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Mutations and Other Fairytales
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Beethoven Sonata Op. 102
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Anton von Webern
Two pieces for cello and piano (1899)
1. Langsam
2. Langsam
Cello Sonata (1914)
3. Sehr bewegt
Three Pieces (1914)
4. Maessige Achtel
5. Sehr bewegt
6. Aeusserst Ruhig

Rainer Bischof
7. "Mutations" for Unaccompanied Cello, op. 41 (1995)

R. Caroline Bosanquet
8. "Elegie" (in Memoriam Joan Dickson) (1994)

Wolfgang Florey
Sonata for Unaccompanied Cello (1997)
9. Memoria - Andante con moto
10. Scherzo - Presto
11. Notturno - Adagio
12. Rondo Allegro molto

Leos Janacek
Presto (1910)
13. Presto
Pohadka (A Fairytale) (1910)
14. Con moto
15. Con moto
16. Allegro
  Mutations and other Fairytales (CD)


Susan Salm | CD: Mutations and other Fairytales
  Composers: Anton von Webern, Rainer Bischof, R. Caroline Bosanquet, Wolfgang Florey and Leos Janacek
Performers: Susan Salm (cello), Lauretta Altman (piano)
Cover Design: Friedrich Danielis
Label: SNE 637
UPC: 72372360032
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Mutations and other Fairytales
A Century of Great Music for the Cello

It has been one of my greatest pleasures to record the works on this disc. Each of these compositions holds a special place in my thoughts— and in my repertoire. To be able to bring these together now, in as permanent a way as a musician can do, is a joyous occasion: none of these works, in this form, has been recorded before—the three Webern groups have not all been recorded, and never yet together—thus, this recording constitutes the Complete Works of Webern for Cello and Piano; the Janacek pieces also have never both been recorded together—thus, the Complete Works of Janacek for Cello and Piano appear here as well. Caroline Bosanquet’s "Elegie" is here recorded for the first time, as is Wolfgang Florey’s Cello Sonata and Rainer Bischof’s "Mutations."

The Webern group of three pieces is perhaps the most well-known of all these works, and is a remarkably intense and lyrical group of pieces that I have enjoyed performing since I was a student at the Juilliard School. His sonata for cello and piano, a piece I came across later, fascinated me, probably largely because it is completely unknown, but surely also because of its knotty problems, both rhythmic and harmonic, the use of lines as they are passed between the two instruments, and the abruptness with which the sonata is brought to its conclusion. Webern’s two early pieces, the only work on this disc written before 1900, (in 1899) are deeply expressionistic and delightful in their unabashed romanticism. The Janacek pieces, both the "Fairy Tale" and the "Presto", came to my attention shortly before my New York recital debut in 1974. I fell in love with Janacek’s music at first exposure (in that case, his operas) and was thrilled to learn that he had generously written two works for cello and piano. As a result, I was able to perform the New York debut of Janacek’s hitherto unknown cello pieces, and have taken special pride in performing them often, ever since. They speak directly to the heart, and from the heart, and their irresistible beauty and originality have always given me great joy. Caroline Bosanquet’s soulful "Elegie" spoke to me as soon as I first read it, and I identified with its heartfelt lament and expressive warmth of feeling.

The two works for whose coming into existence I happily accept some responsibility, Bishof’s "Mutations" and Florey’s Sonata, are, for me, the centerpiece of this recording. Both for unaccompanied cello, each a tremendous challenge for the performer, both were composed for me. Having this connection to a work of art is truly inspiring: to know that a great work was created so that I, personally, could bring it to life in a performance, and to know that the sounds and concepts will be forever related to me and my interpretation is a cause for serious thought and consideration—and a great thrill.

Bischof’s 17-minute one-movement piece is a deeply-felt, emotional statement about man and humanity, time and timelessness, and the personal, philosophical questions and preoccupations about man’s place in the universe, his agony and ecstasy, his pains and joys. When I first saw the beginnings of the manuscript for this piece and hardly dared to start practicing it, to try to solve the numerous technical and interpretive problems, I was reassured over and over again by the composer, "I know for whom I wrote this—it’s not just for anyone, it is for you." It was not only this confidence, but the challenge, and the music itself that gave me tremendous strength, and continues to do so. Florey’s Sonata, the most recently written work on this recording, is so rich in expressiveness, and so unique in its language, all the while building and sustaining an immediate connection to the performer’s sense of sound and resonance, that I feel a closeness to this work not only when I perform it, but even when I think of it. The very fact of a composer, formerly a cellist, holding to the most conventional form, the four-movement sonata, and then in his brilliant and effervescent originality doing totally unconventional things with his notes, is such a joy that I relish the fact of this sonata’s existence.
As I do with each of these works.

Each of these composers has written something original for the instrument and has made a major contribution to the cello repertoire. I feel strongly that I have a special relationship with each of these pieces, and thus with each composer, and for that, and for the opportunity to share this with others, I will always be deeply grateful.

Susan Salm, 1998