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Dvorak: Cello Concerto

Alisa Weilerstein Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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ALISA WEILERSTEIN ‒ BIOGRAPHY
Described by New York magazine as “arguably Yo-Yo Ma’s heiress apparent as sovereign of the American cello” for her natural virtuosic command, technical precision and impassioned musicianship, Alisa Weilerstein was born in 1982 into a distinguished musical family (her father Donald was first violin in the Cleveland Quartet; her mother ... Read more in Amazon's Alisa Weilerstein Store

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Dvorak: Cello Concerto + Sarasate + Mozart: Piano Concerto No.25 In C Major K.503;  Piano Concerto No.20 In D Minor K.466
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Product details

  • Audio CD (21 April 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B00GWMRSAU
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,975 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. 1. Allegro - Alisa Weilerstein, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Jiri Belohlavek
2. 2. Adagio ma non troppo - Alisa Weilerstein, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Jiri Belohlavek
3. 3. Finale (Allegro moderato) - Alisa Weilerstein, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Jiri Belohlavek
4. Lasst Mich Alein, Op.82 - Alisa Weilerstein, Anna Polonsky
5. Rondo In G Minor, Op.94 - Alisa Weilerstein, Anna Polonsky
6. Goin' Home - Alisa Weilerstein, Anna Polonsky
7. Songs My Mother Taught Me, Op.55 No.4 - Alisa Weilerstein, Anna Polonsky
8. Silent Woods - Alisa Weilerstein, Anna Polonsky
9. Slavonic Dance No. 8 in G minor Op. 46, No. 8 - Alisa Weilerstein, Anna Polonsky

Product Description

Product Description

American cellist Alisa Weilerstein, described by BBC Music Magazine as one of the most extraordinary soloists of her generation, follows her critically acclaimed Decca debut recording of Elgar s Cello Concerto with a vital new interpretation of Dvorak s Cello Concerto, coupled with some of his best-known melodies.

This Dvorak recording casts visionary light on the Czech composer s epic concerto, connecting directly with its passionate heart.

Alisa Weilerstein s all-Dvorak programme includes the haunting melody from his New World Symphony, popularly known as Going Home; his song Lasst mich allein, the beautiful Silent Woods and more...

This album captures the essential spirit of one of the greatest of all Romantic composers, reflecting Dvorak s deep-rooted love for his homeland

Alisa Weilerstein joins forces with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and its Czech Music Director, Jiøí Bìlohlávek in a terrific and deeply authentic musical partnership. This radiant performance of the Cello Concerto was recorded in Prague s Rudolfinum, where Dvorak himself conducted the Czech Philharmonic s inaugural concert in 1896. Other works on the album recorded in the USA Dvorak s adopted second homeland include Rondo in G minor, Songs My Mother Taught Me and Slavonic Dance No.8

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For me, this is a ten star album...! 12 Feb 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The Dvorak 'cello concerto is one of my all time favourite pieces. There - I've said it! There is something about the soulful, singing line of the 'cello that appeals to me and Dvorak's wonderful concerto gives the instrument free reign to express itself. Over the years, I've attempted to obtain every recording of this work and have generally succeeded. (Thank you, Zoverstocks!).

Although I gave the recent Isserlis recording 5 stars I rather wish I hadn't been quite so hasty since, having got over the initial excitement, I feel it's really only a 4 star disc. Not, IMHO, anything lacking in the solo playing but I do feel the conducting from the inexplicably highly rated Daniel Harding lets the music making down.

Not here! Even before the soloist has entered, Jiri Belohlavek, has set the scene magnificently. Rhythms are well sprung, momentum is established and the sheer Czech character is wonderfully evocative. (My wife, who is a fluent Czech speaker, never tires of telling me that the maestro's name translates as George Whitehead!)

Then the soloist enters. In an age awash with outstanding string players, Ms. Weilerstein is something very special. Her imagination is simply wonderful and she gives each phrase a sense of being newly minted. I could go on and on but I do feel that putting a microscope to this recording would be doing it a gross disservice. It goes without saying that her tone and technique are glorious and her playing is a thing of wonder.

The recording quality is absolutely superb. A real feather in Decca's cap.

I do hope my enthusiasm for this disc is coming through! Having heard literally hundreds of performances of this piece, this is the one to judge all others by.

Glorious!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars full blooded 2 Feb 2014
Format:Audio CD
I heard Alisa Weilerstein playing chamber music at Spoleto USA last year, and it was impressive. She's a natural communicator, and she brings her skills wonderfully to bear in this recording of the Dvorak Cello Concerto and the six "encores" that fill up the disc. There's nothing bland about this playing -- she can roughen the texture when she thinks it's appropriate; she can give us an almost woodwind-sounding warmth and roundness at other times; and up in the higher reaches there's no loss of body although the sound is pure. So this is a fine recording -- up there in my pantheon with Rostropovich, Lynne Harrell, and the under-rated Heinrich Schiff. If you like things a bit more restrained, Yo-Yo Ma's your man, but I find this wholehearted embrace of the lyricism very appealing. The orchestra is well forward in the picture, with Weilerstein arguably a little too forward herself, but this enables you to hear her playing in the lowest register not getting swallowed up by the orchestra, and I like that texturing. Belohlavek conducts with an ear for the orchestral textures, so that throughout, in the scoring's lighter moments, there's an almost chamber-like interplay. More than with most recordings, you realize with Weilerstein just how much variety there is in the cello part -- it's not just one big swoon. The six "encores" are finely played too, and well accompanied by Anna Polonsky. The "Goin' Home" arrangement is great, of course -- one of the great melodies -- but I liked the variety and spice of the Rondo, and both Polonsky and Weilerstein rattle the rafters in the Slavonic Dance. Maybe best of all, "Silent Woods" receives an intense performance that calls on the whole range of the cello. A very impressive disc.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weilerstein is soulful and captivating in the Dvorak Concerto; don't miss the fillers, either 30 Jan 2014
By Andrew R. Barnard - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Alisa Weilerstein is still fresh to Decca, but a little over a year after releasing the Elgar and Carter concertos, here she is with the Dvorak. She is gifted with a dynamic musical personality that clearly stands out as something extraordinary. The Dvorak Cello Concerto is grand and beautiful, but it's fairly easy to run through this piece, with the cello modestly leaving much of the show to the orchestra, which has a fully involving accompaniment, after all. But here Weilerstein completely dominates, with force that brings familiar bars fresh life. She digs in with raw emotion--a trademark of hers--enabling the music to have a feeling of greater flow, almost inevitability. Yet everything sounds natural and spontaneous so that one feels more lyricism.

Actually, this reading makes little of its impact through sheer force, at least when compared to the classic Rostropovich/Karajan reading. Much of that is due to Jiri Belohlavek and the Czech Philharmonic, who are sensitive but more lean in tone than usual, leaving the spotlight decidely on Weilerstein. Karajan and the Berliners produced a rich, sweltering sound that was as captivating as Rostropovich's playing. Here the Czech Phil is gentle, sounding idiomatic instead of powerful. I sometimes wish Belohlavek could have been more energized, letting the orchestra off the reigns instead of aiming for refined beauty--the very closing bars don't overwhelm you like they should. Such complaints are hardly major in the face of how wonderful Weilerstein is, however. She weaves every phrase with the genuine commitment of a master. Has anyone else made the concerto so personal? At times Weilerstein borders on private, drawing us to a world of aching tenderness in the second movement. I can only offer praise.

At first glance, Decca's timing seems very stingy and while it's not generous, the selections accompanied by Anna Polonsky feature the same involving playing. We move from the opulent sweetness of "Goin' Home" to the gypsy-flavored Slavonic Dance No. 8, all done with charisma that is spell-binding. The accompaniment is also very fine, so I was nearly as impressed with the fillers as with the concerto.

I have the feeling that Weilerstein may be the kind of rare talent one looks for once a generation. In any event, here is a reading of one of the most popular works in the repertoire that is transforming, a true testament to her gifts.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars full-blooded 2 Feb 2014
By Stanley Crowe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I heard Alisa Weilerstein playing chamber music at Spoleto USA last year, and it was impressive. She's a natural communicator, and she brings her skills wonderfully to bear in this recording of the Dvorak Cello Concerto and the six "encores" that fill up the disc. There's nothing bland about this playing -- she can roughen the texture when she thinks it's appropriate; she can give us an almost woodwind-sounding warmth and roundness at other times; and up in the higher reaches there's no loss of body although the sound is pure. So this is a fine recording -- up there in my pantheon with Rostropovich, Lynne Harrell, and the under-rated Heinrich Schiff. If you like things a bit more restrained, Yo-Yo Ma's your man, but I find this wholehearted embrace of the lyricism very appealing. The orchestra is well forward in the picture, with Weilerstein arguably a little too forward herself, but this enables you to hear her playing in the lowest register not getting swallowed up by the orchestra, and I like that texturing. Belohlavek conducts with an ear for the orchestral textures, so that throughout, in the scoring's lighter moments, there's an almost chamber-like interplay. More than with most recordings, you realize with Weilerstein just how much variety there is in the cello part -- it's not just one big swoon. The six "encores" are finely played too, and well accompanied by Anna Polonsky. The "Goin' Home" arrangement is great, of course -- one of the great melodies -- but I liked the variety and spice of the Rondo, and both Polonsky and Weilerstein rattle the rafters in the Slavonic Dance. Maybe best of all, "Silent Woods" receives an intense performance that calls on the whole range of the cello. A very impressive disc.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best Dvorak cello concerto I've yet to come across 1 Feb 2014
By B. Guerrero - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Over the decades - probably like most any classical music buff - I've heard dozens of recordings of the grandaddy of all cello concertos, the Dvorak. Certainly all of Rostroprovich's numerous versions are worth hearing. I do have a 'sleeper' in my collection that I've always liked, which is with German cellist Heinrich Schiff, accompanied by the Vienna Philharmonic with conductor Andre Previn on Philips. And just to have the special, home grown flavor of the Czech Philharmonic, I've also kept a noncompetitive version with cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, brother of Andrew Lloyd Webber of "Cats" and Sarah Brightman fame. Now I can jettison that lame version altogether.

This is fabulous - no other way to put it. Weilerstein not only plays the cello with a tone to die for (helps to be on Decca), she has an inner fire that seems to have been perfectly timed for putting her Dvorak down for prosperity - she's THAT good. The Czech Phil. sounds gorgeous, with magical woodwinds that are also to die for. Belohlavek: I don't see anything 'boring' about his conducting at all. He's not trying to sound like Karajan. Typical of the authentic Czech style, he keeps his timpanist from pounding away, except when the music really calls for it. His is a thoroughly idiomatic accompaniment, emphasizing the rustic yet gorgeous quality of Dvorak's writing. But as if all this weren't enough, just take a listen to track 6: "Goin' Home".

"Goin' Home" is the famous melody that's employed to great effect in the slow movement of Dvorak's "New World" symphony (#9, of course). Weilerstein's tone is soooo gorgeous, and her phrasing so sympathetic to the rustic roots of this tune, that it's all worth the price of admission alone to hear this disc. Czech it out! 10 stars out of 5.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravissimo! 28 Mar 2014
By Dikigoros - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Best Dvorak cello concerto since the 1968 Berlin recording with Rostropovich/Karajan. The Czech Philharmonic is a fortunate choice to accompany this superb artist in this repertory.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dvorak Cello Concerto in b 25 Mar 2014
By Wayne H. Warren Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a marvelous performance of a masterpiece. The playing is superb and the sound is glorious. The tone of the cello comes through very well. I'd recommend this recording to anyone.
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