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Elgar, Dvorak: Cello Concertos / Fournier, Szell, Rosabud


Release Date: 09/30/2008 
Label:  Medici Masters   Catalog #: 28-2   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Sir Edward ElgarAntonín DvorákLudwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Pierre Fournier
Conductor:  George SzellHans Rosbaud
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



ELGAR Cello Concerto. 1 DVO?ÁK Cello Concerto No. 2. 2 BEETHOVEN 12 Variations on “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen” 3 Pierre Fournier (vc); Hans Rosbaud, cond; 1 George Szell, cond; 2 Franz Holetschek (pn); 3 Cologne Read more RSO 1,2 MEDICI ARTS 28, mono (72:40) Live: Cologne 3/7/1955; 1 11/16/1962; 2 4/6/1957 3


Tully Potter’s booklet notes call Pierre Fournier (1906–1986) “every woman’s dream of what a French musician should be.” The audible notes are better than that. Fournier conveys the meaning of Elgar’s first movement just as well as, or better than, anyone else, and Rosbaud’s accompaniment is excellent. The CD is worth the money as another precious example of this conductor’s art.


Fournier’s cello portrays a person humming a sad tune to himself, some source of distraction from a landscape of regret and recent nightmares, someone trying to make a tune play loud enough to drown out sorrow. The end of the work is very affecting here, but there are some slips along the way; the Allegro molto is a slight struggle, and the Adagio is a tad cool. I’d prefer this to Fournier’s DG studio recording, but not to André Navarra’s, made in the same era as these well-preserved and well-balanced Köln tapes, or to the recordings of another Gallic dream-cellist, Paul Tortelier, let alone the du Pré live versions.


The Beethoven Variations would make a better one-off demonstration of Fournier’s winning style and tone. It’s the kind of heart-easing relief you feel when you encounter an opera singer who always sings , never barks, and who is bang in tune, every note. Fournier has a sympathetic partner on the keys, and he’s lucky in the Dvo?ák too, where Szell dresses the war-horse with some degree of elegance and finesse. In the saddle, the cellist gives most of what you could ask for, though I think he gave still more when partnered with Celibidache (as did du Pré, and memorably). Fournier never drove this work off the emotional rails, in my hearing. I like the approach of early Starker or, again, Navarra: see if you can find Testament 1204, with both these concertos from Navarra. This recording of the Dvo?ák Adagio is special in its soulful musings, and it sounds more Elgarian than Fournier’s Elgar Adagio. The last couple of minutes have a quiet, comforting charm, with transfigured beauty in the cello’s high-reaching phrases, and deft interaction by the winds.


No one could make me truly love each note of the Dvo?ák’s outer movements, and I wish the composer had tailored his concerto to Elgar proportions. I’d rather hear a cello than any other instrument, but the traditional big concerto role doesn’t suit it. I’m pleased to have heard the sensitive first half of the Finale from these artists, and you do need to have one version by this cellist on the shelf. No need to dream of Pierre Fournier when you can hear him (and these fine conductors) for real.


FANFARE: Paul Ingram
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Cello in B minor, Op. 104/B 191 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Pierre Fournier (Cello)
Conductor:  George Szell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; USA 
Length: 35 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
2.
Variations (12) for Cello and Piano in F major on "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen", Op. 66 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Pierre Fournier (Cello)
Conductor:  Hans Rosbaud
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 11 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
3.
Concerto for Cello in E minor, Op. 85 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Pierre Fournier (Cello)
Conductor:  Hans Rosbaud
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1919; England 

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