Pieter Wispelwey once again teamed up with the Flanders Symphony Orchestra and conductor Seikyo Kim for a brand new release on ONYX Classics. After the successful release of the Britten cello concerto they decided to record a completely French program with Edouard Lalo’s cello concerto in D minor and the second cello concerto in D minor by Camille Saint Saëns. As Pieter writes about the concertos in the CD booklet:
“The two concertos on this disc belong to the small elite of Romantic cello concertos that have made it through to the 21st century – albeit in the case of the second Saint Saëns, barely or in the slipstream of its popular predecessor.”
In between the two concertos you will find the Love Scene from Romeo and Juliette by Hector Berlioz. An orchestral piece that completes this romantic and virtuoso program.
The concertos are not well known by most people but they show us that there is still a lot to explore in romantic music. Listen to Saint Saëns and imagine him in the autumn of his life. Be surprised by the combination of his great experience as a composer and the very youthful and vivid spirit of this piece. The Lalo concerto starts as a very solid and overwhelming concerto with strong musical statements that lead to intriguing rhythmical structures and a wonderful tonal architecture.
To hear these three Romantic works – somewhat distant from the mainstream – makes for fascinating and refreshing listening. The playing by all concerned is as distinguished as it is sensitive.
– Music Web International –
It says much for the Saint Saëns concerto that it stands up well to such inspired competition
– BBC Music Magazine –
the chief focuses of this disc lie in Wispelwey’s passionate advocacy of the Lalo and the Saint-Saëns. Like the First Cello Concerto, Saint-Saëns’s Second is fairly short, coming in at under 20 minutes, with the weight of expression assigned to the central Andante movement where Wispelwey’s mellow tone and mellifluous phrasing colour the music with exquisite refinement and subtle shading. The orchestra, too, makes eloquent statements here, and in the quasi-polonaise of the first movement and the buoyancy of the finale gives strong rhythmic support coupled with clearly delineated textures.
– The Telegraph –
Executive Producer for ONYX Classics: Matthew Cosgrove
Recording venue: De Singel, Antwerpen
Recording Producers: Daan van Aalst, Pieter Wispelwey
Recording Engineer: Johan Kennivé
Assistant: Jaap van Stenis (Saint Saëns and Berlioz)
Editing: Daan van Aalst