- Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
- Conductor: Antal Dorati
- Composer: Antonín Dvorák
- Audio CD (7 May 1996)
- SPARS Code: ADD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Mercury
- ASIN: B0000057KJ
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 112,860 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Dvorák: Cello Concerto / Bruch: Kol Nidrei / Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Starker and Dorati's LSO strings have a thing going here--they match their attacks stylistically in superb ensemble--there's just a little bit of resin, of gut, on strings that give all three works a genuinely Slavic quality that is fascinating.
I don't think any historian would really consider the Bruch a very good work, but Starker and Dorati make it the best it can be. It certainly isn't an embarassment in the company of the Dvorak and Tchaikovsky which are refreshed to the point of renewed consideration of their virtues.
He and Dorati pair up here, in a program of cello chestnuts, including the almost mandatory pairing of the Dvorak Cto. and the Tchaikovsky Variations on a Rococo Theme, with Bruch's somber chant, Kol Nidrei, sandwiched in between. The sessions are from London in 1962 and 1964; the sound was too trebly and lacking in bass for the Gramophone reviewer, who was listening to the digital reissue in 1991. I find the same problem in many Mercury Living Presence recordings once they reached the digital age, but quite often others don't complain and even praise the typical Mercury sound for its x-ray detail.
Every cellist has his own style, naturally, and Starker's was not warm and passionate. He had the face of a stage Mephistopheles, and one tended to hear his music-making as cool, somewhat analytical, and always in command. In the Toscanini era such a style was more admired than it might be now, but there is no gainsaying Starker's presence and his impeccable technique. He and Dorati exhibit a close rapport, and for that reason cello and orchestra come across as perfectly harmonious. The two partners also seem invigorated ad engaged.
The Gramophone reviewer praised Starker's Tchaikovsky for its refinement, but he failed to warm to the rest. I didn't expect to, but with such clear sound, complete mastery, and an extra dash of enthusiasm from soloist and conductor, this turned out to be a winning program. Actually, I rarely listen to the Dvorak Cto., which has worn out its welcome over many years, and what made me sit up and take notice was precisely the cleanness and lack of sentiment that Starker favors.
But Starker and Dorati are so fine in the Dvorak -- and the Mercury recording is a marvel of clarity and body -- I've been able to pass on to other things, never feeling the need for an alternate view. This disk seems to project Dvorak's view itself, what need for another?
As top recommendation I would say - Starker for Schumann, Fournier for Dvorak.