This album puts Dvorák's B minor cello concerto in context, including not only the original ending, but an orchestral version of the song Lasst mich allein which is quoted in the concerto's second and third movements.
Isserlis has also recorded a version of Dvorák's first cello concerto, a little-known work from the composer's early period which he never orchestrated. This version (in what is almost definitely its premiere recording) is by German composer Günter Raphael, whose works were performed by Furtwängler among others, and is extensively rewritten from the composer's original. To turn to Isserlis's own words again: 'Of course, it is not a masterpiece on the level of the later B minor concerto; but is it fair to lock up an older child just because their younger sibling is a genius? I love the A major concerto for the beauty of its melodies, for the freshness of its inspiration, for its typically rustic spiritand for the sense of sheer joy that bubbles through the entire work.'
I was immediately struck by the dark-toned nobility of Isserlis's sound, and his assurance in passages, particularly in the first movement, that produce audible stress in many other players.Given the bonus of big, bold and warm sound from the engineering team, this recording should leave those who acquire it with no regrets. --IRR, Oct'13
Isserlis achieves a vast emotional impact not only with his intensity of tone, but often, too, with its purity, directness and subtlety. ***** --Sinfini Music, 18/10/13
Isserlis is on spellbindingly eloquent form in an entrancing poetic and urgently communicative reading that really does sound like it s being captured on the wing. GRAMOPHONE CHOICE --Gramophone, Oct'13