Bought in September 2015.
First listen: 8-10-2015.
Second listen: 14-11-2016.
Recording dates: March 2009.
Recording venue: Grosser Sendesaal NDR, Hannover, Germany.
Recording engineer: Martin Lohmann.
Running time: 68:53.
Classical relevance: Essential.
Cello Concertos No 1, opus 49 in G minor.
Cello concerto No. 2, opus 77 in C minor.
Colas Breugnon Suite, opus 24 a.
Torleif Thedeen, Cello.
NDR Radiophilharmonie, Hannover, Eiji Oue.
(conductor in opus 24a is Adrian Prabava)
I always had a weakness for these concertos. Wonderfully melancholy. The second movement is quite a moving experience, and so easily flowing into this bouncy Allegretto, in which short melodies fight with each other for supremacy. Intensely romantic by nature, charming your socks off, and will please any ear on this globe.
The second concerto is a different kettle of fish altogether. The intensely dark intro of the this work, brooding, smouldering, and finding the deepest recesses in your soul, makes your heart almost stop. That is quite an impact. The plucked strings add an almost uncanny feeling of doom and despair that I did not encounter before with Kabalevsky. There are some attempts in the writing of the cello to get out of this desperate and heart wringing situation, but all attempts however beautiful, are crushed into the same dark dungeons as at the start of this concerto. Weinberg pops up first, and then Shostakovich comes to mind in their darkest hours: Those influences are so pervading the playing of the cello, that it feels like a weight of utter doom. The first movement goes seamlessly into the second part, Presto marcato. Urgent and fast, it lightens up the music a bit, in tone and character, but that does not engender happy feelings. The bitter marcato like march adds with it's hammer blows extra impetus to the already laden atmosphere. The lower strings and brass give the last push into darkness. The third movement while not wholly disruptive in the prevalent mood, nevertheless takes some stress away. The andante con moto is open and clearly defined, presented with some urgency. The orchestral score opens also for a bit, but basically this is a really dark horse of a concerto, and an absolute masterpiece. It is in fact one of the best works Kabalevsky wrote. I am very much in awe of it. And when at the end in the last movement, these plucked strings harass us again, it's a clear sign that the minor key takes it's toll as far as it goes.
For me these performances belong to the best I ever heard. The cellist is a master on his instrument and the orchestra is never far behind.
Now the Colas Breugnon Suite is one of my favourites too, and it gets a fine performance on this disc, by an unknown conductor who understood all the technical matters to a T, but added little in personality, so one might admire what he already is able to do, but crave for the other part, which is sadly missing. So, I will stick in this respect to a recording which I consider the best on the market which is Vassily Sinaisky's take on the label Chandos, coupled with the piano concertos 3 & 4. Sound Wise and in terms of interpretation that one is unbeatable for me.
But this disc from CPO is essential to have for the Cello concertos.
For the Cello concertos this recording is essential. Go for the Colas Breugnon Suite to the label Chandos, coupled with fine interpretations of the Piano concertos 3 and 4.