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Carl DAVIDOFF (1838-1889)
Cello Concerto No. 1 op. 5 in B minor (1859) [19:53]
Cello Concerto No. 2 op. 14 in A minor (1863) [26:37]
Pyotr Ilíyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Variations on a Rococo Theme op. 33 [18:34]
Latvian National SO/Terje Mikkelsen
rec. Reformatu baznica, Riga, November 1997-March 1998.
Carl Davidoff came from a
comfortably off professional family in Goldingen in what
is now Latvia. He succeeded Grutzmacher as professor of the
Cello at the Leipzig Conservatoire. His pupils included Wilhelm
Fitzenhagen, Hanus Wihan and Carl Fuchs. He was at one time
principal cello in the Leipzig Gewandhaus.
His First Cello Concerto can
best be summed up as a cross between Schumann and Weber with
a strong predilection for the singing Tchaikovskian line.
There are some lovely melodies here. His lively rhythmic
writing in the finale is also good. One can see where Saint-SaŽns,
Glazunov and Frank Bridge drew their inspiration. Clearly
we have a virtuoso composer here but one who recognises the
need for substantial ideas and emotions rather than death-defying
feats. Davidoff also has the capacity to deliver emotionally-rounded
ideas and development. The Second Concerto is more emotionally
mature and is shaken by deeper Tchaikovskian emotions than
the First. This does not mean that he has abandoned skipping
carefree writing. We can hear this in the dapper finale with
its elegant echoes of Tchaikovsky in the suites and the Rococo
Variations. While Davidoff might have been considered the
Saint-SaŽns of his time, Tchaikovsky in his Rococo Variations
is clearly a master with themes and resourceful treatments
and transformations that leave Davidoff in the pleasing category
... no more. Nothing wrong with that.
Wen-Sinn Yang gives all signs
of having mastered the three works and with spirited sympathetic
playing from the orchestra the effect is delightful. The
chosen acoustic is full of life. There is no occlusion of
the attractive incidents of these three works for cello and
The two Davidoff works should
appeal to anyone who appreciates the Saint-SaŽns concertante
works for cello.
Davidoff proves himself the
troubadour of the cello with an interest in melody over mere
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