- Cello Concerto
Making her debut on Decca, Alisa Weilerstein presents three major works of the cello repertoire with Daniel Barenboim leading the Staatskapelle Berlin. The star vehicle, naturally, is Edward Elgar's "Concerto in E minor," which Weilerstein plays with commanding presence, rich tone, and emotional depth. Most listeners will be drawn primarily to this performance because of the piece's familiarity, and Weilerstein's charisma and passionate playing make it the album's main attraction. Yet listeners should give Weilerstein and Barenboim credit for following the Elgar with an important if not instantly recognizable or approachable modernist work, Elliott Carter's powerful "Cello Concerto." Weilerstein is quite bold to play this intensely dramatic and angular composition, and while it's unlikely to appeal to the majority of fans who adore the Elgar, it deserves its place on the program for its seriousness and extraordinary displays of solo and orchestral writing. To close, Weilerstein plays Max Bruch's "Kol Nidrei," a Romantic work that returns the program to a mellow and melancholy mood and brings the CD to a satisfying close. Decca's reproduction is excellent, putting Weilerstein front and center with full resonance, but not leaving the vibrant accompaniment of the orchestra too far behind her.