Antonín Dvořák, 1896.
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in B minor, Op. 104 - I - Allegro.

Dvořák is king when it comes to the romantic school of musicians. His wonderously expressive, slavic-folk tinged composition and sound is unique and immensly enjoyable. I first heard the Cello Concerto played live by the masterful Lynn Harrell alongside the National Symphony Orchestra. Since that unforgetable performance I have been searching for a recording that mirrors his talent (below I have listed two suitable versions available: The Philadelphia Orchestra's rendition is faster than the New York Philharmonic version).

Dvořák was an outspoken opponent of the Cello Concerto thinking the Cello unfit for the task. During his three-year stay in New York this idea was changed after interactions with a friend and colleague, Victor Herbert, whose own Cello Concerto was highly thought of by Dvořák. What resulted from this change of heart is a masterpiece. The first movement opens with the orchestra calling for the listeners attention. In dramatic fashion, horns and clairinets begin with a swaying dance-like motif which were integral in Dvořák works. Soon the soloist enters and the piece enters the next level. Here the work is challenging and subject to interpretation. The cello is joined by the orchestra to re-interpret the inital themes which are often interpreted as triumphant yearning and nostalgia for his homeland. Interestingly, Dvořák's sister-in-law was ill at the time and died before the piece was complete and his love and affection for her no doubt had a great impact upon the concerto.

Selected recordings recommended for purchasing:
London Symphony Orchestra with Lynn Harrell as solo cello (Conducted by Masur) version available here.
Philadelphia Orchestra with Natalia Gutman as solo cello (Conducted By Sawallisch) version available here.
New York Philharmonic with Yo-Yo Ma as solo cello (Conducted by Masur) version available here.

Artwork by: Viktor Oliva // Absinthe Drinker


Blogger motherfakka said...

Good side. But som updates plaese? Does anyone know more blogs with classic music?

February 27, 2007 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger callmemickey said...

ill be averaging two updates a week.. ideally it will be every saturday and weds.. so expect a new post tomorrow morning!

February 27, 2007 at 9:39 AM  

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