Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Cello Concerto [22:06] Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Rococo Variations [17:49] Friedrich GULDA (1930-2000)
Concerto for cello and wind band (1980) [31:02]
Nicolas Altstaedt (cello)
Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Alexander Joel
rec. Ludwigshafen, Philharmonie, 3-7 November 2008. DDD CLAVES 50-2901 [70:57]
Claves provide a showcase for a very talented cellist. The Schumann
and Tchaikovsky speak of one facet of his character; the Gulda
appeals to the wild and hairily unpredictable. We start with
the Schumann - not my favourite work for cello and orchestra.
To make this work sing and hold the attention needs special qualities.
It’s sparse dramatic fibre contrasts with page after page
of romantic soliloquy. In fact Alstaedt makes the music hold
the attention. You are conscious of great attention to detail
and of the finding of nuance - even the creation of nuance. The
cellist’s attention to expressive detail registers time
after time in one of Schumann’s least inspired and inspiring
It is well known that Tchaikovsky adored the music
of Mozart and his Fourth Orchestral Suite is entitled Mozartiana.
He also envied Mozart’s operatic legacy and strove to make
the same impact - ultimately with only limited success judged
from today’s viewpoint. The most Mozartean of his orchestral
works is the intricate and episodic Rococo Variations.
Alstaedt revels in the work’s lace and brocade and time
and again one is impressed by his caring and attentive way with
one of Tchaikovsky’s least torrid works. Then a change
of gear. It’s not a massively populated genre but I do
rather warm to the Rock cello concerto. I say “Not massively
populated” but in fact I can only think of one other and
that too is a work of which I think very highly. I have in mind
here the Swedish composer, Svante Henryson’s six movement
piece for cello and full orchestra: Songs from the Milky Way.
It’s on Intim Musik’s IMCD072 played by the composer
with the Västerås Sinfonietta conducted by Glenn Mossop,
Lennart Simonsson (piano), Sven Lindvall (electric bass) and
Jonas Sjoblom (drums).
Friedrich Gulda’s Concerto
for cello and wind band is something of a pastiche-collage which
moves between visceral rock-vehement and Mozartean Dresden-china
delicacy. It’s just a touch sentimental. The work was written
for Heinrich Schiff - who’d have thought it! Fine stereo
separation completes the picture and renders in ticklingly varied
detail the roles of soloist and orchestra.
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