WORKS: Cello Concerto; Variations on a Rococo Theme
PERFORMER: Truls Mørk (cello); Oslo PO/Mariss Jansons
CATALOGUE NO: VC 7 59325 2 DDD
Now in his early 30s, the Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk, a medallist in the 1982 Moscow Tchaikovsky Competition, studied with Frans Helmerson, Heinrich Schiff and Natalia Schakowskaya. Artistic Director of the Stavanger International Chamber Music Festival, with a starry career in Europe and America, he made a notable Proms debut in 1989, playing the Elgar concerto under Jansons and the Oslo Philharmonic.
This new recording of the Dvorák Concerto fails to do justice to his talent. It is a turgid account, for too much of the time thin-sounding and ordinary. One looks in vain for evidence of lyrical warmth or sweeping line; the structure, wanting in continuity, is flaccid; the climaxes rarely grip the emotions; the reflective moments witness a degree of self-indulgence detrimental to the natural life and pace of the music. Memories of what other artists have done, not so much Mørk’s own personality, seem to colour whatever is at all beautiful. The usual Jansons fire is well damped, and the Oslo Philharmonic sound fatigued, playing with professional efficiency but little apparent commitment. An airless recorded balance doesn’t help the overall impression: the orchestra lacks space and ambience, and Mørk’s cello needs greater presence and character. Impressive technically, the Tchaikovsky (the standard Fitzenhagen reworking) captures the imagination even less. A shade too cool and calculating, without much elegance or soul. Ates Orga