Shostakovich’s Cello Concertos – Enrico Dindo & Gianandrea Noseda [Chandos]

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Shostakovich
Concerto No.1 in E flat for Cello and Orchestra, Op.107
Concerto No.2 for Cello and Orchestra, Op.126

Enrico Dindo (cello)

Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Gianandrea Noseda

Recorded 9 & 10 April 2010 (Concerto No.1) and 18-20 April 2011 in Koncerthuset, DR Byen, Copenhagen


Reviewed by: Ben Hogwood

Reviewed: February 2012
CD No: CHANDOS CHSA 5093
Duration: 60 minutes

 

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Shostakovich’s cello concertos move quickly from loud exclamations to intensely private thoughts, often within the same musical paragraph. A wide range of tone and colour is required from both the cellist and specific sections of the orchestra – members of the latter can find themselves exposed in a duet or even duel with the soloist.

Enrico Dindo and Gianandrea Noseda manage these contrasts very effectively during the course of the two concertos, particularly the intimate asides of the Second (sometimes said to be in G major, but not designated as such in the score), where Dindo’s thoughtful probing proves very effective against the backdrop of ominous double basses or distant morose woodwinds. The recording is relatively close, which helps when considering the personal aspects of the music, and means the side drum packs quite a heft when punctuating the climax points of the first movement, despite the audible sniffs from the cellist.

Dindo could perhaps have done with emphasising a little more of the concerto’s humorous aspects, particularly in the finale with its quicker ‘rat-a-tat’ theme, derived, as David Fanning’s informative booklet note suggests, from a Russian folk theme. This movement initially takes on a matter-of-fact disposition, with Dindo eschewing the rallentando favoured by most cellists in the beautiful, soaring theme that emerges at regular intervals. The end is magical, though, the percussion ticking mechanically over the cello’s low held D, with Dindo finding the profound, enquiring nature of Shostakovich’s music, the concerto ending on a question mark rather than a full stop. Noseda secures a strong and often powerful response from the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, detailed in its insights.

The First Concerto is a more-consistent reading on the part of Dindo, though again he chooses not to emphasise too much the potential for humour in the principal theme, digging in defiantly, there is a nice rasp to the contrabassoon, an incisive solo from the first horn (and in the finale), and the urgency of Noseda’s accompaniment is genuine. In the slow movement the muted violins are icy to the touch, poignancy found in this movement until Dindo delivers a highly impressive and virtuosic cadenza, commanding the upper register line with ease. Dogged defiance is again in evidence in the finale, the cellist’s multiple-stopping against the crisp comments of the orchestra.

The First, then, is a more successful interpretation than the Second, but both performances are compelling, caught nicely in recorded sound that captures the intimacy of each work as well as moments of unexpected outburst. These two of Shostakovich’s most personal utterances have a formidable discography, headed inevitably by the great Mstislav Rostropovich for whom both works were composed. However there are now a number of extremely worthy digital alternatives, with Heinrich Schiff, Mischa Maisky and Truls Mørk all making formidable contributions to the catalogue. Dindo slots in just behind these cellists, but this is nevertheless an extremely worthy release.

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