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  • Barber: Cello Concerto (Christian Poltéra, Kathyrn Stott, Andrew Litton, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra) (BIS: BIS1827)
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Barber: Cello Concerto (Christian Poltéra, Kathyrn Stott, Andrew Litton, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra) (BIS: BIS1827) Hybrid SACD


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Product details

  • Conductor: Andrew Litton
  • Composer: Samuel Barber
  • Audio CD (2 Jan. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: Bis
  • ASIN: B00A2PAMPG
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,752 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 22 (1945) - Christian Poltera/Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
2. Sonata for Cello and Piano, Op. 6 (1932) - Christian Poltera/Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
3. Adagio for strings, Op. 11 (1936) - Christian Poltera/Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Product Description

Product Description

Cellist Christian Poltéra turns to the music of Samuel Barber. He is joined by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Andrew Litton and pianist Kathryn Stott.

Poltéra opens his programme with the Cello Concerto one of only three concertos by Barber which balances the natural lyric expressiveness of his earlier music with a more urgent, rhythmic and intense style.

Poltéra and regular chamber-music partner Stott then perform the Sonata for Cello and Piano, composed while Barber was still a student.

The disc closes with the enormously popular Adagio for strings.

Review

'This disc is a winner on several levels' --International Record Review, January 2013

'The 1945 Cello Concerto is probably the least performed of Samuel Barber's concertos...But as Christian Poltéra's fierce, theatrical performance demonstrates, it's a ruggedly impressive achievement in its own right, in which the romanticism associated with Barber's music only emerges from time to time.' **** --The Guardian, Andrew Clements

'The Zurich-born cellist champions - with masterly élan - the unjustly neglected concerto by the American composer…Litton's excellent Bergen players round off this outstanding disc with an encore in the form of the Adagio for Strings.' --The Sunday Times, Hugh Canning

'In the Cello Sonata Polétra is joined by Kathryn Stott in the ample piano part for a full-bodied interpretation that asserts all the music's Brahmsian ardency together with its tenderness and dramatic impulse.' **** --The Daily Telegraph, Geoffrey Norris

'The Zurich-born cellist champions - with masterly élan - the unjustly neglected concerto by the American composer…Litton's excellent Bergen players round off this outstanding disc with an encore in the form of the Adagio for Strings.' --The Sunday Times, Hugh Canning

'Christian Poltera meets [the Cello Concertos] technical demands with almost complete ease, and projects the more lyrical moments with subtle inflections of line and beautifully centred tone.' --Gramophone, May 2013

'The Zurich-born cellist champions - with masterly élan - the unjustly neglected concerto by the American composer…Litton's excellent Bergen players round off this outstanding disc with an encore in the form of the Adagio for Strings.' --The Sunday Times, Hugh Canning

'Poltéra is completely at home in Barber's richly romantic concerto, finding tenderness and vitality with the deft support of Litton's players...With excellent sound, this makes and excellent addition to Poltéra's series of single-composer sics for BIS.' --Classical Music, May 2013

'The Zurich-born cellist champions - with masterly élan - the unjustly neglected concerto by the American composer…Litton's excellent Bergen players round off this outstanding disc with an encore in the form of the Adagio for Strings.' --The Sunday Times, Hugh Canning

'There have been several fine recordings of the Cello Concerto...However, amongst versions that I ve heard this new one from Christian Poltéra strikes me as being as fine as any and the splendid reading of the Cello Sonata is a second compelling reason for purchasing this disc.' --Music Web International

'The Zurich-born cellist champions - with masterly élan - the unjustly neglected concerto by the American composer…Litton's excellent Bergen players round off this outstanding disc with an encore in the form of the Adagio for Strings.' --The Sunday Times, Hugh Canning

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Sillitoe on 19 Jan. 2013
Format: Audio CD
The Cello Concerto has always been one of Barber's most popular works, I have even heard it described as the American equivalent of the Elgar concerto, it is a strong and powerfully late romantic piece full of complex harmony and melody, and I feel, one of the composer's most rewarding for the listener. It was composed in 1945 and has the usual three movement structure with, for me, the lyrical central slow movement being the hub of this wonderful work. I have a couple of other recordings of the work, but in the hands of Christian Poltéra, the brilliant Swiss cellist, the work sound new and fresh, a performance to savour!
The Cello Sonata in C minor dates from 1932 and unfortunately has not been served as well by the recording companies as the concerto. It is a long time since I last heard the work and I had forgotten just how beautiful it is, with its clear cello line rising above what can seem at times to be an elaborately complex piano part, it is almost as if the piece was conceived as a sonata for cello and piano, with both instruments being given a starring role. In this piece Christian Poltéra is joined by Kathryn Stott who once again proves just what a wonderful and thoughtful chamber musician she is.
For me the only down side to this disc is the famous Adagio for Strings, here it is given one of the fastest performances on disc, more an andante that adagio, and while I have heard quick performances which I have liked, there is just something which leaves me cold about this recording, but it is not in the playing of the Bergen Philharmonic which is excellent.
But hey, if you buy this recording, and I urge you to do just that, you will be getting it for the excellent performances of the Concerto and Sonata. The recording is helped by the wonderful hybrid SACD sound and the informative booklet notes.
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By westmer on 7 May 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Barber's most loved music (and some less known?) played superbly well. I've probably played this more than any disc Ive bought in the past year.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Sonata is the Real Gem 30 Jan. 2014
By Tim - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The playing is suitably romantic for the headlining concerto, and the performer is masterly in his interpretation. The sonics are clear and balanced. If you're familiar with the Barber concerto then this ranks right up there. If you're only going to own one recording to add to or complete your collection then this is a great one to purchase due to the overall performance and sound quality.

To me, the absolute standout on this CD is the cello sonata. This beautiful and lyrical piece of music is a real winner, and makes a perfect and intimate coupling for the larger scale symphonic concerto. Much credit to the pianist Kathryn Scott who interacts and gels wonderfully with Christian Poltéra. I would recommend this release simply on the strength of the sonata alone.

Rounding out the program is the ubiquitous "Adagio for Strings" which gives the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra strings a chance to shine. The performance of this is quite nice, but certainly not a reference recording by any stretch. The tempo on this is a bit fast for my taste. For an essential recording of this work see Bernstein with the Los Angeles Philharmonic: Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue; Copland: Appalachian Spring; Barber: Adagio

Great release, and one that should have more attention at this point.
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