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Antonin Dvorak: Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191.

Antonin Dvorak Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191

Edouard Lalo Cello Concerto in D minor

Johannes Moser--cello, PKF--Prague Philharmonia, Jan Fiser--concert master, Jakub Hrusa--conductor. Text: English, German. Recorded: Jan. 2015 Forum Karlin, Prague. Released: 2015. TT: 65:33. 1 SACD PTC 5186 488


Antonin Dvorak Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104, B. 191, & Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, Dumky, Op. 90, B. 166

Sebastian Klinger--cello, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrucken-Kaiserslautern, Simon Gaudenz--conductor, Lisa Batiashvili--violin, Milana Chernyavska--piano.


Text: English, German. Recorded: Oct. 2014, Sendesaal des Saarlandisches Rundfunks, Saarbrucken (Op. 104) and July 2014, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Studio 2, Munich (Op. go). Released: 2015. TT: 72:04. 1 CD Oehms Classics OC 1828

The two reviewed CDs directly invite comparison. Recorded within a few months of each other, they capture the mastery of two peers of German origin and globetrotters, Sebastian Klinger (b. 1977) and Johannes Moser (b. 1979). The former grew up in Spain, where he began playing the cello at the age of six; the latter, with dual German-Canadian nationality, started his musical training two years later than Klinger. Whereas Klinger studied with Heinrich Schiff and Boris Pergamenschikow, and since 2014 has taught at the Hochschule fur Musik und Theater in Hamburg, Moser was a pupil of David Geringas and won the Tchaikovsky Competition (2002). Following his victory in 2001 of the Deutsches Musikwettbewerb in Berlin, in 2002, Klinger appeared in the Rising Stars series across Europe and the USA, and since 2004 he has served as first chair cellist with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in his native Munich. In the meantime, Moser has pursued an international career as a soloist and recorded a number of albums. Klinger plays a 1 736 Camillus Camilli, Moser an instrument made in 1694 by Andrea Guarneri. Both cellists invited along for the recording young conductors: Moser opted for the Czech Republic's Jakub Hrusa (b. 1981), Klinger for Switzerland's Simon Gaudenz (b. 1974). At this point, the major similarities between their CDs end, and a number of differences start. The most striking variance pertains to the number of orchestra members and their instruments. The listener has to get accustomed to the PKF--Prague Philharmonia's half-size string section, which is intriguing in the second movement and the passages in which the full strings are usually covered by woodwinds, as well as trumpets, yet it did not satisfy me in the tutti passages of the first and third movements. The slender and narrowly vibrating tone of the German radio philharmonic orchestra also affords space to sonic transparency in places that are usually dominated by the full sound of the string section. By and large, it would seem that the number of instruments does not pave the way to sonic transparency. A different approach to the instruments also characterises the sound of the wind harmony: fuller and more rounded in the case of the Prague Philharmonia, leveller and glossier in the case of the radio orchestra. The Prague Philharmonia dazzles with its account of the second movement of Dvorak's concerto and Jan Fiser's violin solo in the finale, yet, in my opinion, the recording director could have corrected the introduction to the first movement and the oboe passages in the third (5:55). In the opening of the first movement, the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrucken-Kaiserslautern showed off with a horn solo, whose sound quality was almost reminiscent of that of the post horn, as well as brilliant solos of woodwinds, headed by the flute in the development of the first movement. (The German orchestra currently have Dvorak in their blood, as they are recording his complete symphonies with the chief conductor, Karel Mark Chichon.) Simon Gaudenz sharply differentiates the characters of the individual movements, with the Strauss-like large orchestra heroism and mysterious performance of the first movement being ensued by objective lyricism and the final marching rondo, leading into an intimate conversation among the cello, violins and woodwinds. On the other hand, Jakub Hrusa stakes on a compact flow of the music, Slavonic colourfulness of the wind harmony and intimate commentaries on the solo part. Yet the albums above all feature two young cellists. Klinger possesses an even tone of a pleasant tenor timbre with discreet glissandos and, as a long-time orchestra player, he has no difficulties with negotiating the communicative passages; he brilliantly manages to alternate the pastorally simple tone of the beginning of the second movement and the poignancy of the finale's conclusion. Matching up to his great predecessors, Moser possesses a self-confident and controlled expressive tone and tends to lyricise even the more heroic passages in the first movement. If I had to judge the two (SA) CDs in their entirety, I would definitely give preference to the account of Dvorak's Dumky (Oehms Classics) to that of Lalo's Cello Concerto (PentaTone), which, in my opinion, could have been delivered with a sharper articulation and instrumental verve. And not only because it was Lisa Batiashvili's debut Dvorak recording. The Dumky is dominated by a self-confident dialogue between Batiashvili and Klinger, while the German pianist of Ukrainian origin Milana Chernyavska plays the role of a discreet accompanying partner. Those who would like to hear Dvorak's Cello Concerto as a piece par excellence, imbued with the strong personality of the soloist and reminiscing of the Czech interpretational tradition, will not be disappointed with the PentaTone CD. On the other hand, those seeking a recording reminding of the symphonic parameters of Dvorak's work and a performer capable of communicating with the other players will find that the Oehms disc meets their expectations perfectly.

Martin Jemelka
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Author:Jemelka, Martin
Publication:Czech Music
Article Type:Sound recording review
Date:Jan 1, 2016
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