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Shostakovich: Cello Concerto; Kodály / Wispelwey, Et Al

Release Date: 02/08/2000 
Label:  Channel Classics   Catalog #: 15398   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Dmitri ShostakovichZoltán Kodály
Performer:  Darryl PoulsenPieter Wispelwey
Conductor:  Richard Tognetti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Australian Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Pieter Wispelwey certainly ranks among today's finest cellists. His recordings for Channel Classics have been uniformly outstanding, due both to the label's own high quality standards as well as to the care with which Wispelwey chooses his collaborators. Sometimes, as here, artistic (and perhaps financial) considerations result in peculiar couplings; but when the performances themselves are so extraordinary it's silly to complain.

I have no hesitation in recommending this recording of the Shostakovich First Cello Concerto as the finest since Rostropovich's pioneering 1959 recording, supervised by the composer himself, with the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy (and not
Read more Szell, as Wispelwey himself mistakenly asserts in his booklet notes). The first movement has an almost hysterical nervous tension, aided in no small degree by some sensational playing by the Australian Chamber Orchestra. The screaming winds, rock solid timpani, and brassy, almost raucous solo horn proclaim a true Shostakovich sound--not conventionally "pretty", but so totally right for this music. The slow movement offers a bittersweet lyricism that's never static, the gentle interweaving of solo, strings, and winds casting a powerful spell. Wispelwey saves his most poetic work for the long cadenza, a magnificently sustained piece of playing that works itself up by imperceptible degrees to a truly frenzied finale.

Kodály's solo sonata is a monster of a piece, more than half an hour long, in three huge movements. In this tour-de-force of virtuoso string writing Wispelwey surmounts the horrendous difficulties with the same aplomb he brings to the Shostakovich. His musical intensity carries us through the long central slow movement in what seems like moments rather than nearly 13 minutes, and he manages the marathon finale with no sense of strain at all. He's also extremely well recorded--perfectly balanced against the chamber orchestra in the Shostakovich, the acoustic properly dry, while the Kodály has a greater degree of warmth and resonance. In short: a magnificent disc by any standard, weird coupling be damned. [4/4/2000]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Cello no 1 in E flat major, Op. 107 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer:  Darryl Poulsen (French Horn), Pieter Wispelwey (Cello)
Conductor:  Richard Tognetti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Australian Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; USSR 
Date of Recording: 08/1999 
Venue:  Goossens Hall, ABC Ultimo Center, Sydney 
Length: 28 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Sonata for Cello solo, Op. 8 by Zoltán Kodály
Performer:  Pieter Wispelwey (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; Hungary 
Date of Recording: 08/1999 
Venue:  Goossens Hall, ABC Ultimo Center, Sydney 
Length: 32 Minutes 54 Secs. 

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