Andre Navarra: The Cello | Fondamenta FON1603021

Andre Navarra: The Cello

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Label: Fondamenta

Cat No: FON1603021

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 6

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 11th November 2016



Fondamenta is launching the Phoenix Collection with a homage to André Navarra, the great cellist, on the thirtieth anniversary of his death. Accompanied by Navarra’s son, our teams travelled the length and breadth of Europe to seek out original recordings – some abandoned, others hitherto unpublished – to piece together the artistic legacy of one of the most illustrious cellists and founders of the great French tradition of cello playing.

Each and every one of the tracks has been carefully restored using the Phoenix Mastering process that we have developed over several years; one of the phases is based on the technology of Devialet. This makes for a unique collection of six CDs that bring together all the great concertos for cello with a sound never before equalled.

Over the 15 years between 1954 and 1969 André Navarra recorded most of the major works in the cello repertoire with the finest orchestras (Hallé Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Czech Philharmonic) under the baton of conductors such as Sir John Barbirolli, Charles Munch, Karel Ančerl and Pierre Dervaux, and collaborating with violinists Tibor Varga and Josef Suk.

Alongside these fine musicians, Navarra covered an enormous range of styles, from the delicacy of the French music of Lalo and Saint-Saëns to the romanticism of Dvořák, Brahms and Elgar, from the Slav effervescence of Prokofiev, Khachaturian, Martinů and Kodaly to the purity of C.P.E. Bach.

Yet his extraordinary career as a soloist was too often overshadowed by his renown as a dedicated teacher and master of the great French school of cello. Today, with these CDs, Fondamenta shows that Navarra was first and foremost a solo cellist. Navarra’s legacy cannot but resonate with his disciples, as well as with their disciples. However, this collection is first and foremost for all lovers of the cello, who will again hear a unique voice that was extinguished when Navarra passed away in 1987, leaving a heritage that Fondamenta has brought back to life.

Navarra was only 20 years old when his career as a soloist was beginning, taking him across Europe as he performed all the concertos in the repertoire with the major orchestras. But World War Two called a temporary halt to the ascension of the rising star. Unlike some of his fellow musicians, he refused to collaborate with the occupiers and took refuge behind his music stand, playing as an ordinary member of the Paris Opera orchestra. From 1945 onwards, he could again be heard in the capitals of Europe, conducted by the likes of Munch, Paray and Barbirolli, and later Mehta, Ristenpart and Ančerl.

A parallel career opened up for him: teaching. He taught in Paris, Sienna, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Nice, London, Vienna, Sion and Detmold. His mastery of the bow was unique: he borrowed the technique used by violinists. It revolutionized the method of cello playing, bringing roundedness, sensitivity and strength. He pursued his two callings with equal intensity, one career enriching the other, as this collection shows so clearly. Navarra approached all the works of the repertoire with equal passion.

When he died under the Tuscan sun that was so dear to him, he bequeathed a legacy of a school of cello playing that is unique in the world and whose technique is still recognizable.

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