ROBERT SCHUMANN: Cello Concerto in A Minor. Op. 129; BLOCH: Shlomo–Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra – Leonard Rose, cello/New York Philharmonic/Leonard Bernstein; Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy (Bloch) – HDTT

by | Mar 26, 2008 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

ROBERT SCHUMANN: Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129; BLOCH: Shlomo – Rhapsody for Cello and Orchestra – Leonard Rose, cello/New York Philharmonic/Leonard Bernstein; Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy (Bloch)

HDTT (CD-R) HDCD140,  45:00 ***:

Culled from 4-track prerecorded CBS tapes, this HDTT restoration features two classic performances by the legendary cellist Leonard Rose (1918-1984), teacher at Juilliard and eminent soloist. In an interview with Bernard Greenhouse in Atlanta some years ago, we discussed Leonard Rose: “You know,” proffered Greenhouse, “Leonard wanted to be more than a virtuoso; he wanted superstar status. In a sense, he never really attained it and was unhappy about it. Emanuel Feuermann was likely his idol here, and that kind of stellar reputation lay just out of Leonard’s reach. Still, Leonard put down many fine performances, and for those his memory will endure.”

The two inscriptions on HDTT provide the colossal sound and smooth technical resources at Rose’s command. The Schumann is all rounded periods and big gestures; the conductor, Bernstein, does not bring the feverish intensity that Dimitri Mitropoulos delivered to Rose in their collaboration on the Saint-Saens Concerto.  But for silky Schumann, this version stands strong as any commercial inscription.  The Shlomo (or Schelomo–choose your own spelling preference) Rhapsody is Bloch at his most “prophetic,” the music rife with modal applications of cantorial recitative and inflamed orchestral tuttis. Here, Ormandy’s sudsy accompaniment reaches several mighty periods, though I still prefer the earlier CBS union of Rose with the mighty Mitropoulos.  Rose sported an Amati cello from 1662, a tonally ravishing instrument that Rose played like a combination harp, oboe, and guitar.  My stinginess in assigning stars in my assessment lies only in the shortness of the disc, which could have accommodated the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations from the same period, c. mid-1960s.

— Gary Lemco

 

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