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Mischa Maisky – Song of the Cello
Mischa Maisky  (cello) with accompaniments as above
rec. 1982-2006
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 7442 [80:15 + 79:13]  
Experience Classicsonline

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra in A minor op.102: Allegro [17:53]
Gidon Kremer (violin)/Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein
Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805)

String Quintet in E major op.11 No.5: Tempo di minuetto con un poco di moto [4:08].
Members of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)

Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor op.33 [18:28]
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)

Variations on a Rococo Theme op.33: Variazione VI: Andante / Variazione VII e Coda: Allegro vivo [5:13]
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)

Cello Concerto in E minor op.85: Adagio - Moderato - attacca: / Allegro molto [11:53]
Philharmonia Orchestra / Giuseppe Sinopoli
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)

Don Quixote op.35: Variation V: Sehr langsam - Don Quixote's Vigil [4:20]
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Zubin Mehta
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)

Cello Concerto No.1 op.107: Allegretto [6:07]
London Symphony Orchestra / Michael Tilson Thomas
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)

Cello Concerto in B minor op.104: Finale: Allegro moderato [11:42]
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Zubin Mehta
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Cello Suite in G major BWV 1007: Prelude [2:12]
Cello Suite in C minor BWV 1011: Sarabande [4:15]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

Der Muller und der Bach from Die schön Müllerin D795 [4:20]
Daria Hovora (piano)
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Liebestreu op.3 No.1 [2:38]
Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer op.105 No.2 [5:04]
Lily Maisky (piano)
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)

Song without words op.62 No.1 [2:42]
Song without words op.109 [5:15]
Auf Flugeln des Gesanges op.34 No.2 arranged Mischa Maisky [3:10]
Sergio Tiempo (piano)
Young-Sup CHOI (b.1929)

Let me live amid nature arranged Mischa Maisky [3:44]
Daria Hovora (piano)
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)

Vocalise-etude en forme de habanera [3:28]
Daria Hovora (piano)
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)

Cello Sonata in D minor op.40: Allegro [4:15]
Martha Argerich (piano)
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)

Apres un reve op.7 No.1 arr. Pablo Casals [3:20]
Daria Hovora
Peter KIESEWASSER (b.1945)

Tango pathetique [2:19]
Gidon Kremer (violin)/Martha Argerich (piano)

Song of the Birds - Catalan Folksong arr. Pablo Casals [3:09]
Pavel Gililov (piano)
Francis POULENC (1899-1963)

Les Chemins de l'amour [3:40]
Daria Hovora (piano)
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)

5 Stucke im Volkston op.102: Mit Humor 'Vanitas vanitatum' [3:08]
Martha Argerich
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)

Waltz from the ballet Stone Flower [2:29]
Martha Argerich (piano)
Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)

Sing not to me, neautiful maiden Op.4 No.4 arr. Mischa Maisky [5:01]
How fair this spot Op.21 No.7 arr. Mischa Maisky [2:11]
Vocalise Op.34 No. 14 arr. Leonard Rose [6:29]
Lily Maisky (piano)
Elegie op.3 No.1 arr. Mischa Maisky [6:20]
Sergio Tiempo (piano)

This is one of a series of DG Portraits of the Artist series – Kremer, Kissin, Pires and Terfel are a quartet of other musicians covered thus far. The booklets contain plenty of discographical information and there are a large number of colour and black and white photographs for those who appreciate such things. The booklet note is written by Tully Potter who covers the ground but has succumbed to a surfeit of maestro-itis. Surely Maisky is not a Maestro?

The selection consists of "greatest hits." The first disc gives us the first movement of the Brahms Double with Kremer and Bernstein – rather indulged by the conductor. There are also the first two movements of the Elgar with Sinopoli; a good performance. There are snippets from the Rococo Variations – just two variations – and one variation from Don Quixote. The first movement from Shostakovich’s First Concerto is here with Tilson Thomas and there’s the finale of the Dvořák with Mehta – a considerable improvement on Maisky’s ponderous recording of it with Bernstein, with whom the fault greatly lay. All this bits-and-pieces of course is very unsatisfactory from most perspectives but it is the rationale of the series and gives, at least, a partial view of Maisky’s way with the concerto literature. As if in compensation there’s a complete Saint-Saëns Concerto in A minor with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

The second disc is devoted to smaller, chamber sized or solo works. There’s evidence of his rhythmically wayward and unstable Bach – the Prelude from the G major suite is unsubtle and the Sarabande from the Fifth Suite is almost abstract. There’s a pretty little song called Let me live amid nature by Young-Sup Choi, arranged by the cellist. Other things include some collaborations with Argerich, Daria Hovora, Sergio Tiempo as well as Maisky’s own daughter, Lily. There’s some Piazzolla, for those who like it, and some finely phrased Rachmaninoff arrangements. I don’t know why Casals’s Song of the Birds isn’t identified as such in the booklet – "Catalan Folksong" is a bit vague – but in any case Maisky over-vibrates it.

By its nature this is more for the casual listener, the neophyte or those who enjoy photographs of late middle aged men with flowing grey locks and flowery white shirts exposing their chest hair. Maisky admirers surely have the recordings from which these excerpts have been extracted. Less frivolously I should end by noting that a number of the smaller items are receiving disc premieres.

Jonathan Woolf


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