The main works on this disc, cello concertos in all but name, do not seem to receive the attention that Prokofiev's other concertos do. Judging by these performances, they should be just as celebrated as their more famous piano and violin siblings.
The 39 minute Symphony-Concerto in e is the weightier and more turbulent of the two "concertos". There is a very short orchestral intro before the cello comes flying in with those trademark motoric Prokofiev rhythms. The cello is pushed to its limits throughout the work, and Alexander Rudin's athletic, virtuoso playing and strong, pure tone add up to a great performance. The orchestral scoring is vintage mature Prokofiev - combining angular rhythms and crisp orchestration with a soulful, lyrical Russian heart.
The 19 minute Concertino in g is more reserved and direct, but still full of great tunes; the opening melody is particularly memorable.
The Two Pushkin Waltzes seem like odd filler for a disc of music for cello and orchestra. Luckily, the two 4 minute works turn out to be neglected gems. The first waltz, in F, is colorful and playful while the second, in c#, is more reserved and melancholy. The theme of the second is one of Prokofiev's most haunting moments of Russian lyricism.
The cello works were written for Rostropovich, and there are recordings of him performing these works that you will probably want to check out, but the superbly recorded performances here may very well be better.