Pieter Wispelwey and his gut-string cello partner for a second time with Paolo Giacometti in a programme of Chopin and Mendelssohn. But there is a another great musical figure on this disc – the cellist and composer Karl Davidoff, who studied with Moscheles and Mendelssohn’s violinist and composer friend Ferdinand David. Davidoff’s brilliant arrangements of the Chopin Waltzes Op. 64 form a sparkling interlude between Mendelssohn’s brilliant 2nd sonata, and Chopin’s late and great sonata for cello and piano.
…Wispelwey plays an English instrument by Barak Norman (1710) whose bright, immediate timbre is a welcome asset in these sonatas. An involving issue, enhanced by discreetly balanced and mercifully uncoloured recorded sound.
…This release joins the elite of great recordings, performances that will likely to be enjoyed for as long as music endures. (…) If you think Vivaldi a bore, try this and experience conversion.
The compositions on this CD encompass an entire century; all of them are French. Of course, they do not represent the entire range of a century of French cello music, but on the other hand they are all completely un-German! I thought that it would be a good idea to offer the listener of the late 1990s a sort of double upbeat for the masterly Chopin Sonata, in this way arriving at the 1840s by means of two successive steps. The Poulenc Sonata, although dating from 1948, is more a reflection of the Paris of the 1920s anti-aesthetic decadence and coolly presented cabaret-style sentiment. The work is remarkable for its refined surrealism, tinged with an intriguing hint of Catholic irony and seduction in the slow movement, and the moments in the last movement where the energy, for the first time, acquires a sarcastic tint, succeeded by an even more macabre quality which evokes Prokofiev…..
- Pieter Wispelwey
After a highly acclaimed recording of Briten’s Cello Symphony (ONYX4058) Pieter Wispelwey and the Flanders Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Seiko Kim, turn to two romantic cello concertos whose neglect is hard to fathom. Lalo, unusually for a French composer in the mid 19th century, was drawn to chamber music, and formed a string quartet (in which he played viola, and later second violin) that championed the works of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. His passion for chamber music developed to embrace large scale orchestral works – two violin concertos, the famous 'Symphonie espagnole' for violin and orchestra, a symphony in G minor, the Piano Concerto and the concerto recorded here: the Cello concerto in D minor of 1877.
The "Concerto grosso" was eminently popular in Europe at the beginning of the 18th century, Arcangelo Corelli having set the trend with his Opus 6 published around 1710, but probably written much earlier. The main attraction seems to have been the possibilities opened up by having two groups of musicians in dialogue with one another.