One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Availability
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor, Op.33 (1872) [19:25]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Variations on a Rococo theme in A, Op.33 (1876) [18:44]
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Cello Sonata in A minor, Op.36 (1883) [29:05]
Josef Chuchro (cello)
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Alois Klima
Josef HŠla (piano)
rec. 1950s, Prague
FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR911 [67:16]

Once again Forgotten Records has chosen to mine the less-encountered wing of Supraphon’s output from the 1950s. They’ve taken an LP that paired the Saint-SaŽns Cello Concerto No.1 with Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, and so-much-so-ordinary one might think today. In point of fact the protagonists are what make this a singularly interesting affair. Josef Chuchro is best remembered today as the cellist in Josef Suk’s trio, along with pianist Jan Panenka. His concerto opportunities, on disc at least, were far more limited and circumscribed than his forays into the chamber literature. The conductor is Alois Klima (1905-80), one of Czechoslovakia’s more under-sung podium masters, but a musician of characterful intelligence.

The two certainly make a sympathetic pairing in the Saint-SaŽns. One of the pleasures of this disc is its sheer sense of musicality, the deft rubati and the unshowy dignity of the performance. The Czech Philharmonic is on fine form for Chuchro (1931-2009) who was a soloist with them for a number of years and for Klima, who encourages characterful contributions from the famed Czech winds. The tempos are fine, and the wit in the central Allegretto con moto section unarguable – savour the winds here, in particular. Chuchro shows few if any technical weaknesses and has an attractive tone throughout. If you seek a greater quotient of charisma and self-confident projection, it’s undeniable that other players of the time, more specifically soloistically-inclined, will offer it. To cite two, Starker and Dorati with the LSO offer a more intense reading, whilst Zara Nelsova with Boult – on a splendid Decca Masters box – offer a similarly powerful reading. Chuchro is at his very best in the Tchaikovsky – in its then familiar bowdlerised version – when playing the slower variations. Here his sense of chamber collaborative thoughtfulness, and his refined elegance of tone, are most evident. His playing of the penultimate movement, the lovely Andante, is particularly vivid but in a selfless and introspective way.
 
The final piece offers examples of that chamber spirit in a recording of Grieg’s outsize Sonata, with pianist Josef HŠla. By coincidence I’ve just been re-listening to the first ever recording of this sonata, made by Felix Salmond and Simeon Rumshisky in New York in the 1920s. Chuchro has a similarly noble and refined persona and in HŠla has a vibrant and communicative colleague, one of the best such in his country. The Supraphon recording is not the most subtle but it is immediate and allows one to hear the sparring and interplay between the two unimpeded. It’s a more-than-useful appendix to the orchestrally-accompanied examples of Chuchro’s art, and admirers of the cellist will welcome its restoration in this excellently transferred disc.

Jonathan Woolf