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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ernő Dohnányi; George Enescu; Eugen d'Albert - Works for Cello & Orchestra (Alban Gerhardt)


Composer: Ernő Dohnányi; George Enescu; Eugen d'Albert
  1. Dohnányi - Konzertstück in D major, Op. 12: Allegro non troppo -
  2. Dohnányi - Konzertstück in D major, Op. 12: Adagio -
  3. Dohnányi - Konzertstück in D major, Op. 12: Tempo I - Adagio - Tempo I, ma molto più tranquillo
  4. Enescu - Symphonie concertante in B flat minor, Op. 8: 1a. Assez lent - Un peu plus animé -
  5. Enescu - Symphonie concertante in B flat minor, Op. 8: 1b. Tempo I -
  6. Enescu - Symphonie concertante in B flat minor, Op. 8: 2. Majestueux - Plus vite
  7. d'Albert - Cello Concerto in C major, Op. 20: Allegro moderato - Animato - Allegro - Molto tranquillo -
  8. d'Albert - Cello Concerto in C major, Op. 20: Andante con moto -
  9. d'Albert - Cello Concerto in C major, Op. 20: Allegro vivace - Piu tranquillo - Allegro molto

Alban Gerhardt, cello
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Carlos Kalmar, conductor

Date: 2005
Label: Hyperion



PERFORMANCE: ***** / SOUND: *****

It would be difficult to find a more enticing choice of repertory for the first volume in Hyperion’s highly enterprising Romantic Cello Concerto series than the three sumptuous late 19th-century compositions on offer here. Heart-warming lyrical melodies, as well as characteristically resourceful orchestration, abound in the Dohnányi Konzertstück – a highly attractive if somewhat Brahmsian work that has previously enjoyed the advocacy of Janos Starker (EMI, now deleted), Raphael Wallfisch (Chandos) and Maria Kliegel (Naxos). Gerhardt’s warmly recorded performance lays claim to being the most convincing of all, not least for the passion and sensitivity of his playing as well as the committed contribution of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Carlos Kalmar who really come into their own in the lengthy orchestral tutti of the third movement. Following in the footsteps of Dohnányi, Eugen d’Albert also pursues the stylistic path of Brahms in his C major Cello Concerto, adding to this an operatic ardour that was stand him in particularly good stead later in his career. Once again, Gerhardt acquits himself admirably, making light work of the technical hurdles in the Finale, and the interaction between soloist and orchestra is first-rate. More subtle and emotionally elusive than the other two works, Enescu’s inexplicably neglected Symphonie Concertante is projected with the utmost conviction by Gerhardt and Kalmar and provides a fitting climax to a totally absorbing release.

More reviews:


Ernő Dohnányi (July 27, 1877 – February 9, 1960) was a Hungarian conductor, composer and pianist. He used a German form of his name, Ernst von Dohnányi, on most of his published compositions. Dohnányi's compositional style was personal, but very conservative. His music largely subscribes to the Neoromantic idiom. Some characterize his style as traditional mainstream Euro-Germanic in the Brahmsian manner (structurally rather than the way the music actually sounds) rather than specifically Hungarian, while others hear very little of Brahms in his music.


George Enescu (19 August 1881 – 4 May 1955) was a Romanian composer, violinist, pianist, conductor, and teacher, regarded as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century and Romania's most important musician. He was the youngest student ever admitted to the Vienna Conservatory at the age of seven. Many of Enescu's works were influenced by Romanian folk music, his most popular compositions being the two Romanian Rhapsodies. He was also a noted violin teacher. Yehudi Menuhin, Christian Ferras, Ivry Gitlis, Arthur Grumiaux, Serge Blanc, Ida Haendel and Joan Field were among his pupils.


Eugen d'Albert (10 April 1864 – 3 March 1932) was a Scottish-born German pianist and composer. He was one of Franz Liszt's student and his virtuoso technique was compared to Busoni. He was also a prolific composer, producing 21 operas and a considerable output of piano, vocal, chamber and orchestral works. His successful orchestral works included his cello concerto (1899), a symphony, two string quartets and two piano concertos. D'Albert's compositions has been more widely represented on record in recent years. As pianist, d'Albert did not record extensively, although his recordings represent a wide range of music.


Alban Gerhardt (born 1969 in Berlin) is a German cellist. His father, Axel Gerhardt, was a second violinist of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for over 40 years. He studied with  Markus Nyikos, who he credits with much of his success. Gerhardt won top prizes in several competitions in the early 1990s. Gerhardt has won three ECHO Klassik Awards, ICMA and MIDEM Classic awards, as well as BBC Music Magazine Award in 2015. He has made several commercial records for Hyperion and Chandos Records. He plays a cello made by Matteo Gofriller in 1710; the instrument previously belonged to Benito Mussolini.


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