“The Secrets of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto” = Lasst mich allein; Cello Concerto in B Minor; FOSTER: Jeanie With the light Brown Hair; Wilt Thou Be Gone, Love?; DVORAK: Zigeunerlieder – Jan Vogler, cello/NY Philharmonic/Robertson – Sony Classical

by | Nov 25, 2005 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

“The Secrets of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto” = Lasst mich allein,
Op. 82, No. 1; Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104; FOSTER: Jeanie With
the light Brown Hair; Wilt Thou Be Gone, Love?; DVORAK: Zigeunerlieder,
Op. 55 – Jan Vogler, cello/ Angelica Kirschlager, mezzo-soprano/ New
York Philharmonic/ David Robertson/ Helmut Deutsch, piano – Sony
Classical 82876737162  67:43 ****:

The impetus for this new recording (6 December 2004) of Dvorak’s
much-performed Cello Concerto is the work of scholar Michael Beckerman,
who finds all kinds of musical and anagrammatical significance for the
Concerto in the relationship between Dvorak and his sister-in-law
Josefina Kounicova (d. 1895), as well as in two quotes from the song
Leave Me Alone from Op. 82. Whether such investigation renders Vogler’s
inscription a deeper meaning is debatable, much as knowing the
intimacies between Alban Berg and his mistress may or may not help us
relish that composer’s Lyric Suite.

Vogler generally adapts quick tempos for the Concerto, and he executes
his part with fiery aplomb. Having imbibed the resonances of Mr.
Beckerman’s book, cellist Vogler leans into the finale duet with the
violin, and he lingers most nostalgically over the other-worldy coda,
with its fairytale ethos. Lovely flute work throughout, courtesy of
Robert Langevin. But after a long line of great soloists in the part –
from Casals to DuPre, Feuermann to Hoelscher, Starker to Fournier,
Rostropovich to Maisky – there are few musical surprises. Placing the
Concerto within the musical context of Dvorak’s other pieces, like his
Gypsy Songs, as well as entertaining the influence of Stephen Foster,
make for engaging academic and musical comparisons. Mezzo-soprano
Kirschlager, who recorded the songs in Vienna, 2005, has a lovely
voice, and she generates a real sense of romantic mysticism even within
the light, cleanly articulated verses by Foster. For Wilt Thou Be Gone,
Love? Vogler contributes a flowing obbligato. Both Kirschlager and
Vogler alternate in the Gypsy Songs, the former intoning Nos. 2, 5, and
6. The point is to let us savor the gypsy (via Liszt) influences on the
last movement of the Concerto. The entire enterprise is tastefully
wistful, and I suppose the movie to see after listening to this disc is
the 1939 Oberon/Olivier version of Wuthering Heights.

–Gary Lemco

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