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Dvorak: Oeuvres Pour Violoncelle Et Orchestre

Dvorak / Dobinsky / Bfo / Sondeckis
Release Date: 04/26/2011 
Label:  Doron Music   Catalog #: 3055   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Mark Drobinsky
Conductor:  Saulius Sondeckis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltic Festival Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



DVO?ÁK Cello Concerto. Silent Woods . Rondo in g. Polonaise in A Mark Drobinsky (vc); Saulius Sondeckis, cond; Baltic Fest O DORON DRC 3055 (66:08)


This performance of Dvo?ák’s Cello Concerto illustrates a fascinating phenomenon: Performances of the standard repertoire have gotten slower and slower over the decades. Here are the dates and timings of some noted recordings, leading up to this one:


Read more Emanuel Feuermann, Michael Taube 33:26 (12:06; 10:33; 10:31)


1937 Pablo Casals, George Szell 35:42


1940 Emanuel Feuermann, Leon Barzin 35:45


1944 Maurice Gendron, Willem Mengelberg 37:50


1952 Mstislav Rostropovich, Václav Talich 39:20


1960 Gregor Piatigorsky, Charles Munch 42:03


1986 Yo-Yo Ma, Lorin Maazel 42:05


1998 Mark Drobinsky, Saulius Sondeckis 43:00 (16:42; 13:12; 13:06)


(Yes, this is a 1998 recording.) I admit to pulling my punches, omitting a few that do not fit the curve: János Starker’s three recordings tend to be faster than their contemporaries, and there are innumerable Rostropovich performances to choose from. I like the 2004 Sony recording by Jan Vogler with David Robertson and the New York Philharmonic (39:09) because they put some verve back into the music. Feuermann/Taube sounds ridiculously fast to today’s ears, and Drobinsky/Sondeckis just the opposite; they are the extremes in every movement, as shown. The slow tempos are due more to the conductor than the soloist; one can hear that they are sometimes at odds (at one moment in the finale, they reverse their positions). This is often the case: Mengelberg begins with bracing speed, but Gendron applies the brakes (or is it Paul Tortelier? Nobody can be sure which of the Paris Radio Orchestra’s cellists played the solo part that day).


Tempos aside, this is a wildly romantic performance, with swinging strings and colorful winds. Climaxes are immense, supported by a lush recording in a reverberant acoustic (National Philharmonic Hall in Vilnius, Lithuania). The orchestra plays well, but there are one or two moments when things go awry: Flute chirps at bar 120 (5:36) of the opening Allegro scream like a police whistle, and one brief passage in the finale is loosely played. I like the orchestral introduction despite the tempo, as it is so impassioned. Drobinsky plays a soft, warm cello by Carlo Giuseppe Testore, producing mellifluous tones and convincing phrasings. His intonation slips a bit in the finale (if this is a live performance, we are not told), but—after Feuermann—no one is technically perfect in this work, probably because the cellist has to go all-out for so long.


Let’s not argue about a “Complete Works for Cello and Orchestra” claim. The Polonaise, written for cello and piano in 1879, was orchestrated by someone else (Boris Traubus), but so was Dvo?ák’s First Cello Concerto. The fillers are appropriate and winning, with performances along the same lines as that of the main event. The cello is recorded up even closer than in the concerto, which suits all three works. If you like Dvo?ák’s concerto slow yet impassioned and are not too finicky about technical perfection, you would do well to add this disc to your collection.


FANFARE: James H. North
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Cello in B minor, Op. 104/B 191 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Mark Drobinsky (Cello)
Conductor:  Saulius Sondeckis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltic Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; USA 
Date of Recording: 1998 
Venue:  National Philharmonic Hall, Vilnius 
Length: 43 Minutes 0 Secs. 
2. From the Bohemian forest, Op. 68/B 133: no 5, Silent Woods by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Mark Drobinsky (Cello)
Conductor:  Saulius Sondeckis
Period: Romantic 
Written: Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 1998 
Venue:  National Philharmonic Hall, Vilnius 
Length: 7 Minutes 29 Secs. 
3. Rondo for Cello and Orchestra in G minor, Op. 94 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Mark Drobinsky (Cello)
Conductor:  Saulius Sondeckis
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 1998 
Venue:  National Philharmonic Hall, Vilnius 
Length: 7 Minutes 36 Secs. 
4. Polonaise for Cello and Piano in A major, B 94 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Mark Drobinsky (Cello)
Conductor:  Saulius Sondeckis
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1879; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 1998 
Venue:  National Philharmonic Hall, Vilnius 
Length: 8 Minutes 22 Secs. 

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