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Both as a listener and as a performer, I enjoy digging up obscure pieces that I think deserve to be heard more often. I'm also fortunate to live in a city where the classical radio station likes to go off the beaten path too, so I've had the chance to hear plenty of obscure pieces.
For the last year and a half, I've been making a weekly post on Facebook and on my personal blog featuring a lesser-known masterpiece each week, mostly by lesser-known composers. I thought it'd be a good idea to share some of that music here, especially pieces featuring strings.
My most recent post was the Ricardo Castro cello concerto.
Castro was probably Mexico's leading late Romantic composer, but was neglected after his death because of a whole generation of notable nationalist and modernist composers who immediately followed. His cello concerto, composed in 1895, was the first cello concerto composed in Latin America and the second in the Americas; he also composed the earliest Latin American piano concerto. The Castro cello concerto was completed the month before Dvorak's, when cello solo repertoire was still rather sparse. It was performed once during Castro's life, in Paris in 1903, but was not heard again until Carlos Prieto performed it in Mexico City in 1981.
I find the opening of the concerto especially interesting. It seems to have a bit in common with Tchaikovsky's 1st piano concerto, in that the soloist starts in a prominent role but an accompanying one. Here, the solo cello plays heavy quadruple-stop chords with the timpani to punctuate a woodwind theme, before taking up the theme itself.
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