Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1; Cello Concerto No. 2

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COMPOSERS: Shostakovich
WORKS: Cello Concerto No. 1; Cello Concerto No. 2
PERFORMER: Torleif Thedeen (cello)Malmo SO/James DePreist
Common to both discs is Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in which the Swede Thedeen comes through a clear winner. This is not to denigrate Rosen’s commitment to the piece, but Thedeen displays an impressive range of colour and attack, from the brittleness of the opening, the wistful slow movement, a gripping cadenza and vibrant finale. DePriest gives sterling support with his Malmo Symphony Orchestra; Tabakov’s Sofia Philharmonic sounds cautious, particularly in pivotal horn solos. Thedeen impresses further in the brooding Second Concerto, capturing the quintessential mood of impending mortality (the composer suffered a near-fatal heart attack during the seven years separating these two concertos). The rest of Rosen’s disc contains excellent accounts of Tchaikovsky, despite some far-off woodwind solos. Sniffing, rosin-coated fingers sticking to strings, and bow thwacks may irritate the listener, though when du Pre was soloist it somehow did not seem to matter much. Christopher Fifield