on 7 November 2011
i bought my naxos copy of Shostakovich's two cello concertos some ten years ago + the good news is as a budget price introduction to these powerful soviet era works - Maria Kliegel w/ Antoni Wit + thePolish NRSO performances are very good. the sound is perhaps a little recessed + lacking state of the art dynamic range when compared to current recordings but more than conveys the strength of these incredibly moving, dogged + coded concertos from Shostakovich (DSCH).
Kliegel who studied under Janos Starker + has won several prestigious competitions,recorded widely in the late nineties for naxos + has several fine cds under her belt(Kodaly,Schnittke, Beethoven etc) but arguably comes into her own in the 20th Century slavic works as above + here plays with much passion, projection as well as understanding of the often austere,angry yet ambivalent world of DSCH. the first movement of the First Concerto is perhaps a little rushed + untidy in places but Kliegel provides strongly projected playing, with Conductor Antoni Wit + the Polsh NRSO providing workmanlike back up. Tempi are generally well measured (albeit with that slightly recessed orchestral sound i mentioned) allowing the music to breath properly. The 1st concerto is forthright + defiant, the 2nd concerto here((like his 2nd violin concerto also) is altogether more resigned, + troubled.
as a budget price cd -this is more than fine cd introduction to these powerful works, before you delve deeper into the "classic" more expensive recordings by Rostropovich, Schiff et al. another fine budget price release of the First Cello conceerto is on the budget price RCA Navigator series played by Mikhail Khomitzer + that also has a good version by DSCH's son Maxim conducting the First Piano Concerto played by Eugene List on the same cd also. Rostropovich + Nagano's mid price version on Erato is also suitably powerful + authoritive.
Here Kliegel + co offer perfectly fine renditions however, of lesser known DSCH Cello works at super budget price.