Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1;  Britten: Cello Symphony

Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1; Britten: Cello Symphony

4.0 1
by Johannes Moser
     
 
Johannes Moser's performance on this album of modern works for cello and orchestra is impressive, as is the playing of WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln under the direction of Pietari Inkinen. The Shostakovich concerto is arguably the more accessible of the two works.

Overview

Johannes Moser's performance on this album of modern works for cello and orchestra is impressive, as is the playing of WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln under the direction of Pietari Inkinen. The Shostakovich concerto is arguably the more accessible of the two works. It begins with no delay; the music cuts right to the chase with an agile, clean, bright cello line. The cello part is highly textured, with a fervent, impassioned melody and a turbulent feel. The orchestral accompaniment is also passionate, urgent, and engaging. The second movement is mysterious, moody, and dark, whereas the third movement cadenza (placed, oddly, not at the end) is simply exciting. Moser plays with so much vibrato and tension in the line that it keeps the listener on the edge of his or her seat. The final movement is full of high drama, a gloriously orchestrated cacophony in which each instrument plays its part perfectly and with precision in the rather atonal passages. Certainly, the quality of the 1694 Guarneri cello helps make the work so wonderful to hear, as is the clear and bright recording quality. Britten's "Cello Symphony, Op. 68," may be more of an acquired taste, though the orchestra plays with incredible power and majesty, doing justice to the Allegro maestoso of the first movement. The music can tend to feel random, but out of the chaos comes order, and the tranquility of the cello is so enticing that one is drawn in. Moser plumbs the depths of the lower register fully, while the orchestra captures a wide variety of colors and moods in a most expressive manner. Britten proves himself to be a master of texture and effects in this very complex, difficult music. Moser's incredible bow technique is one of the highlights of the second movement. The listener can feel him slicing away at the tip, making rapid runs in the middle of the bow, and then virtually feel his singing legato. His fast passages with string crossings are played with perfect accuracy. A thunderous roll of drums begins the concluding movement, and the cello melody is moody yet enticing. Here, the lines are long and singing, and in the orchestra there are coordinating textures among all the strings. This movement is perhaps the most effective and accessible because the various musical elements work together and move forward so convincingly. Overall, Moser's artistry is not to be missed. ~ V. Vasan

Product Details

Release Date:
01/31/2012
Label:
Swrmusic
UPC:
4010276025252
catalogNumber:
98643
Rank:
186327

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Cello Symphony, for cello & orchestra, Op. 68  - Benjamin Britten  -  Westdeutschen Rundfunk-Orchester, Cologne  - Siegwald Bütow  - Pietari Inkinen  - Johannes Moser  - Mayerle Werbung
  2. Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 107  - Dmitry Shostakovich  -  Westdeutschen Rundfunk-Orchester, Cologne  - Siegwald Bütow  - Pietari Inkinen  - Johannes Moser  - Mayerle Werbung

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Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1; Britten: Cello Symphony 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
KlingonOpera More than 1 year ago
I am always curious to find out what a talented player finds in Shostakovich and is able to bring out, and in that respect Johannes Moser has something that he definitely wants you to hear. The first movement of the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 is aggressive right from the beginning…the speed and attack of Mr. Moser on the cello is at first unsettling, but upon a second hearing adds a gripping tension to the underlying march music that is central to the movement. The second movement demonstrates some fine French horn work from the West German Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the thin expressive nature of the music produced definitely conveys uncertainty and a questioning emotional state. The third movement, featuring some very expressive cello playing from Mr. Moser, is also performed quite well, with what seems to be just the right amount of “edginess”. The aggression returns in the final and fourth movement, and the tempo and energy are consistent throughout. This is an interesting interpretation. The other piece on the disc is Britten’s Cello Symphony. The first movement starts off with dark, angry sounding music, as if Britten still has more to say at a fundamental about the horrors of war. But there is something else here – something perhaps mythological as hinted at in the liner notes – and it requires some virtuoso level cello playing. The average cellist simply cannot do what is required, and Mr. Moser is certainly up to the task. The second movement is shorter and less dark, as the work moves in a lighter leaning direction. The third movement, featuring some solid timpani work and accompaniment from the orchestra, has a distinctive Russian-like feel to it (in a Shostakovich kind of way. It’s hard to explain…you just have to hear it), and it would certainly have been a treat to hear Rostropovich play this piece as it was dedicated to him. This work is well paired with the Shostakovich, and makes for an interesting listening experience. If Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto is to your liking, then this recording offers an interesting and worthwhile interpretation. And the Britten makes for a fine companion. So if you like this sort of thing, then this disc is certainly worth adding to your collection.