"Longing for Lalo"
MUSIC: opening of the third movement (Intermezzo): Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole, performed by violinist Alexandre da Costa with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Radiotelevisión Española conducted by Carlos Kalmar [Warner Classics 2564 65711-4, Track 3] [under the following]
The French composer Édouard-Victoire-Antoine Lalo was born in Lille in the northernmost part of the country in 1823. He died in 1892. Although he is not one of the most immediately recognized names in French music, he has written several popular classics that deserve to be in every classical music lover’s collection. Stay with me for the next hour and we’ll listen together to Lalo’s tuneful tribute to Spain, his Symphonie espagnole for violin and orchestra, the first movement of his dramatic Cello Concerto, and an Aubade for chamber ensemble. I’m Fred Flaxman, and this is Compact Discoveries.
MUSIC: [fades out]
Lalo attended Lille’s music conservatory in his youth. Then, beginning at age 16, he studied at the Paris Conservatoire. For several years he worked as a string player and teacher in Paris. In 1848 he joined with friends to form a string quartet, playing viola and later second violin. His earliest surviving works are songs and chamber works. Two early symphonies were destroyed.
In 1865 Lalo had the good sense to do what I did a century later: he married a girl from Brittany. She was a contralto and was responsible for arousing Lalo’s early interest in opera and works for the stage. But his efforts in this direction were considered too progressive and Wagnerian and were not initially well received despite their freshness and originality. This led him to devote most of his career to the composition of works for orchestra and chamber music, which was gradually coming into vogue for the first time in France.
Lalo’s most famous work is his Symphonie espagnole, Opus 21, so let’s start this hour with that piece. Although it is called a symphony, it was for violin and orchestra, written for the famous Spanish violinist, Pablo de Sarasate. It premiered in Paris in 1875.
In this 2012 Warner Classics compact disc, Canadian violinist Alexandre Da Costa is the soloist with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Radiotelevisión Española conducted by Carlos Kalmar.
MUSIC: Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole, performed by violinist Alexandre Da Costa with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Radiotelevisión Española conducted by Carlos Kalmar [Warner Classics 2564 65711-4, Tracks 1-5] [34:45]
Symphonie espagnole, by Édouard Lalo. Alexandre Da Costa was the violinist with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Radiotelevisión Española conducted by Carlos Kalmar.
You are listening to “Longing for Lalo” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m Fred Flaxman.
[optional one-minute break not included in the total timing of the program]
Another very popular work of Lalo’s with the classical-music-loving public is his Cello Concerto in D Minor. Lalo wrote his Cello Concerto in 1876, in collaboration with Parisian cellist Adolphe Fischer. The work was premiered the following year with Fischer as soloist.
In this 1976 EMI recording, cellist Paul Tortelier is the soloist with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Louis Frémaux. This is the opening movement, which Lalo called “Prélude.”
MUSIC: Lalo: "Prélude" from Cello Concerto in D Minor performed by cellist Paul Tortelier with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Louis Frémaux. [EMI CDM 7 69457 2, Track 1] [13:40]
The opening movement, "Prélude," from Édouard Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D Minor. The cellist was Paul Tortelier; the conductor, Louis Frémaux; with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
I’m sorry we didn’t have time for the entire piece in this hour of Compact Discoveries, but if you like the first movement, I think you’ll like the rest of the concerto and want to add it to your personal music library.
We do have time to sample a short example of Lalo’s chamber music. This is his Aubade No. 2, the version for chamber ensemble, performed by Chamber Music Palm Beach on a Klavier compact disc recording. An “aubade” is a poem or piece of music appropriate to dawn or early morning.
MUSIC: Lalo: Aubade No. 2 [Klavier K-11105, Track 17] [3:58]
Édouard Lalo’s Aubade No. 2, performed by Chamber Music Palm Beach.
MUSIC: excerpt from the third movement (Intermezzo): Lalo: Symphonie Espagnole, performed by violinist Alexandre da Costa with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Radiotelevisión Española conducted by Carlos Kalmar [Warner Classics 2564 65711-4, Track 3] [under the following]
That concludes this hour of Compact Discoveries, which I called “Longing for Lalo.” But I’ll have another hour of Lalo’s beautiful music for you some other time. It will be called “More Longing for Lalo” and will include his Symphony in G Minor, his two-movement Rapsodie, and three excerpts from his Suite No. 1.
If you missed any of this program or would like to hear it again, go to compactdiscoveries.com on the internet, where you’ll find links to stream Compact Discoveries programs on demand without charge. You’ll also find information on every recording used in every program. This is program number 214.
You can also contact me through the website or simply e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I enjoy hearing from listeners all over the world, and you may enjoy reading their comments on the Compact Discoveries website by clicking on “Listener Response.” The website is compactdiscoveries.com. I’m Fred Flaxman. Thank you for listening!
MUSIC: fades out
ANNOUNCER (Steve Jencks): Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by Story Book Publishers and their latest offering, a tongue-in-cheek memoir by Compact Discoveries host Fred Flaxman called “Sixty Slices of Life ... on Wry: The Private Life of a Public Broadcaster.” And by the financial support of Isabel and Marvin Leibowitz, and an anonymous donor from Palm Beach, Florida.
Total Program Timing: 58:00