Dvořák & Lalo – Cello Concertos
Johannes Moser, cello
German-Canadian international soloist Johannes Moser recently signed an exclusive recording contract with PENTATONE. He regularly performs with the world’s leading orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, London Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw, NHK Symphony, Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras as well as the leading conductors of our time including Mariss Jansons, Valery Gergiev, Zubin Mehta and Gustavo Dudamel. He has received many accolades for his recordings including two ECHO Klassik awards as well as the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik.
For his debut album with PENTATONE Johannes chose to record the pinnacle of the repertoire for cello and orchestra, the concerto by Antonín Dvořák. In this monumental work Dvořák explores the entire spectrum of human emotion, very much inspired by his own experiences, ranging from exhilarating bursts of life in New York City to the devastating tragedy of his unfulfilled love.
In preparation for the recording, made with the PKF – Prague Philharmonia, Johannes Moser and conductor Jakub Hrůša had Dvořák’s own manuscript at hand in order to come closer to the composer’s intention rather than relying on unquestioned traditions and acquired habits, while paying tribute to the concerto’s nickname, “Dvořák’s 10th Symphony”.
Moser completes his debut album with the Cello Concerto by Édouard Lalo. It is a work of great verve which fully embodies Spanish flair combined with romantic spirit.
Besides being staples of the Romantic cello repertoire the two works have a lot in common. Johannes Moser says about the two concerti: “The unifying motif between these two Cello Concertos is a sense of yearning: From America, Dvořák yearned for his homeland and an unfulfilled love, whereas Lalo yearned for the typically Spanish flair and the Mediterranean temperament”.
RECORDING OF THE YEAR 2015
There have been so many recordings of the Dvořák Cello Concerto that one would have to be exceptional to be included on this list. I have no reservations whatsoever in selecting this as my final choice.
…Moreover, the inclusion of an equally superb performance of Lalo’s less-often heard concerto makes the disc indispensable as does the super audio sound.
Moser grasps Lalo’s somewhat lily-livered Concerto by the scruff, delivering a performance of enormous flair and effervescence.
Aided and abetted by a marvelous Prague Philharmonia conducted by Jakub Hrusa, and a spectacular, warm recording from the Dutch Pentatone label, Moser’s Dvorak arguably takes top honors with his dazzling virtuosity, free, passionate phrasing and immense energy, resulting in a total command of the music’s emotional power and narrative flow that recalls Pablo Casals’ iconic 1937 recording with the Czech Philharmonic conducted by George Szell—in hi-res sound and with better intonation.
As remarkable as the Dvorak is, what Moser does for the Lalo is a near miracle.
Moser’s playing is compelling.
In every respect this is an auspicious PENTATONE début for Johannes Moser and the promised future releases from this exciting and gifted artist are eagerly awaited.
The recorded sound is, like the playing, absolutely top-notch.
It’s a familiar work, but I’ve rarely heard this fine a performance coupled with such an excellent recording. Moser is assured and energetic, and the Prague Philharmonia conducted by Jakub Hrůša provides a compelling accompaniment.
This is a superlative performance coupled with a first class recording.
The Lalo Concerto is presented here certainly in a very good recording, yet the major asset is the superlative performance of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto by Johannes Moser. Since Karajan and Rostropovich nobody recorded this work so well. The result is sheer delight.