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The Romantic Cello Concerto 2 / Gerhardt, Lintu, Et Al


Release Date: 03/20/2007 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67583   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Robert SchumannRobert VolkmannFriedrich GernsheimAlbert Dietrich
Performer:  Alban Gerhardt
Conductor:  Hannu Lintu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



THE ROMANTIC CELLO CONCERTO—2 Alban Gerhardt (vc); Hannu Lintu, cond; Berlin RSO HYPERION 67583 (73:43)


VOLKMANN Cello Concerto in a. DIETRICH Cello Concerto in g. GERNSHEIM Cello Concerto in e. SCHUMANN Cello Concerto in a


The first volume in this series—featuring Read more exceptional performances of more-or-less neglected works by d’Albert, Dohnányi, and Enescu—was justly praised by Richard A. Kaplan in 29:4. Now Gerhardt returns with the second installment; and if the effect is not quite so revelatory, the fault lies not with the cellist—who plays with the same winning combination of the nimble and the ardent throughout—but with the repertoire, which (the Schumann excepted) has earned its obscurity honestly.


I don’t mean to suggest that this is in any way slapdash or awkward music. On the contrary, Dietrich (best remembered for his contribution to the Violin Sonata he composed with Brahms and Schumann to honor Joachim), Gernsheim, and especially Volkmann all write idiomatically for the instrument, turning out concertos with plenty of opportunity for both lyricism and for virtuoso display. Still, it would be hard to find much evidence of emotional depth here: despite the prevalence of minor keys, there’s little romantic Angst or self-exploration, even in the Gernsheim, composed in 1906, when Strauss was working on Elektra and Mahler premiering his Sixth Symphony. It would be harder still to find much evidence of originality or even of the composers’ attempts to stretch themselves: the music is all harmonically and rhythmically conservative, melodically unmemorable, and orchestrated in a fairly utilitarian manner. There is a half-century spread here (the Volkmann was composed in the early 1850s)—but all three concertos share much the same unchallenging aesthetic.


Still, while it rarely startles, the music is unfailingly attractive, especially in these delightful performances, which refuse to milk the slow passages and refuse to wring more from the climaxes than they have to offer. Certainly, the Volkmann—both the most engaging and the most virtuosic of the three—sounds far more winsome here than it does, say, in the more heavy-breathing performance by Jörg Baumann (Schwann Musica Mundi 11628). As for the Schumann: if you like this Concerto played as a Big Statement in the manner of, say, Du Pré or Rostropovich, you may find Gerhardt too brisk and lightweight; but if, like me, you’ve always found this one of Schumann’s most viscous works, you may well prefer this unpretentious approach, which clarifies the textures and sharpens the motivic profile. Sound is good throughout, and Calum MacDonald’s notes are informative. Warmly recommended to those with large collections.


FANFARE: Peter J. Rabinowitz
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Cello in A minor, Op. 129 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Alban Gerhardt (Cello)
Conductor:  Hannu Lintu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1850; Germany 
2. Concerto for Cello in A minor, Op. 33 by Robert Volkmann
Performer:  Alban Gerhardt (Cello)
Conductor:  Hannu Lintu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Germany 
3. Concerto for Cello in E minor, Op. 78 by Friedrich Gernsheim
Performer:  Alban Gerhardt (Cello)
Conductor:  Hannu Lintu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
4. Concerto for Cello in G minor, Op. 32 by Albert Dietrich
Performer:  Alban Gerhardt (Cello)
Conductor:  Hannu Lintu
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra

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