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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Dvorak: Cello Concerto
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£19.94+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 11 October 2014
As good a performance as this is, this disc is is ruined by the balance of the recording. Decca have placed the miking such that at acceptable levels of decibels for the cello the glorious czech philharmonic sound as though they in the next room much of the time. I even find the tone of the cello distorted to the ear by the closeness of the miking. Such a fundamental technical flaw make this a very disappointing purchase in my view. Sitting with your ear pressed to the soundboard would have made a casals performance irksome after all! Go for Capucon if you want a modern performance on disc.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 February 2014
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.

UPDATE (Oct 2015): I have modified my rating to 4 stars. I stand by what I reported of the playing, but I have over time become bothered by the balance, and what bothered me was focused by hearing Wallfisch's excellent account with Mackerras. As I wrote in that review: "the engineering is the problem. Weilerstein's rich, warm sound is foregrounded in the aural picture (and very well caught by the recording), and her interactions with the winds and brass are also spotlit and, again, sound great, but the listener's attention is directed away from the forward movement of the music as a whole and leaves us savoring the details." The Chandos balance is much better, and Mackerras's conducting is more positive.
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on 12 February 2014
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.

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on 16 January 2015
Great music, great performing, astonishing recording from DECCA, fair price... what else could You ask for?! Alisa is a superaltive musician with superb technic, almost lassive passion and inspiration. I just listened to this CD and fell in love imediatly. A must have, even if You do not have a great stereo equipment. Hope I could help.
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on 26 August 2014
I was disappointed by this performance. Weilerstein's cello is SO far forward that the effect is nothing like you would hear in a concert hall. I suppose it's a record industry thing that every new recording of such masterpieces is trumpeted as 'the best ever'. But in the case of this Cello Concerto a far greater performance by Rostropovich and Karajan is available at less than half the price.
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on 26 August 2014
Wonderful CD, Alisa plays so beautifully and from her heart. Love it.
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on 15 July 2015
Terrific playing wonderful sound
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She's got it
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on 26 October 2015
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on 12 May 2015
Husband loves this
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