the age of 28 after the breakup of an affair with a doctor who later did the same.
B. Andre Navarra, cellist, with Rudolf Schwarz conducting the New Symphony Orchestra of London; Capitol P-8301, mono LP, recorded approximately mid-to-late ‘50s.
Anja Thauer’s principal teacher was the French born Andre Navarra (1916-1993). Therefore I decided to pair these two different performances of the Dvorak. And now I am finding the comparison experience most enjoyable and enlightening.
Navarra had a similar elegant and enlivening style of playing to Thauer’s in which every note is given the most expressive feeling that is appropriate. But he and Maestro Schwarz use faster tempos, while Navarra is more flamboyant and pours on the fireworks in a most colorful, brisk manner. Still, I wouldn’t be without either recording.
The LP is long out of print but the performance was reissued on a Testament CD that may be still available through Amazon and its vendors.
A compellingly creepy thriller of a novel.
Lisa Miscione – Smoke; St. Martin’s Press, 2005.
The main character, Lydia, is an author of true crime books, while her husband, Jeffrey is a licensed P.I. A former writing student of Lydia’s has disappeared while trying to investigate the suicide of her brother, thus intriguing the couple enough to get interested. The trail eventually leads to a New Age church which focusses on addiction problems in a most unorthodox and, unfortunately, ominous manner with tentacles everywhere.
I bought this at a yard sale because of an attention getting blurb on the front cover by a favorite writer, Lee Child. Highly recommended.
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