Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat; Cello Concerto No. 2 in G

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COMPOSERS: Shostakovich
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat; Cello Concerto No. 2 in G
PERFORMER: Maria Kliegel (cello); Polish National RSO/Antoni Wit
CATALOGUE NO: 8.550813
Through someone else’s performance I had fallen temporarily out of love with the first of Shostakovich’s two cello concertos (1959), but my affections swelled up again on hearing this marvellous performance by a young German soloist, Maria Kliegel. She is a protégée of Rostropovich, the dedicatee of both these works. To the music’s own eloquence she brings the utmost variety and delicacy from note to note and phrase to phrase. The solo instrument is well placed to convey an exciting presence and the Polish orchestra provides prompt and urgent accompaniment.

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Less well known, understandably, is the Second Concerto (1966), in which some oddities remain on the enigmatic level – notably the soloist’s fierce interchanges with bass drum and other percussion. But here too the performance lures us on. Not for the first time, Naxos in its deliberate cultivation of a modestly-priced catalogue has also produced a first-class musical offering. Arthur Jacobs