ALBUM TITLE: Romantic Cello Concertos
PERFORMER: Alban Gerhardt (cello); BBC Scottish SO/Carlos Kalmar
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67544
It would be difficult to find a more enticing choice of repertory for the first volume in Hyperion’s highly enterprising Romantic Cello Concerto series than the three sumptuous late 19th-century compositions on offer here. Heart-warming lyrical melodies, as well as characteristically resourceful orchestration, abound in the Dohnányi Konzertstück – a highly attractive if somewhat Brahmsian work that has previously enjoyed the advocacy of Janos Starker (EMI, now deleted), Raphael Wallfisch (Chandos) and Maria Kliegel (Naxos). Gerhardt’s warmly recorded performance lays claim to being the most convincing of all, not least for the passion and sensitivity of his playing as well as the committed contribution of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Carlos Kalmar who really come into their own in the lengthy orchestral tutti of the third movement.
Following in the footsteps of Dohnányi, Eugen d’Albert also pursues the stylistic path of Brahms in his C major Cello Concerto, adding to this an operatic ardour that was stand him in particularly good stead later in his career. Once again, Gerhardt acquits himself admirably, making light work of the technical hurdles in the Finale, and the interaction between soloist and orchestra is first-rate. More subtle and emotionally elusive than the other two works, Enescu’s inexplicably neglected Symphonie Concertante is projected with the utmost conviction by Gerhardt and Kalmar and provides a fitting climax to a totally absorbing release.