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Dvorak: Cello Concertos Import

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Audio CD, Import, October 8, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Hyperion is delighted to present the world's best-loved cello concerto performed by one of the world's best-loved cellists, Britain's national treasure, Steven Isserlis. This album puts Dvorak's B minor cello concerto in context, including not only the original ending, but also an orchestral version of the song Lasst mich allein, which is quoted in the concerto s second and third movements. Dvorak's first cello concerto, a little-known work from the composer's early period, is also included. This version (in its premiere recording) is by German composer Gunter Raphael, and is extensively rewritten from the composer's original. For this fascinating program of Dvorak's cello music, Isserlis is joined by his regular collaborators, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra led by conductor Daniel Harding.

Product Details

  • Performer: Steven Isserlis
  • Orchestra: Mahler Chamber Orchestra
  • Conductor: Daniel Harding
  • Composer: Antonin Dvorak
  • Audio CD (October 8, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B00DW7OQ7G
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,412 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Grabow on November 13, 2013
Fans of Stephen Isserlis, myself included (especially of his Bach Cello Suites), have been anticipating his first recording of the Dvorak Cello Concerto for some time. Perhaps the publicity surrounding this event was too much for all concerned, because there is an unusual degree of caution in this performance. Some fault for this must fall on the conductor, Daniel Harding. This is an unashamedly romantic work, with many memorably beautiful moments of great writing in which the soloist and orchestra can wax eloquently. After I listened to this recording I felt compelled to listen to all my other, favorite recordings (Casals/Szell, Rostropovich/Khaikin, DuPre/Celibidache, Queyras/Belohlavek and Hoelscher/Keilberth in order to try and remember why I love this music. In each case there were numerous immediately memorable moments of exquisitely beautiful playing in all three movements. I then returned to the Isserlis/Harding recording and tried to force myself to find anything I could cling to that would break the ice surrounding this rather controlled interpretation. The only redeeming quality I could find is the rather beautiful performance of the filler --Dvorak's earlier effort in his first cello concerto. Perhaps with the pressure off and almost no comparisons to work against, both soloist and conductor are far more relaxed and passionate. As for the featured work however, this was dissapointing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Precession on November 14, 2013
Steven Isserlis is an excellent cellist and plays this work energetically, but the orchestra here, though including many excellent solo wind players, is rather generalised in its approach. A performance Steven Isserlis gave in the Spanish Hall of Prague Castle some years ago can be seen and heard on youtube and can be recommended much more highly than this one - the orchestra is the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Jiří Bělohlávek. The Czech performance is licensed to BVA International and has an issue number (L-30) so presumably BVA will soon issue a video of it. Those who particularly want an Isserlis performance of the concerto on disc could wait for this.

The new CD includes an orchestrated version with cello solo of the song Dvořák drew on when writing the concerto and also the original more abrupt ending. These are certainly interesting, though the song arrangement is an extremely soupy one and a performance of the song itself might have been more appropriate.

The other performance on the new CD is a curiosity. The young German composer Gunter Raphael, about the same age as Dvořák was when he wrote an early unorchestrated cello concerto in the 1860s, decided to prepare a modernised version of the work when its manuscript was revealed to the world sixty years later in the 1920s. The journey to the twentieth century is a distinctly queasy one, and this seems to be the only recorded version of it. The information on the CD and booklet cover wrongly identifies the work as Dvořák B 10 - the note in the booklet, written by the soloist, makes it quite clear that this is a work based loosely on it. Raphael later became an accomplished composer, and suffered because of his half-Jewish parentage.
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