Thursday, February 17, 2011

The First Mrs. Casals?

The Portugese cellist Guilhermina Augusta Xavier de Medim Suggia Carteano Mena (1885-1950), or, to give the name by which she is generally remembered, Guilhermina Suggia, was generally believed to be the first wife of Pablo Casals, although there is no evidence that they were actually married.  Certainly she was his student and, from 1906 to 1912, his lover, and she even billed herself as "Mme. P. Casals-Suggia" for a time.  After they separated, Suggia retained her admiration for Casals.  In 1927, she married Jose Mena, an X-ray specialist.  Upon her death, her Stradivarius cello was bequeathed to the Royal Academy of Music in Britain, to be sold to fund a scholarship for young cellists.

Suggia made a handful of recordings, including two concertos that Casals never recorded - the Lalo D minor, and this one of the Haydn D major (which, incidentally, was one of John Barbirolli's first conducting assignments for HMV):

Haydn: Concerto in D, for cello and orchestra
Guilhermina Suggia, with orchestra conducted by John Barbirolli
Recorded July 12-13, 1928
HMV D 1518 through 1520, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 65.57 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 25.92 MB)


  1. Awesome! Thank you.

  2. Thanks for your transfer! It's nice to hear something positive coming from Portugal in contrast to all the bad news these days.

  3. Oh, thank you so much - I've been wanting to hear this for ages, ever since I realised I'd stupidly missed the boat with Dutton's Suggia disc. Lovely playing! Someone (Gevaert?) has titivated the scoring - did you clock the clarinets? All the very best, Nick

  4. I never knew she recorded anything!! Wow, exciting stuff, thank you!!!!