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  EMI (Japan) -
  Dvorak, Saint-Saens: Cello Concertos - Rostropovich, Giulini
  Dvorak: Cello Concerto, Saint-Saens: Cello Concerto No. 1

Mstislav Rostropovich (cello)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Carlo Maria Giulini (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:
  Recorded April and May 1977

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Submitted by Daland
Related titles: 8 show all

Reviews: 1

Review by mwgfrg April 3, 2012 (7 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Whether or not Rostropovich left a better recording of the Dvorak concerto than did any other cellist, he almost certainly left MORE recordings of it than anyone else. Over the years I have acquired this one and other stereo recordings conducted by Boult, Karajan and Ozawa, and mono recordings conducted by Talich and Khaikin, and I believe there are at least two other live recordings with Rozdhestvensky. His first (1952, I believe) recording, with Talich, has deservedly acquired classic status, and in its latest RBCD transfer is not only his most dramatic and fiery recording, but is in quite respectable mono sound. Now this EMI recording with Giulini--his fourth of the six I know--and his third, with Karajan on DG, have been released from Japanese sources in SACD in the same month.

Recently it seems that the status of this recording has risen, and the Karajan has fallen. I don't hear it that way. Certainly I am a much bigger fan of Giulini than of Karajan, but the concerto seems rather tame here, at least to me--beautiful, but a bit too relaxed. Perhaps Rostropovich plays more lyrically here to match Giulini's approach, but the Karajan recording--let alone the Talich and Boult recordings--have more sweep and bite. Contrary to what I have read elsewhere, the Dvorak concerto, for me, was one of Karajan's finest concerto recordings. He was at his best with a soloist with the stature to stand up to him, and certainly Rostropovich could and did.

The beautifully played Saint-Saens concerto here may well be the high point of this release, and seems to project more of its drama than does the Dvorak, but the Karajan is coupled with a superb performance of Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations.

The sound here mirrors the performances. The original HMV release was a bit on the warm, rich side, and the SACD emphasizes that. It is more of a blended than a detailed balance. Although both are good, I prefer the LP. However, on sound also I prefer the Karajan recording, and the SHM-SACD release is a superb transfer.

To sum up, the Talich is indispensable, the Karajan SACD is the finest combination of sound and performance, the Boult RBCD at least matches the Karajan in performance although certainly not sound, the Giulini may be the most purely beautiful and lyrical of all as to Rostropovich's playing but overall seems to me to lack some of the sweep the concerto needs, the Ozawa has its moments but dithers here and there, and the Khaikin is a strong run-through in mediocre mono sound, which is probably only for those who have a taste for what passed for brass playing in Russia in the '50s.

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Works: 2  

Antonin Dvorak - Cello Concerto in B minor, B. 191 Op. 104
Camille Saint-Saëns - Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33