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Saint-saens: Cello Concerto No 2, Etc / Isserlis, Et Al

Release Date: 01/09/2001 
Label:  Rca Victor Red Seal Catalog #: 63518   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Steven IsserlisJoshua BellPascal Devoyon
Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Until now, only Torleif Thedéen's BIS account of Saint-Saëns' little-known Cello Concerto No. 2 (written in 1902) with the Tapiola Sinfonietta under Jean-Jacques Kantorow has done this work anything approaching justice. In Steven Isserlis, however, this Cinderella concerto finds a superbly committed exponent, capable of meeting its massive technical difficulties head on, and charismatic enough to convince entrenched nay-sayers of its actual, though oft-disputed merits. In many respects, it's a finer creation than its famous predecessor in A minor Op. 33; larger in overall concept (it comprises two main sections, each subdivided into two movements) and arguably of greater thematic nobility, the concerto remains largely unknown. Read more

It has been represented previously in the catalogues by just a handful of recordings, from Thedéen (BIS), Maria Kliegel (Naxos), and Dominique de Williencourt (Arion). Both Kliegel and de Williencourt alerted us to its possibilities in a pretty fragmentary and apologetic way. Thedéen took matters considerably further, assaying the piece in imposing style and showing confident disdain for its many difficulties. But Isserlis is alone in realizing the bravura and lyric potential of the concerto in more concrete terms. He's especially impressive in the cadenza and finale, and also brings touching introspection to the earlier slow movement. My shelves also turned up Ruggiero Ricci and Georges Mallach's old Turnabout recording of another piece of Saint-Saëns reliquary, La Muse et le Poète, premiered in 1910 by Eugene Ysayë and the dedicatee of the second cello concerto, Joseph Hollmann. Isserlis and violinist Joshua Bell accord it a rapturously beautiful performance, and this disc concludes with an equally defining version of the Cello Sonata No. 2 (1907), with Pascal Devoyon. [1/9/2001]
--Michael Jameson, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Cello no 2 in D minor, Op. 119 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Steven Isserlis (Cello)
Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; France 
La muse et le počte, Op. 132 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Steven Isserlis (Cello), Joshua Bell (Violin)
Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1910; France 
Romance for Horn and Piano in E major, Op. 67 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Steven Isserlis (Cello), Pascal Devoyon (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
Sonata for Cello and Piano no 2 in F major, Op. 123 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Pascal Devoyon (Piano), Steven Isserlis (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1905; France 

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