Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B minor, Op 104; Rondo; Silent Woods; Slavonic Dance No 8; Lasst mich allein; Goin' Home; Songs my mother taught me

Reviewed on Tue 06 May, 2014

The first point to strike home about the Concerto is the way Jiří Bĕlohlávek swings at the opening tutti, dancing his way through it to meet Alisa Weilerstein head on, her first entry unbridled, tonally full-bodied and happy to court a varied range of dynamics. The second subject has ample warmth and the Concerto’s big moments – the climbing octaves at the centre of the first movement and the crescendoing solo F sharp before the finale’s coda – sound improvised on impulse, much as they should. The playing of the Czech Philharmonic is excellent, and the recorded balance is first-rate. The fill ups are interpretatively less intense but no less musical, the Rondo and Silent Woods (both offered with piano rather than orchestral accompaniments) being the best of the bunch, though I was hoping Bĕlohlávek and his Orchestra would round things off with a rousing account of Op 46 No 8 (the cello and piano transcription doesn’t quite work). Otherwise, strongly recommended.
–Rob Cowan