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Caplet • Dvořák: Cello Concertos

Nadège Rochat (cello); Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Benjamin Levy (Ars Produktion)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

Caplet • Dvořák
Caplet: Epiphanie (d’après une légende éthiopienne); Dvořák: Cello Concerto
Nadège Rochat (cello); Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Benjamin Levy
Ars Produktion ARS38301   60:22 mins


Dvořák’s Cello Concerto is one of his most carefully considered works, yet he threw himself into this masterpiece with a will. A profoundly personal dimension is his introduction of a favourite song commemorating his ailing sister-in-law into the slow movement, and its return in the dreamlike rhapsody which ends the finale.

Interpretations of the Concerto abound and if this version does not approach Weilerstein and Bělohlávek’s on Decca it has much to offer. Benjamin Levy’s approach is unsentimentally business-like and at times verges on the perfunctory, notably at the start of the Adagio, but the orchestral playing is always graceful. The glory of this issue, however, is cellist Nadège Rochat’s performance. She captures the improvisatory character of her first entry superbly and her memorably sweet tone is ideally suited to Dvořák’s near-vocal lyricism.

Described as a ‘Fresco based after an Ethiopian Legend’, Caplet’s Épiphanie of 1923, while undoubtedly influenced by his friend Debussy, is full of ear-catching individuality excellently captured in this committed reading. Overall, these well-recorded performances are well worth investigating for Rochat’s playing.

Jan Smaczny

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