Thursday, March 31, 2011

Saint-Saens - Cello Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, etc - S. Isserlis, C. Eschenbach, T. Thomas







...of the more recent recordings of both the A minor and D minor I greatly admire the versions from Steven Isserlis, for his noble expression and firm control. Using different orchestras and conductors Isserlis recorded the Cello Concerto No. 1 in 1992 with the London Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas and the Concerto No. 2 in 1999 with NDR Sinfonieorchester under Christoph Eschenbach.

Camille Saint-Saëns Saint-Saëns composed several works for the cello and his Concerto No. 1 is the first and finest of his two concertos. It is rightly regarded as one of the best loved cello concertos in the repertoire. The sunny and colourful score is compact in structure and plays in one continuous movement with three distinct sections.
The Cello Concerto No. 2 was composed in 1902, for the Dutch cellist Joseph Hollmann, some thirty years after the First. The themes are not acknowledged as having the memorability of its predecessor and consequently it has been greatly overshadowed by the initial attractiveness of the earlier score. This notwithstanding, the D minor Concerto is greatly admired by cellists and provides the soloist with considerable technical challenges. Cast in four parts, the score is presented in two large sections.
Composed in 1862 the Suite in D minor is in five brief and appealing movements. The Suite at just under twenty minutes lasts a similar length to the two cello concertos. Biographer Michael Steinberg has written that the Suite, “… is generally regarded as the first work in which an individual and identifiable Saint-Saëns voice can be heard.”—Michael Cookson

Performer:  Steven Isserlis,  Joshua Bell,  Francis Grier
Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Christoph Eschenbach
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra


flac, scans

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