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Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805)
Cello Concerto in B minor, G482 orch. and arr. Grützmacher [18:26] ¹
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Cello Concerto Op.101 in D Hob.VIIb,2 (1783) [27:31] ¹
Edouard LALO (1823-1892)
Cello Concerto in D minor (1877) [25:14] ²
Max BRUCH (1838-1920)
Kol Nidrei Op.47 (1881) [12:12] ²
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Kinderszenen, Op.15: Träumerei (1838) arr. Tibor de Machula [3:05] ²
Tibor de Machula (cello)
Vienna Symphony Orchestra/Bernhard Paumgartner ¹
Residentie Orkest/Willem van Otterloo ²
rec. 1951-55
FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 691-92 [46:00 + 40:34] 

The Hungarian cellist Tibor de Machula (1912-82) spent the second half of his life in Amsterdam where he was the distinguished principal of the Concertgebouw orchestra. He had earlier studied in America with the outstanding British cellist and teacher Felix Salmond, and in 1936 had been appointed Furtwängler’s principal cello in the Berlin Philharmonic, a position he forsook for that in the Concertgebouw in 1947.
 
Here in this two-disc compilation we find solo recordings made in the 1950s. At this time the Concertgebouw’s principals were not encouraged to make records with the orchestra, so generally had to forage further afield. In de Machula’s case that meant, in the first two concertos, Vienna. Here, with the local symphony and Bernhard Paumgartner, in November 1955, he set down two concertos. There is an elegant and warmly toned performance of the Boccherini/Grützmacher confection which sports an extremely well poised and textured slow movement. The Haydn sounds a little stately in its first movement but is at all times graced by the soloist’s rich tonal contribution, always alive, always consummately alert to rhythm and tonal colour and breadth. The cadenzas are those of the soloist’s eminent predecessor and compatriot, David Popper.
 
For the Lalo Concerto he was taped in his own concert hall, the Grote Zaal of the Concertgebouw, so at least this was a known acoustic environment for him. True to tradition, however, the orchestra was the Residentie Orkest directed by Willem van Otterloo. This January 1952 recording is vivid to the point of fierceness but it catches de Machula’s tonal qualities very precisely. He plays with considerable dash and vitality, as one would expect of a man for whom the concerto repertoire was hardly alien, as he made a series of concerto recordings including the Dvořák and the Brahms Double, in which his collaboration with the Concertgebouw’s principal violinists Hermann Krebbers and Theo Olof were much admired fixtures of the calendar. It’s a shame that this recording was rather bypassed in favour of Zara Nelsova’s almost contemporaneous recording of the work with Adrian Boult for Decca. To finish we have a dignified, expressive Bruch Kol Nidrei and a touching but unsentimental Träumerei in de Machula’s own arrangement for cello and orchestra.
 
The restorations are unproblematic with no ticks or pops; no notes either. This set encapsulates de Machula’s art very sympathetically.
 
Jonathan Woolf
 

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