Today is the birthday of Henri Casadesus, French violist and composer, born in 1879. Henri was the brother of Marius Casadesus and they were the uncles of Robert Casadesus and so we have yet another of the many families who carry extraordinary talent in their DNA.
Henri and Jean were both members of a famous Parisian string quartet, but found time to form their own group, a quintet called the Society of Ancient Instruments – they introduced the audience to the viola da gamba and the viola d’amore. It seems they also introduced unknown works by composers like Bach, Mozart and Handel. A C.P.E. Bach piece that appeared in 1911 was particularly popular – entitled Concerto in D Major for Viola, it was performed by Milhaud and Koussevitsky and recorded by Eugene Ormandy. Only recently have historians determined that it was written by Henri. Marius wrote the Mozart.
So to celebrate the very talented Henri and his family, here is Robert Casadesus, his wife Gaby and their son Jean. I had hoped to find Robert’s version of Mozart’s Concerto 21 on YouTube – what is known as ‘the theme from Elvira Madigan‘ – since his performance is exquisite beyond words, but couldn’t. This, however, is pretty historic: