Notes and Editorial Reviews
At the piano this time, Barenboim’s tempo fluctuations have greater shape and specificity, helped by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s clear support.
You cannot deny the big-boned exuberance and animal energy Jacqueline du Pré brings to the Schumann Cello Concerto. Subtle she ain’t. Abetted by Daniel Barenboim’s indulgent baton, the cellist stretches the slow movement’s lyrical phrases to the point where the music’s rhythmic center dissipates (this doesn’t happen in her equally impassioned live collaboration with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic). Notice, too, how her high notes often vibrate into microtonal regions around the written pitch, and how the 16th-note orchestral tuttis in the last movement
are soggy and not well defined compared to the disciplined, elegant Starker/Giulini edition or the comparably freewheeling Rostropovich/Bernstein.
While the works for piano and orchestra have less dynamic heft and resonant warmth from a sonic standpoint (the piano is dryly miked and overly prominent in the mix), they offer more musical satisfaction. At the piano this time, Barenboim’s tempo fluctuations have greater shape and specificity, helped by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s clear support. Barenboim admirably projects the concerto Finale’s rapid, spinning patterns as viable melodies and generally plays with more intimacy and refinement than in his live encounter with Celibidache from many years later. For sheer power and textural diversity, however, I’d choose Serkin or Ashkenazy for both works, while the gorgeously detailed and poetic Moravec remains my top Schumann Piano Concerto recording recommendation from the 1970s (not that it’s exactly been surpassed!).
- Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Concerto for Cello in A minor, Op. 129 by Robert Schumann
Jacqueline Du Pré (Cello)
New Philharmonia Orchestra
Written: 1850; Germany
Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 54 by Robert Schumann
Daniel Barenboim (Piano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1841-1845; Germany
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