Shostakovich: Cello Concertos Nos 1 & 2

COMPOSERS: Shostakovich
LABELS: Chandos
ALBUM TITLE: Shostakovich
WORKS: Cello Concertos Nos 1 & 2
PERFORMER: Enrico Dindo (cello); Danish National Symphony Orchestra/ Gianandrea Noseda


First prize-winner at the 1997 Rostropovich Competition, Italian cellist Enrico Dindo has cut a relatively low profile in the UK. But this situation will surely change as a result of his impressive debut recording for Chandos. The performance of Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto is particularly distinguished. Dindo musters tremendous energy and rhythmic dynamism in the outer movements while a vocally-inflected lyricism is ever-present throughout the despairing threnody of the Moderato. His approach to the Cadenza is wonderfully fluid and he draws special attention to inner details, such as the strong thematic relationship between the broken pizzicato chords and the Concerto’s main motif, which are not normally highlighted in other interpretations.
Dindo’s compatriot Gianandrea Noseda once again demonstrates his consummate artistry as a concerto accompanist, inspiring the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra to deliver incisive and strongly characterised playing. Furthermore, the harshness of Shostakovich’s orchestration, with its shrieking upper woodwind, rasping double bassoon and heroically defiant solo horn, is well captured by Chandos’s relatively dry recording.
All these ingredients make this SACD version of the First Concerto a strong front-runner in a highly crowded field. Alas, the performance of the Second Concerto is not quite on the same level. Although Dindo plays expressively enough, he doesn’t manage to draw you into Shostakovich’s bleak and claustrophobic sound world with the same degree of conviction as Mischa Maisky on DG, and some of the shaping of the more reflective passage work seems literal rather than insightful. Among recent versions Pieter Wispelwey’s SACD recording with Sinfonietta Cracovia for Channel Classics is especially persuasive in bringing fantasy and a vivid sense of drama to one of Shostakovich’s most emotionally elusive works.
Erik Levi