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Cello Concerto (+ Bruch: Kol Nidrei, Bloch: Schelomo)

Pierre / Szell Fournier Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 4.31
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1. Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra in B Minor, Op. 104: 1. Allegro
2. Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra in B Minor, Op. 104: 2. Adagio ma non troppo
3. Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra in B Minor, Op. 104: 3. Finale. Allegro moderato
4. Hebraic Rhapsody For Violoncello And Orchestra: Schelomo - Pierre Fournier
5. Kol Nidrei, Op. 47, Adagio On Hebrew Melodies For Violoncello And Orchestra: Adagio ma non troppo - Un poco piu animato - Bruch

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Another legendary George Szell recording, this time partnering him with Pierre Fournier, the magnificent French cellist. At the very beginning of his career, Szell recorded this concerto in Prague with the Czech Philharmonic and none other than Pablo Casals. That recording, made around 1938, is still available. This stereo remake with the Berlin Philharmonic shows both artists at the very peak of their form. The the couplings, too, are uniquely appealing. That this compelling performance is available on DG's budget line underscores one of the great peculiarities of the classical music business. In case you haven't noticed, there is no relationship at all between quality of performance and price. So what are you waiting for? --David Hurwitz

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5.0 out of 5 stars beijingfox Dec 5 2003
Format:Audio CD
There are countless versions in the catalogue of this concerto (probably the most difficult solo cello part to play completely convincingly in the current popular repertoire - it's HARD!) and many play "very well"....Lyn Harrell, Paul Tortelier, Mistislav Rostropovich, Heinrich Schiff, but the overall picture and feel which MUST be portrayed beyond the notes is normally missing to a degree in these and certainly in almost all others (including Yo yo Ma, Jaqueline Du Pre and many many others eauuuch). The technical playing of Fournier is without question particularly authoritative and impressive (all cellists agree!) - the right hand/bowing phrasing is special in a way which is just unforgettable and rich in tone....and the left hand contact and articulation with the strings never less than brilliant and inspired - but beyond that, the romantic sweep, ultimate control and passionate throb of the playing on ALL 4 strings - even high on the fingerboard with the A string (and D) - is unmatched even after 40 years! If you really want to hear one of THE definitive concerto recordings of the gramophone catologue (up there with Josef Hoffman's Chopin concerto recordings) then this is it. You don't necessarily need to be a cellist to appreciate the sheer gifted and beautifully thought-out musical tapestry beyond the bounds of mere cello-playing which is represented in this deeply passionate, and unforgettable performance . It will be up there on your SPECIAL list. Play it LOUD!!!! Beijingfox@hotmail.com
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quality belies price April 17 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This recording of the Dvorak Cello Concerto is a performance in which the accompaniment is fully half of the equation. Szell gives the contrasting moods of the orchestral part a symphonic tautness. The cellist holds his own magnificently, fully matching Szell's electricity. The 1962 recording sounds amazingly good. Listen to the paired winds in the second movement theme to get a good idea of how transparent the sound is. The other two pieces are well done, too. The Bloch piece is remarkably atmospheric in spite of the soloist's close balance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic and Passionate June 20 2004
Format:Audio CD
Beijingfox2 and California music fan have just about covered the bases regarding this outstanding recording, but I wanted to add a few words from a different perspective. Listen to this CD without being involved in another activity. Turn down the lights. Allow yourself to be totally immersed in the music. All three pieces, but especially "Schelomo" are emotionally powerful, and will sweep you away.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality belies price April 17 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This recording of the Dvorak Cello Concerto is a performance in which the accompaniment is fully half of the equation. Szell gives the contrasting moods of the orchestral part a symphonic tautness. The cellist holds his own magnificently, fully matching Szell's electricity. The 1962 recording sounds amazingly good. Listen to the paired winds in the second movement theme to get a good idea of how transparent the sound is. The other two pieces are well done, too. The Bloch piece is remarkably atmospheric in spite of the soloist's close balance.
49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beijingfox Dec 5 2003
By "beijingfox2" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
There are countless versions in the catalogue of this concerto (probably the most difficult solo cello part to play completely convincingly in the current popular repertoire - it's HARD!) and many play "very well"....Lyn Harrell, Paul Tortelier, Mistislav Rostropovich, Heinrich Schiff, but the overall picture and feel which MUST be portrayed beyond the notes is normally missing to a degree in these and certainly in almost all others (including Yo yo Ma, Jaqueline Du Pre and many many others eauuuch). The technical playing of Fournier is without question particularly authoritative and impressive (all cellists agree!) - the right hand/bowing phrasing is special in a way which is just unforgettable and rich in tone....and the left hand contact and articulation with the strings never less than brilliant and inspired - but beyond that, the romantic sweep, ultimate control and passionate throb of the playing on ALL 4 strings - even high on the fingerboard with the A string (and D) - is unmatched even after 40 years! If you really want to hear one of THE definitive concerto recordings of the gramophone catologue (up there with Josef Hoffman's Chopin concerto recordings) then this is it. You don't necessarily need to be a cellist to appreciate the sheer gifted and beautifully thought-out musical tapestry beyond the bounds of mere cello-playing which is represented in this deeply passionate, and unforgettable performance . It will be up there on your SPECIAL list. Play it LOUD!!!! Beijingfox@hotmail.com
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For many, the definitive Dvorák Concerto Dec 18 2007
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Though the 'warhorse concerti' each have champions, there are few who would deny the elegance and passion that Pierre Fournier brought to this treasured Dvorák Cello Concerto in B minor. This recording is a true bargain at the current price and one that every lover of classical music should own. Fournier is accompanied by George Szell and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra here and the forces are formidable. The long orchestral introduction of the concerto builds climatically for the soulful entrance of the cello, and once Fournier begins to spin his magic, the ensemble and conductor meld cohesively into a performance that even on these recording standards of the time are breathtaking.

As a special bonus on this 'collected album' Fournier brings the soul of the Schelomo rhapsody of Bloch (the Berlin orchestra is conducted by Alfred Wallenstein this time) and the Bruch 'Kol Nidrei' with the compassionate forces of the Lamoureux Concert Association Orchestra under the baton of Jean Martinon behind him. These additional works provide a fine framework for the Dvorák and Fournier is in top form for each of them.

There may just be another contender for the spotlight for the Dvorák concerto (another besides the luminous presence of Yo-Yo Ma) in the emergence of a fine young cellist from Germany, Johannes Moser. At a recent concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, guest conducted by Zubin Mehta, Moser proved to be not only capable of the technical demands of the work, but also an artist with a gift for elegance and surety of line and phrase that brought the audience to its feet cheering. He is a talent to watch! Grady Harp, December 07
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfection and the Joy March 4 2012
By John K. Casey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Many recordings of the beloved cello concerto by Antonin Dvorak are currently available. Some are dominated by the soloist as he endeavors to cope with the fiendishly difficult part for his instrument. In others, the conductor is prevalent, handling an orchestral accompaniment that approaches the complexity of any of the symphonies from the pen of the composer. But for virtuosic cello playing and faultlessly sympathetic orchestral accompaniment from start to finish, only one recording offers perfection. The Pierre Fournier/George Szell rendition with the Berlin Philharmonic is that performance. In the near half century since the recording sessions for this disc were taped on the three days ending June 3, 1962 at Christ's Church in Berlin, no cellist or conductor has bested this reading when it comes to integrating the highly complex solo part with the equally challenging orchestral accompaniment.

Szell opens the exposition of the traditionally structured first movement with his customary x-ray vision into the inner voices of the material, bringing forth music that is both lyrical and muscular. The solo horn passage is particularly magnificent. From the first notes of his entrance, Fournier shows he is ready to go toe to toe, pressing out the opening motif with a songful flair. Yet this is no "match of the technocrats" where the beauty and the drama of this greatest of cello concertos are sacrificed to dry exactitude. This is a performance of sheer joy; the celebratory feel of it comes across to this day. This pervasive delight extends to the second movement, which can sound maudlin in lesser hands than those of Fournier, who endows every note with a shimmering vivacity. His tone rises like the élan of a young tenor's voice on a spring morning, set to take on every challenge, full of life's anticipation, as it blends lovingly with the counterpoint in Szell's woodwinds and strings. Soloist and conductor open the third movement briskly. Szell stirs the orchestra in a manner reminiscent of his recording of Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, a fitting counterpoint to the arching, wistful tone of Fournier's cello. His playing at the sorrow-laden coda is matched only by Yo Yo Ma, in his recording with Lorin Maazel.

I have no idea of the precise origin of the elation that so clearly manifests in this recording, this magically fresh telling of material that is otherwise so familiar as to be hackneyed. Perhaps the members of the Berlin Philharmonic, free for a moment from the tyranny of von Karajan, were delighted to have as a relief even such a notorious task-master as Szell on the podium. Perhaps Fournier had heard the recording of Szell's 1938 collaboration with Casals and knew he was in the best of hands. Maybe Szell was still giddy about a successful round of golf he had played the day before. As Mozart aficionados, perhaps they were both pleased to read in that week's issue of Time Magazine that the Glyndebourne Festival, begun in 1934 as the only privately owned opera company in England, dedicated primarily to Mozart's works, was still going strong (and remains so today, happily). For whatever reason, all of the forces involved in this recording assembled for three magic days and writ large a miracle that we can still savor today.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very personal account! Oct. 13 2004
By David Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The level of concentration throughout in this set of recordings is amazing...even though some may not know it, the Lamoreux orchestra is one of the very finest and it is the oldest orchestra in Paris. All of the recordings are top notch and are played with polish.

As a backgrounder, you may want to investigate the 1936 Casals/Szell coupling of the Dvorak on EMI! Wonderful in different ways!
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