Souvenir du Rhin, Caprice for Cello & Piano
Here is another first rate virtuoso recital piece or competition work par excellence, sure to please.
Gaetano Braga (1829-1907) was born in the Italian town of Giulianova. He studied at the Naples Conservatory with Salvatore Mercadante among others and then pursued a dual career as a virtuoso cellist and as a composer. He was considered one of the leading cellists before the public during the last half of the 19th century, but his compositions, and his operas in particular, were widely popular. He had a great gift for melody and his dramatic and cantabile writing made many of his compositions unforgettable. Today, he is remembered chiefly for his lovely work, Le Serenata or The Angel's Serenade.
The Souvenir du Rhin is in the tradition of the bravura genre, so loved by audiences of the 19th century and which typically appeared at the end of a concert program to ensure an ovation. Braga said he wrote the piece after being attacked in print by a Rhenish cellist who claimed that Braga's works were so simple, they could be "performed by the nose without the use of the fingers". The Souvenir is a marvelous work full of gorgeous melodic writing and virtuosic fireworks which make full use of the cello's range and qualities. The name of the work, clearly was intended as a way of getting back at his carping colleague.
Out of print for many years, we are pleased to make it available to all of our cellist friends.