Souvenir de Spa for Cello & Piano, Op.2
Here is another fine virtuoso recital work which will impress audiences and judges everywhere. Souvenir de Spa is just one of several outstanding works of this genre that Servais composed.
Adrien Francois Servais (1807-1866) was born in the Belgian town of Hal near Brussels. As a child he began to study violin, but later switched to the cello, studying at the Brussels Conservatory where he quickly earned the first prize. Servais became professor of cello at the Conservatory, but gave up the post after a few years to concentrate on concert tours. The scale of his concert career can be gauged by the fact that over a period of forty years, he gave more than ten thousand concerts, visiting virtually every country in Europe. Servais is not only an illustrious representative of the 19th century virtuoso-romantic style who made an essential contribution to cello technique, greatly broadening its expressive possibilities. His playing and compositions both reflected the tastes of the new epoch, with its romantic fervor. Both Paganini and Liszt greatly influenced him. Berlioz, Mendelssohn and many others called him “the Paganini of the cello”, however, his performing style as well as his works are closer to the style of Henri Vieuxtemps, with whom he often performed.
Servais' works, which are romantic in character, combine brilliant virtuosity with cantilena qualities. In both respects they harmonize perfectly with the nature of the cello's expressive and technical means. His colorful and picturesque performing devices intensify the romantic shade of his music. Souvenir de Spa was composed in 1844 and not based on themes from an opera but consists entirely of Servais's own material. Our sound-bite presents a little less than a quarter of the work.
Our edition is a reprint of the original and is a serviceable performance edition, but it is not the equal in quality of a modern edition. The price, less than our generally very low prices, reflects this fact.