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Timeline of cello concertos written during the period 1901-1940 
 
Date Recorded Unrecorded
1901 Scott 1 Goens 2
1902 Saint-Saëns 2 Sherwood 2
1903 Klengel 4  
1904   Rauchenecker
1905 Hahn, Marteau Moór 1, Nölck 1
1906 Jeral, Moór 2  
1907 Gernsheim  
1908   Grädener 1, L.Mendelssohn
1909 Foulds, Röntgen 2  
1910   Dopper
1912   Grädener 2, Nölck 2
1913 Villa-Lobos 1 Jullien, Schuyer
1915 Koczalski Allende-Sarón, Thieriot
1916 Hindemith 1 Sowerby 1, Weingartner
1917   Boyle
1919 Elgar, Helsted Hegar, Merikanto
1922 Atterberg, Delius, Salomon, Tkalčić Bortkiewicz, Bosmans 1
1924   Bosmans 2
1925 Hermann, Ibert, Toch Rota 0
1926 Cassadó  
1927 Graener Delune, Rivier
1928 Röntgen 3  
1929 Honegger Manevich 1, Orthel 1
1930 Bridge, Foerster, Martinů 1    Badings 1, Rídký 1
1931 Glazunov,  Sćverud Fitelberg
1932 Bengtsson, Jacobi Vaubourgoin
1933 Howells, Tovey  
1934 Bax, Weigl Sowerby 2
1935 Casella,  Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Milhaud 1, Pfitzner 2 Mosolov 1 (lost), Murrill 1
1936 Holbrooke, Hovhaness, Pijper, Wirén Petridis
1937 Malipiero, Scott 2  
1938 Bürger, Ivanovs, S.Prokofiev Diamond, Gurlitt
1939 Badings 2 L.Berkeley, Rosenberg 1
1940 Hindemith 2, Rídký 2 Fernström

During the period 1901-1940 a total of 92 cello concertos were identified, of which 52 (57%) have been recorded and 40 appear to be unrecorded. There was a clear increase in the number of compositions towards the end of the period and 1923 is the last year (in all timelines) for which I was unable to identify a single new concerto. Elgar’s concerto is much the best known and most recorded work of the period but there are many other worthwhile recorded works, as shown by the recommendations below. Amongst the unrecorded works, I would be most interested in being able to hear Moór’s first concerto, Grädener’s two (his two violin concertos have been recorded by Toccata), Murrill’s first and the works by Bortkiewicz, Diamond and Lennox Berkeley.

Recommendations

Atterberg Late romanticism at its best, as delivered by Truls Mřrk.

Bridge A very fine work of which Steven Isserlis is a compelling exponent. He has also recorded it for BIS and, if you can find it, there is also a BBC disc of his performance at the 2003 Proms.

Bürger A major discovery very well played by Maya Beiser. The heart-rending slow movement was written in memory of the composer’s mother who died at the hands of the Nazis. Unfortunately this is only available as a physical CD.

Delius Not as well-known as his violin concerto, this is still fine Delius and I find Raphael Wallfisch very convincing.

Elgar
Jacqueline du Pré’s performance will Barbirolli remains at the top of the pile for me but there are other ways of playing the work and Robert Cohen’s first recording is very satisfying. Pablo Casals with Boult in 1945 would be my historical choice.

Foulds A composer whose music is well-worthy of its 21st century revival, and another discovery from Raphael Wallfisch.

Foerster A relatively brief and mellow work, Jirí Bárta is completely inside this music.

Jeral His concerto is well worthy of its revival by Orfeo Mandozzi.

Hovhaness An early work, perhaps not completely typical of the composer but, as played by János Starker, satisfying nonetheless.

Martinů Plenty of choice here but Raphael Wallfisch’s disc of both concertos and the concertino is hard to beat.

Moór His second concerto is a substantial and delightful four-movement work. It is hard to imagine it being better done than by Péter Szabó.

Röntgen All three of his concertos are worth hearing but the second particularly so in the performance by Gregor Horsch.

Sćverud A surprisingly jazzy work which has only seen the light of day fairly recently thanks to Robert Rřnnes (who reconstructed it) and Truls Mřrk.

Toch A very interesting four movement work that has been recorded several times. Susanne Müller-Hornbach’s performance is compelling.

Tovey Despite its length, this does not outstay its welcome and Alice Neary is a fine soloist.

Weigl A much underrated composer, his cello music has been recently brought to life by Raphael Wallfisch.


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