Buy “Yo-Yo Ma, Antonin Dvorak, Victor Herbert, Kurt Masur, New York Philharmonic – Concertos from the New World – Music” Online
I am familiar with a great many of the recordings of this, the greatest of cello concertos and perhaps the greatest of all concertos. My recordings go as far back as Feuermann, Piatigorsky, Janiegro, Du Pre, Fournier, Wallfisch, Rostropovich, Shafran, Helmerson, Churchro, Starker, and others, including Ma’s first recording featuring the execrable conducting of Lorin Maazel. This recording is revelatory, in my mind the greatest of all. Ma’s cello playing is simply beyond belief, touched by the deepest of understanding of Dvorak’s sentiments that went into the construction of the concerto (read: the historical novel nevertheless based on fact "Dvorak in Love" for more explanation). The playing is so unbelievably sympathetic, tender, recondite – yet when called for, so utterly dramatic. The final notes – including the way he languishes at the end – is spellbinding — you’ll feel like cheering. I had no idea the cello could be played like this until I heard this recording. The conducting is very good, almost up to the standard that I think was set by Neemi Jarvi in his recording on Bis. And the New York Philharmonic players, particularly the soloists (listen to the cello/violin duet in the 3rd movement, and the flutists!) are extraordinary – I’m no fan of NYC, but this is audibly one incredible orchestra, much better than the Berlin Philharmonic on Ma’s first recording. If you only own one, or own many, you should own this: one of the great Dvorak recordings of all time, a performance that reminds us that just when you think you know a classical work, someone like Yo-Yo Ma can come along and redefine it in a way that only makes you wait for more from him. Put on your headphones to appreciate the subtlety of every note, the vibratto and rubatto, and treasure this gorgeous masterpiece. Check it out!
Dvorák got the idea for writing his Cello Concerto (surely the greatest work ever composed in that form) when he lived in New York and made the acquaintance of Victor Herbert, who was a virtuoso cellist and classical composer as well as a writer of operettas. The Herbert concerto is tuneful and well made, eminently worth owning, and a good disc companion for the greater concerto it inspired. Yo-Yo Ma plays both with vitality and subtlety. –Joe McLellan
Concertos from the New World Review
Why Victor Herbert’s cello concerto isn’t played more often is a mystery. The cello has warm melodious parts with interesting orchestral support. Yo–Yo Ma’s rendering is irresistible and compellingly performed. This concerto is coupled with Dvorak’s cello concerto; however, Yo-Yo Ma and Maazel and the Berlin Philharmonic recording of the Dvorak piece is a far more rewarding disc. Here Masur and the New York Philharmonic sound tired. I’m happy with the Herbert Cello Concerto No. 2 in E minor, and my rating is based on this composition only. -Read Reviews-
Inspired by the concerto of cellist/composer Herbert, Dvoark composed this masterpiece from New York looking fondly homeward to Bohemia. With its oblique and multilayered harmonizations, the Dvorak Concerto in B Minor features what the composer learned from Herbert, that it is possible and even lovely, to have this instrument sing from its high flying passages on the upper range. It also features an exquisite horn solo as well, with wonderful support from flute and wind section. The later addition of the magnificent sixty measure coda was in honor of his sister-in-law Josefina. Although there are other worthy recordings such as Rostropovich and Casals, this new recording with Masur leading the NY Phil is supreme. Ma is passionate and gives magnificent inflection on the opening scales in octaves ending the first movement with great fanfare.
Tags: Antonin Dvorak, Classical, Classical Composers, Classical Music, Concertos, Concertos from the New World, Kurt Masur, NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC, Orchestral & Symphonic, Sony, Victor Herbert, Yo-Yo Ma