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Dvorák: Cello Concerto; Dohnányi: Konzertstück

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Product Details

  • Performer: Wallfisch; London So; Mackerras
  • Composer: Dvorak; Dohnanyi;
  • Audio CD (Oct. 28 1992)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chn
  • ASIN: B000000AI7
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #234,484 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Concerto For Cello And Orchestra In B Minor, Op. 104: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 104: (Allegro)
2. Concerto For Cello And Orchestra In B Minor, Op. 104: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 104: Adagio, ma non troppo
3. Concerto For Cello And Orchestra In B Minor, Op. 104: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 104: Finale: Allegro moderato
4. Konzertstuck for Cello and Orchestra in D major, Op. 12: Konzertstuck for Cello and Orchestra in D major, Op. 12: Allegro non troppo
5. Konzertstuck for Cello and Orchestra in D major, Op. 12: Konzertstuck for Cello and Orchestra in D major, Op. 12: Adagio
6. Konzertstuck for Cello and Orchestra in D major, Op. 12: Konzertstuck for Cello and Orchestra in D major, Op. 12: Tempo I

Product Description

Dvorak's Cello Concerto is simply the best one ever written. In fact, there is no other area of the concerto repertoire that is so dominated by a single work. Brahms loved it, and every cellist that ever lived to make a record has recorded it--or tried to. It's also so well written that it's actually pretty hard to do badly, though some have managed, of course. Charles Mackerras was a student in Prague of the great Czech conductor Vaclav Talich, and he conducts Czech music as well as anyone alive. Rafael Wallfisch is a superb cellist who realizes, more than most, that his performance must sound like the ultimate cello and orchestra experience. It certainly does. --David Hurwitz

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good Dvorak, brilliant Dohnanyi Aug. 31 2013
By Jurgen Lawrenz - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Dvorak has been recorded by every great, and dozens of competent cellists, orchestras and conductors. Wallfisch is not my idea of a great cellist. Neither is Mackerras, as a conductor (despite being my countryman). This is admitting that in some kinds of repertoire, they bring outstanding insights into their work. Mackerras might qualify as the outstanding Janacek interpreter of recent times; and Wallfisch has done notable work with English cello music. The disparity I've alluded to runs right through the middle of this album.
Dvorak's orchestra is well served by Mackerras, and exceptionally well recorded. Despite his affinities for Janacek, I do not find a matching affinity for Dvorak. Mackerras is highly competent in the technical aspect of the music; but his rhythms tend to be hard, his general approach is brassy and he overloads climaxes. The cellist has, by comparison, a rather soft-grained tone and at times he struggles to make himself heard in the more boisterous passages. Wallfisch excels in the presentations of the melodious episodes rather more than in the strenuous, virtuosic passages. I'm not suggesting that this is a performance that cannot stand up to the competition in the middle of the roster of recordings; but one could scarcely say it reaches for the stars in the way that Rostropovich can do. Nor is it deeply and emotionally committed as e.g. Piatigorsky; nor does it have the gutsy bravura of Tortelier, to name just a few artists whose names figure in the upper echelons of Dvorak readings of more recent times. It is wholly satisfactory, nevertheless; and if (like me) you collect recordings of great music for many perspectives, this will do very well - even if, perhaps, only for the occasional audition that helps put the truly great readings into their own class!
Matters are different with the Dohnanyi concerto. This has not been well served by the recording industry. For years, Starker's EMI recording held the field, even though it had cuts that made a mess of the work (and if I remember rightly, the sleeve notes did not inform you that it was truncated). Starker re-recorded the work a few years ago in Seattle: a very good, though hardly brilliant issue. This is where Wallfisch and Mackerras really score. They rise to the challenge of putting at last an outstanding recording on the map; and the brilliant sound also helps. Maybe the work is not of the highest calibre; but it is tuneful, brilliant and dramatic in its own right - somewhat reminiscent of d'Albert's concerto, which is also rarely performed for no good reason at all.
Much will depend on the coupling, of course. But I suggest to you that this album is almost worth buying for the Dohnanyi alone. That's how I see it: and I take the Dvorak as the "fill-up", rather than the other way around. But this is a decision only you can make for yourself!
The best digital recording of this music Oct. 3 2015
By Stanley Crowe - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I own three digital recordings of the Dvorak Cello Concerto, and this is the most satisfactory one. The solo playing on the others is fine -- Weilerstein with Belohlavek, and Ma with Masur -- but the combination of Wallfisch, Mackerras, and Chandos's engineering carry the day. Ma plays beautifully, but as often with him, in my judgment, the effect is mellow, and this is a piece of music of deep pathos, if not tragedy. Masur and the NYPO sound good, but the movement is not particularly propulsive. In Weilerstein's case, the engineering is the problem. Her rich, warm sound is foregrounded in the aural picture (and very well caught by the recording), and her interactions with the winds and brass are also spotlit and, again, sound great, but the listener's attention is directed away from the forward movement of the music as a whole and leaves us savoring the details. Wallfisch has a leaner, grainier tone than either Ma or Weilerstein, but that sounds right for the way he phrases here, and he is very well balanced with the orchestra, the LSO, which Mackerras pushes to very forward-moving and eloquently inflected phrasing. His feel for dynamic adjustment -- the outburst in the soulful second movement is harrowing -- and tempo modification is impeccable, and he and Wallfisch seem to be in total accord about what this music is getting at. It's a very moving account.

There's an excellent and substantial filler too -- the Dohnanyi Konzertstuck, which I wasn't familiar with and am very glad to have in such a well-played and good-sounding performance. There are other Dvorak Cello Concerto recordings that I like from the pre-digital era -- Rostropovich with Karajan is justly famous, and Lynn Harrell has a lovely account with Levine. I'm particularly fond of Heinrich Schiff's account, with Colin Davis, but the sound on Wallfisch/Mackerras is even better, and the performance certainly isn't inferior. Great music, great performances!
One of the best versions of this fine concerto but now remastered and cheaper Oct. 28 2013
By I. Giles - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This disc, very well recorded in 1988, has now been remastered using 24 bit technology and issued at a lower price. The recording has been a valued part of my collection since 1989 and offers one of the freshest and most rewarding versions of the Dvorak concerto.
The sound that Chandos has provided has a marked freshness that is totally appropriate. The balance between the soloist and the orchestra seems ideal and allows the listener to follow both elements of the music without artificial highlighting. Mackerras brings an additional authority to the conducting with his known interest in Czech music.

The performance itself offers both a lively and a sensitive performance with plenty of dialogue between soloist and orchestra. The style is more openly natural in expression and does not offer the sort of subtlety that can be experienced in a Rostropovich performance for example. This has more the sense of freshness that one can also hear in the disc by Harrell and Ashkenazy, another fine offering.

The Dohnanyi is an interesting additional item of some substance. Dohnanyi was a popular composer during his lifetime and was a skilled orchestrator of his music. Those skills are apparent here but this piece is nowhere near as memorable as the very successful Variations on a Nursery Theme for which he is now chiefly remembered. It is clearly not in the same class of inspiration as the Dvorak, one of the best concertos for the cello ever written - some would say THE best!

This is a very fine disc indeed even without considering the Dohnanyi. I would suggest that it deserves to be given the most serious consideration by potential purchasers either as an alternative version for multiple collectors or as a single version of the Dvorak.
Like the cello? Then this is for you! July 21 2015
By Dick Buckley - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I've always been particularly partial to the cello. Mstislav Rostropovich introduced me to the instrument many years ago. He and Jacquelline Du-Pre have always been my favorites with Yo Yo Ma being a close third. After listening intently to this recording for a few times, I may have to introduce Raphael Wallfisch into the running. His work on both of these pieces is nothing short of amazing! Of course,it goes without saying that both of these works, written by two geniuses, Dvorak and Dohnanyi, bring out the best in any ultra-talented cellist. Still, I am deeply impressed by Wallfisch's command of the instrument.

Sir Charles Mackerras is best recognized for his work on pieces by Handel and Mozart, but his direction of the wonderful London Symphony Orchestra on these offerings is flawless.

This CD, issued in 1988, is not easily found, but if you enjoy the cello and wish to be treated to the work of Wallisch, Mackerras and the London Symphony Orchestra, it will be well worht the time hunting for it You won't be disappointed.