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   Cello Concertos

Concerto Premieres

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Caprice CAP21644

Per Gunnar Fredrik de Frumerie
(1908-1987)

Cello Concerto, Op. 81 (1984)
Violin Concerto, Op. 19 (1976)
13 Symphonic Variations, Op. 25 (1941)

Mats Lindström, cello
Tobias Ringborg, violin
Norrköping Symphony Orchestra/Lü Jia
Caprice CAP21644

Often compared to Lars-Erik Larsson or Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, the Swede Gunnar de Frumerie took up the Romantic baton from countrymen Hugo Alfvén and Ture Rangström. The works on this disc are at times modern sounding, but with gentle orchestrations that are never congested. The symphonic variations, especially, display Frumerie's command of orchestral colors. The concertos are virtuosic, without being aggressive.

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Stanford Concertos

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Lyrita SRCD321

Charles Villiers Stanford
(1852-1924)

Cello Concerto in D minor (1879-80)
Piano Concerto #3 in E Flat Major, Op. 171 (1919)

Alexander Baillie, cello
Malcolm Binns, piano
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Nicholas Braithwaite
Lyrita SRCD321 65:23

The Irish composer Stanford had considerable influence on the course of music in England. These concertos are among his least-known works. The cello concerto is quite lush and rhapsodic while the piano concerto sounds more French, inviting comparison with the Saint-Saëns concertos. The first two piano concertos are available from Hyperion (CDA66820) and Chandos (CHAN8736).

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Rich Harmonies and Languorous Melodies

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Chandos CHAN10452

Cyril Scott
(1879-1970)

Cello Concerto (1937)
Symphony #1 (1899)

Paul Watkins, cello
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins
Chandos CHAN10452 58:04

Some will have encountered Scott's piano music but only in recent years has much of his orchestral output been recorded. The lyrical and attractive cello concerto contrasts well with the effervescent first symphony, which sounds much like Stanford. Chandos has recorded the other three symphonies – the second in its reworking as Three Dances – his two concertos for piano, the violin concerto and some short orchestral works.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Master of Orchestral Texture

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Timpani 1C1125

Vincent d'Indy
(1851-1931)

Symphony #1 "Italian" in A Major (1870-72)
Concerto in E Flat Major for Piano, Flute, Cello & Strings, Op. 89 (1926)

Brigitte Engerer, piano
Magali Mosnier, flute
Marc Coppey, cello
Orchestre de Bretagne/Lionel Bringuier
Timpani 1C1125 63:44

These works, the first and last orchestral works d'Indy wrote, are in different ways, hommages. Although his main musical sympathies lay elsewhere, a sojourn in Italy inspired the young composer to write a Symphonie italienne using Rome, Florence, Venice and Naples as the basis for the four movements in which the influence and model of Mendelssohn's Italian symphony are inescapable. At one point, I'm reminded incongruously of Randall Thompson's third symphony!

The concerto at first evokes J.S. Bach and eventually becomes a sort of neo-classical concerto grosso. This rarely-recorded music helps to round out our knowledge of the composer who to many would perhaps be known only by his Symphony on a French Mountain Air (Symphonie sur un chant montagnard français).

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Little-Known Prokofieff

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Naxos 8.553624

Serge Prokofieff
(1891-1953)

Symphony-Concerto in E minor for Cello & Orchestra, Op. 125 (1950-51)
Concertino in G minor for Cello & Orchestra, Op. 132 (1952)
Two Pushkin Waltzes, Op. 120 (1949)

Alexander Rudin, cello
National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine/Theodore Kuchar
Naxos 8.553624 67:23

Although Prokofieff's concertos for violin and for piano are staples of the repertoire, his works for cello and orchestra are less well-known and infrequently recorded. The Symphony-Concerto is a reworking of his Cello Concerto, and requires considerable virtuosity of the soloist over its nearly 40-minute duration.

The Concertino is Prokofieff in more whimsical mood, reminiscent of Cinderella. Rudin acquits himself well as does the orchestra, although the timpanist is a tad too enthusiastic occasionally. The waltzes are charming makeweights.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Dvořák Off The Beaten Path

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Naxos 8.557352

Antonín Dvořák
(1841-1904)

Mazurka for Violin & Orchestra
Rondo for Cello & Orchestra
Seven Interludes for Small Orchestra
Silent Woods for Cello & Orchestra
Polonaise in E Flat Major
Nocturne in B Major
American Suite
Five Prague Waltzes
Polka in B Flat Major

Dmitry Yablonsky, cello
Alexander Trostianski, violin
Russian Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitry Yablonsky
Naxos 8.557352 78:42

This is a generous collection of some of Dvořák's shorter pieces, some of which do not lack other recordings. The American Suite is not as well-known as the Czech Suite, but certainly deserves to be. The real rarity is the Seven Interludes, which run about 23 minutes, and give some pointers towards his early symphonies. A very useful compendium.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Latvian Cello Concertos

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cpo 777263

Carl Davidov
(1838-1889)

Cello Concerto #1 in B minor, Op. 5
Cello Concerto #2 in A minor, Op. 14
Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33

Wen-Sinn Yang, cello
Latvian National Symphony Orchestra/Terje Mikkelsen
cpo 777263-2 65:23soloist
orchestra
label

These two amiable concertos by the Latvian Davidov make a pleasant change from the usual cello concerto suspects and provide more evidence of interesting composers from the Baltic countries. The inclusion of the Tchaikovsky warhorse is not a disincentive as it's a well-played version, but the main interest is in the two concertos.

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[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus ]
Trumpet