ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH - CELLO CONCERTOS 1 & 2

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DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH - CELLO CONCERTOS 1 & 2 - DANIEL MÜLLER-SCHOTT (Cello) - YAKOV KREIZBERG (Conductor) - BAVARIAN RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA - 4011790659121 - ORFEO 659081

Two brilliant creations by Shostakovich seperated by only 8 years, the 1st written in 1959 and the 2nd in 1967, that could not possibly be more different in style and outlook. The first is a tempestuous work, full of nervous tension and boisterous energy. It also contains one of Shostakovich's most lyrical slow movements. It will test the mettle of any cellist. The second concerto on the other hand is a strange, enigmatic work, where in one moment a phrase sounds as if written in neo-baroque and a moment later an ultra-modern twist comes in. The great Rostropovich once stated that "it's profundity is second to none". The last few minutes will leave you scratching your head and thinking: "What is Shostakovich telling us here?". In the excellent cd liner notes written by Daniel Müller-Schott, it is said that these cello concertos document the age that produced them.

One of the qualities, in my opinion, of Shostakovich's orchestral writing, was his ingenious way of being able to create the perfect sonic backdrop or setting, to what the solo instrument is playing. It's almost as if this is an opera and the orchestra is the background set and the cellist is the singer, an effect very well brought out in this excellent recording, where everyone involved is aware of the emotional and technical demands these concertos require.

There are many fine, even great recordings of these concertos. The legendary Rostropovich, the dedicatee of these works, recorded them at least twice. There is a very polished recording of No. 1 by a young Yo-Yo Ma, and a strong reading of both concertos by Truls Mork, but this new recording by Daniel Müller-Schott brings out all the powerful, profound, weird and enigmatic qualities found deep within Shostakovich's core, like no one else before.

It seems the recording was done in September 2005, and yet it was only released in July 2008. Next time please don't wait so long to release something this great!

Jean-Yves Duperron