Cello concertos almost forgotten


I’ve had no problem listening to more music recently. Fortunately, I’ve been working at home as a translator so I can listen to music almost any time I want. As a result, I’ve discovered quite a few pieces new to me since my last post. I’ve still found a few unknown piano concertos and a lot of chamber music as well, of which I’ll soon post a bunch, but first I’d like to introduce my readers to excellent cello concertos.

Since recordings by Casals, Rostropovicz, Piatigorsky, Jaqueline du Pré, or Lynn Harell, among other greats, have introduced the very best of the classical repertoire beyond the concert podiums and made it accessible for masses at home, this repertoire, quite like that of the piano, seems to be concentrated on a few outstanding pieces promoted by those cellists. I’m not saying that concertos like those of Elgar, Dvorak, Saint-Saëns, Schumann, or even those of Bach, Vivaldi or Boccherini are not masterpieces and not worth listening to. However, the masses of the late 20th century moved away from classical music, especially the baroque and classicism, partly because they got tired of always listening to the same few classics when exposed to something valuable. Modern trends in the classical genre did little to help keep younger generations with classical music, as they expressed more the tragedies and the alienation from the world’s problems rather than showing a way forward with their lives.

As we look through the list of cello concertos on Google, or the like, we get to published recordings of almost always the same, with rare exceptions, like Rostropovicz’s attempt at the R. Strauss and Bloch concertos. Fortunately, youbute is again the best place to access some classical choice with the value of novelty as lesser-known cellists have little change for wide publicity, but when they are somehow published, there are a few enthusiasts who collect and upload their work despite the danger of running into copyright problems. From what I’ve discovered from them, I’m showing a handful below, with the added remark that they may disappear from youtube any time. Apologies for that, but until then, I wish you can enjoy these beautiful pieces as much as I have done.

This is not a long list as the literature for the cello is not nearly as extensive as that for the piano. A friend of mine recently said that lesser-known composers have not the distinguishing styles the greatest have. You may have discovered how unjust this remark is after listening to several piano concertos of Ries or Elmas on youtube. Here I can also attest against this opinion by showing Karl Davydov, who fortunately composed two concertos for the cello and show a very beautiful and recognisable style of his own.

After the first version of this post I also managed to find two more of Julius Röntgen’s beautiful concertos, so his style can also be further analysed. Here they are:

In my following post, I’m going to show you excellent works of chamber music that you may not have heard yet. Until then, I hope you’ve enjoyed these pieces above.

by P.S.

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