Weilerstein's Dvorak

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Weilerstein's Dvorak

From the "Artist of the Year" blog I bought Iestyn Davies's Handel Oratorio Arias (wonderful), and Alisa Weilestein's Dvorak, the latter because I was so impressed with her recent Elgar, and the video clip was a tempting taster.  I found the whole package delightful. Belohlavek and the Czech Phil giving, to my ears, a most energetic and dynamic framing to Weilerstein's playing, the cello at turns sparks flying and achingly sensitive.  I let out a "wow" at the close.  I don't have a lot to hand to compare her performance but I found it thoroughly satisfying and enjoyable.  I would be interested in what others with more knowledge of other interpretations think of this disc. 

Since nobody seems either to

Since nobody seems either to listen or "like" it enough, allow me, Vic, to say that I can understand your excitement, although I may not share it, to the same extent.

This Concerto, the greatest of all the Cello Concertos (it has the most impressive and demanding orchestration and the most idiomatic -while retaining the musicality of the composition- writing for the instrument) belongs to the unique Rostropovich. He got all the nuances, the gorgeous sound, the immaculate and refined technique, while he enjoyed to have recorded it quite a few times with some of the best orchestras and conductors. After him, Tortelier, Fournier, even Du Pre (from the old generation) gave us some memorable recordings.

However, one of the most impressive modern accounts of the work has been given by Wispelwey and Fischer, on Channel (in a most impressive SACD format). Isserlis, on Hyperion, sounds less impressive, as for the recording, but more musical and mature than the otherwise very good and youthful Alisa.

Likewise, her Elgar, for all the virtues and good aspects of her performance, cannot possibly reach the level of Du Pre (Elgar's was her Concerto).

Having said that, one has to welcome an artist who seems so committed to her art and, if she sustains this virtue with consistency, she may create her own legacy...in the long run. We'll see...

Parla

Alisa Weilerstein

I have the overall impression that sentimentality can often blur our perspectives, never the less my go to Dvorak is a London (or DECCA) microgroove pressing of Fournier and Kubelik with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

I've yet to hear the Alisa Weilerstein Dvorak however I did attend a performance where she played the first Haydn Cello Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and she was too good for words. She's also a MacArthur prize recipient and I'm willing to assume that it was well deserved.

I'm a little hesitant about hearing her play on a recording for fear of making comparisons to that live experiece that I had but eventually I'll cave in and order the CD.

 

 

goofyfoot

There's a very positive

There's a very positive review in the latest BBC Music mag.

I must listen to this as it

I must listen to this as it is a work that I have great affection for.  Will seek it out and report back when I have heard it.

Live or in Studio?

I have to admit that I'm becoming rather disenchanted with studio recordings altogether. I may get to a place where I'll only commit to purchasing live recordings. It's bad enough that anything live via the radio airwaves is prerecorded (insuring decorum, etc...). Give me the mistakes, the accelerando of tempo and the unnecessary coughing for the excitement and spontaneity of a true live recording any day.

 

Would someone please recommend labels that specialize in authentic live recorded performances? Or if someone might please recommend their personal favorite live performance/s? I know that I’m straying from the topic Vic and please forgive me but I'm wondering if live and authentic recordings (which were common in the 1940's and 50's) aren't now an antiquated bygone thing of long ago?

Thanks!

goofyfoot

Generally speaking, the

Generally speaking, the Anglophone press is quite positive about the rather young Alisa (few "debut" recordings passed completely unnoticed though), particularly after Decca was involved in her last two recordings. However, in the Francophone and German press, her two Decca discs have been received, let's say, with less excitement or enthusiasm.

In any case, we will see her in more core repertory in the future, I trust (I have to listen to her Beethoven Cello Sonatas, if she ever embark on them).

Parla

"Live" recordings.

The recording of Wispelwey/Fischer (in SACD, on Channel) I referred to in my first post in this therad is a "live" one as well. I believe from the recent ones this one is a very impressive, almost unique performance, captured as good as it can possibly gets on record. Both soloist, orchestra and the conductor provide the great qualities of this work in the most realistic way one can expect from playback (of course, always depending on the equipment and listening space one uses).

Another cellist the Americans (at least) tried to promote and I prefer (to a great extent) is Zuil Bailey. His recordings so far (including the Beethoven Sonatas) sound quite impressive, if not convincing. His Dvorak's Cello Concerto is also a "live" recording (the sound is quite detailed and with the appropriate dynamics though) ,but with the less impressive Indianapolis S.O. under the good conductor Jun Markl (on Telarc).

Parla

Dvorak Cello Concerto

Thanks for the recommendation Parla. And I thought Channel Classics was a budget lable but apparently not when it pertains to their hybrid/SACD's.

I know that Dvorak was a favorite of my grandfather' as he played (cello) the Dvorak piano trios in public. Unfortuntely there's no recording of this.

goofyfoot

I've just had a first listen

I've just had a first listen to the Weilerstein recording and whilst I think there are some beautiful things both in her playing and that of the orchestra, it just doesn't capture my attention as much as Lyn Harrell's recording under Maazel on Decca.  I'm not totally sure what the cause of this is, but whereas Harrell keeps me literally spellbound for the entire duration of the concerto, I feel more able to take or leave Weilerstein's reading.  I will give it more listens but I think I will be sticking with the Harrell recording as my go-to.

 

Rostropovich

There appears to be a good number of Rostropovich recordings still in print with him playing the Dvorak. I'd make the assumption that there will be additional recordings from speciality labels like Music & Arts of America, etc... in the not too distant future.

I'd be eager to purchase the BBC Legends recording if it were given greater attention. And honestly, I've never been a great fan of Rostropovich being that I always had the sense that he promoted himself to the point of exaggeration. Of course he was a great musician but many of his recordings aren't.

It seems that besides Rostropovich, the great cellists of the past to choose from when it comes to the Dvorak Concerto are DuPre, Fournier, Feuermann and Tortelier, or am I oversimplifying this? What are some great but not so common recordings from that 'Golden Age' when a soloist's name was sometimes bigger than the orchestras they'd play with? 

goofyfoot

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