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5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect compilation of Tchaikovsky's cello works in their original form, 19 Feb 2013
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This disc, very well recorded and issued originally in 1983, brings together all of the works for solo cello written by Tchaikovsky and as Tchaikovsky originally intended. They are all played with assurance and sensitivity by Wallfisch.

Undoubtedly the most important work here is the Rococo Variations. This has suffered for most of its existence from the interference from its dedicatee, Wilhelm Fitzenhagen who made numerous alterations to the score including the deletion of the 8th variation and re-ordering the rest. He also added repeat marks and changed various dynamics. Even the orchestration was adjusted by the publisher to fit with Fitzenhagen's version. None of this amused Tchaikovsky whose response to the publication was ' The devil take it' but up to now this has been the version played internationally.

Wallfisch, on this disc, plays the original 1876 version from the Russian Collected Edition of the complete works of Tchaikovsky and it is radically different and improved. Not least we hear the work with the balance between the variations as originally conceived so the whole work hangs together better. Much the same problem of interference affected the Pezzo Capriccioso, this time from Fitzenhagen's pupil, Brandukov. In this recording we, once more, benefit by hearing the work as Tchaikovsky wrote it in 1887.

The remaining pieces on the disc are original arrangements and orchestrations for cello and orchestra comprising the two songs, 'Christ had a garden' and 'Was I not a blade of grass?' plus the Andante Cantabile taken from Tchaikovsky's 1st string quartet and a popular solo item in its own right.

This is a valuable disc for several reasons. It is especially valuable for restoring Tchaikovsky' original works to public attention and by making the complete cello works available in one convenient package. In addition the performances are all excellent as well as been revelatory and finally the recording is good with fine balance between the cello and the orchestra.

I would suggest that this disc deserves special consideration from anyone interested in the program and especially in hearing the program as originally conceived. It makes a strong case to remove Fitzenhagen's and Brandukov's versions from the concert platform.


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I totally agree with your comments about the importance of this issue.........Thanks for the great review.. (US review)

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